Martin Brundle dismisses driver concerns as Chinese GP returns F1 Sprint style

Jamie Woodhouse
Shanghai International Circuit.

The Shanghai International Circuit returns to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2019.

Not all drivers are comfortable with the Chinese GP returning in F1 Sprint form, but former driver turned pundit Martin Brundle has brushed off such worries.

Formula 1 has not contested a Chinese Grand Prix since 2019 due to the impacts of the global pandemic, but the series is back at the Shanghai International Circuit for 2024 and with a bang, as for the first time, the revamped F1 Sprint weekend format will be in use.

Martin Brundle sees ‘extra challenge’ not Chinese GP hinderance

Under the new schedule, qualifying and the Grand Prix will take place after the Sprint action is complete, but drivers still will have just the one hour of practice before being sent into action, which has led to some voices of worry as F1 visits the track for the first time in five years, especially as a resurfacing of the circuit in that time adds an additional question mark.

Championship leader Max Verstappen has called F1’s decision “not the smartest”, while Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez expects preparations to be “really hard” with the limited practice.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz also believes this is “not a good choice” and fears “Istanbul 2.0″ could be on the cards after the track resurfacing. That is in reference to F1’s return to Turkey in 2020, with the wet track more resembling an ice rink as rain fell on the fresh tarmac.

But, Brundle is not buying any of it, pointing out that most of the drivers have raced here before already, with the simulators there to help address any unfamiliarity.

“They know their way around there, the simulators are pretty good and pretty realistic and they will have all been working hard on those,” said Brundle on the Sky F1 podcast.

“So they will turn up pretty well prepared, the cars won’t be a million miles off on set-up, and they’ll just get on with it.

“It’s an extra challenge, but I don’t see it as a factor, personally.” recommends

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Ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok admitted that he would “hate” this situation if he were still on that side of the fence, but since he no longer is, he is all for throwing them into the “unknown”.

“If I was a driver or a team member, I’d hate it! But now on the other side of the fence we are now, I think it’s great,” he said.

“We want them going into the unknown. We want them to go into that Friday evening qualifying for the Sprint not knowing 100 per cent of the set-up is right.

“And, guess what, with the change of the format from last year to this year in terms of the order of the sessions, it means that they’ll have the opportunity to change the car and change the set-up.

“So you’ll get two bites of the cherry and actually they don’t just go into parc ferme after FP1, which is an important change. So I think it’s fine, it’s going to be a fun weekend to watch.”

Mercedes’ seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is by far the most successful driver at this event with six Chinese Grand Prix victories achieved at the Shanghai International Circuit.

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