McLaren preview the Chinese GP

Date published: April 12 2016 - Editor

Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso will be hoping to register their first points at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso: "The Chinese Grand Prix is always a little bit of an unknown: the weather is often changeable as it’s spring time in Shanghai and the temperatures can often fluctuate, which influences the car’s set-up and balance over the course of the weekend. Track temperatures will be much cooler than what we saw in Bahrain, which means keeping heat in the tyres is harder to maintain, so we’ll need to focus this weekend on optimising our set-up for the variable conditions. The track itself features a challenging mix of corners, and the two long, fast right-handers place a lot of wear on the tyres, especially the front left. It can therefore place huge emphasis on tyre wear and graining, so it’s important we get the tyres working properly from the start of every stint so we can manage them during the race and get the best out of them. The circuit is enjoyable to drive, and there are some fun, high-speed sections around the back, so I’m excited to see what our chassis and power unit are capable of there this year."

Jenson Button: "The Shanghai International Circuit has an interesting mix of requirements – quite a few slow- and medium-speed corners, which are followed by two very long straights – one being 1.17km (0.727 miles), and the longest of the season. That places a lot of stress on both the tyres and the power unit, but I’m hopeful that with this year’s package, we won’t suffer as much on this track as we have done previously. The key will be preparation and set-up: getting the aero balance right from Friday onwards, and getting on top of the tyre wear with every new set. This won’t be an easy race for us – the conditions will be very different to Australia and Bahrain – but it’ll be good for us to test the characteristics of the MP4-31 there, and understand as much as we can about how it behaves on this sort of track and with the cooler temperatures. It’s important we gather as much information as possible and take into account all variables as we visit each circuit, so that we can adapt this for grands prix later on in the year. It’s a long season, and we’re looking for improvements and progress at every race."