• Formula One is helping spark Chinese interest in racing.

Formula One is helping spark Chinese interest in racing. (Photo : Twitter)

F1 racing teams are expecting more passes to be made in the upcoming China Grand Prix than the previous Australian leg.

A different track

According to F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting, the Shanghai track contains a lot more straight sections than the one in Melbourne, Sports Mole reported. This, Whiting said, could give drivers a lot of opportunities to make passes against other drivers.

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The drivers agree with that assessment. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen noted that the circuit in Melbourne made it a lot more difficult to do a pass due to it having plenty of turns.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas added that the longer straights on the China circuit give a lot of openings for cars to get closer to each other before they brake into the corners.

Whiting said that the Melbourne track was indeed problematic for drivers trying to overtake other cards, but there was no way that they can extend the Drag Reduction System zones for the circuit.

The DRS zone is a designated point on the track where drivers can activate the DRS in their cars to achieve faster speeds for overtaking.

Whiting said that they are unlikely to make any major rule changes to compensate for the issue just because of a single Grand Prix. But he said that the longer straights in the China circuit as well as the Bahrain circuit after it, giving them the opportunity to extend the zones should the issue also arise.

Other challenges

However, some of the teams have more than the track to deal with as they head to Shanghai. Swiss team Sauber confirmed that driver Pascal Wehrlein would once again miss the China leg due to fitness issues, Formula1.com reported. Wehrlein has earlier opted out of this season's Australia opener due to the same reason.

The team said that Wehrlein will again be replaced by Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi on the driver seat. Giovinazzi has earlier pitched in for the former in Melbourne.

On the other hand, Mercedes Team director Toto Wolff said that they are still working on decreasing the weight of their cars in an attempt to increase speed. He said that it has been an ongoing challenge that they are continuously working to overcome.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who finished second in Melbourne, cited this as an issue he encountered during that leg.