Formula 1 has returned to Shanghai for the first time in five years, with Red Bull looking to continue its early season domination.

This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix is the first since 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping F1 away from Shanghai.

With no racing in Shanghai for five years, teams go into the weekend with no data to compare their cars in the current regulations to previous years. 

There will also be less running for the teams before racing begins, with this weekend being the first of six this season with a sprint race.

This year’s sprint weekend format will have practice and sprint qualifying held on Friday, the sprint race and grand prix qualifying on the Saturday, and the full grand prix on Sunday.

The top eight finishers in the sprint race will score world championship points, with eight points to the winner down to a singular point for eighth.

Australian Oscar Piastri will be making his first appearance at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver said the only practice session of the weekend will be vital for his success this weekend.

“Since it’s the first sprint weekend of the season, it will be very important to try and make the most out of that first practice session to familiarise myself with the track,” he said.

“Hopefully, we can try and bank some more points for the team and have a positive weekend.”

Piastri was a star during sprint races in 2023, winning in Qatar and finishing second in Belgium.

However, his team have already prepared for a difficult weekend.

Team principal Andrea Stella this week said he believed Shanghai is a track that will not suit the McLarens.

“Of all the circuits we’ve raced at so far this year, it would seem the Shanghai International Circuit may not be the best suited to our car, and we could be met with unpredictable weather,” he said.

“The lack of data for all the teams could present some opportunities and challenges and we will be working hard to make sure we’re well-prepared and, in a position to capitalise where opportunities appear.”

This Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix will start at 5pm AEST.

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Posted 2h ago2 hours agoThu 18 Apr 2024 at 9:08pm, updated 2h ago2 hours agoThu 18 Apr 2024 at 9:20pm