Schumacher Confident of Mastering Shanghai Track

Despite struggling in the Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix at the new Shanghai circuit, World Champion Michael Schumacher was optimistic that his team would find the proper balance.

Schumacher Confident of Mastering Shanghai Track

Despite struggling in the Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix at the new Shanghai circuit, World Champion Michael Schumacher was optimistic that his team would find the proper balance.

"It is a challenge," said the Ferrari driver after improving from 15th in the morning to eighth in the afternoon session. "It is pretty unique, I would say. There are a lot of blind corners that are very tricky. I'm happy to be here to experience this adventure."

Built at a cost of $325 million, the twisting Shanghai circuit proved a great leveller with Briton Anthony Davidson, BAR's third driver, quickest in practice.

"Usually, we are at the top but for whatever reason we are not today," shrugged Schumacher, who has won 12 of the 15 races in a record-breaking 2004 season. I'm pretty sure we'll find solutions.

"But it's simply a different architectural circuit. It's all very different because you can make a lot of mistakes."

"Boringly Long"

Schumacher ran onto the grass at turn 13 entering the 1,175-metre back straight - labelled "boringly long" by his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello.

"It's very easy to go off line there and make a mistake, as happened to me today, and be overtaken," said Schumacher.

His former arch-rival Jacques Villeneuve, making his return with Renault after a year out, was impressed with the new circuit.

"The track is just gorgeous," gushed the Canadian. "There are a few (places) with heavy breaking, high-speed, low-speed ... even the banked corners. It has a little bit of everything. You never see that anymore in new tracks. This track has a layout more like the old tracks used to."

Renault's Fernando Alonso said state-of-the-art tracks such as Shanghai, Bahrain and Sepang were a positive addition to the series but that more established venues would always be sentimental favourites.

"I think all the drivers like to race on the old circuits like Monza or Silverstone or their home grand prix," said the Spaniard. Now we have a good combination of both. Old circuits are maybe less safe, have less money and facilities. The newer circuits, there is a little bit less feeling for the drivers, less legend."

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