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Shanghai works to remove bumps ahead of F1 return

The Shanghai Formula 1 circuit has completed work to grind down some surface bumps ahead of the return of the Chinese Grand Prix next week.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

F1 will be racing in Shanghai for the first time since 2019, and its addition to the calendar this year is especially interesting as it is the first time that the ground effect cars introduced from 2022 will have driven there.

The current generation of F1 machinery is more sensitive to bumps, a common feature at the Shanghai venue because the track is built on swampland where ground movement is common.

Mindful about the need for an increased focus on bumps, repairs have been completed at various parts of the circuit to remove any bumps that could cause problems.

Following an FIA track inspection that took place at the end of last year, Shanghai worked with Herman Tilke's engineering and architect company to grid down and reseal areas of the track that were of concern.

Despite work to address the bumps, F1 teams are still facing a great deal of uncertainty heading into the event because little data exists about the characteristics of the track surface.

Things are further complicated by the fact that it is a sprint race weekend, so teams will have just one practice session before starting qualifying for Saturday's short event.

Pirelli Formula 1 chief engineer Simone Berra explained recently that China was effectively being treated like a new event because previous knowledge was of little relevance.

F1 last raced in China prior to the pandemic in 2019

F1 last raced in China prior to the pandemic in 2019

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

"It's like a new circuit, honestly," said Berra when asked by Autosport about the return to China. "Because we have new cars, new tyres, the 18-inch [rims].

"The track was really not used in five years, it was just used for one race per year or something like that. So, it will be really green and quite dirty, although obviously, they will clean the track.

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"And we need to understand even from tarmac measurement pre-event how it has changed.

"In the past, it was quite rough in terms of both micro and macro roughness. We need to understand how ageing has gone in the last years.

"So not much data, and even for the teams it will be a big challenge, not just for us, but for the teams even more probably."

Shanghai officials are also working on new grandstands for the sell-out crowd, although some areas will not be ready in time for this year's race.

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