F1 caught by surprise by Shanghai surface ‘paint’

Fri, 19 April 2024, 10:00

Apr.19 (GMM) The entire world of Formula 1 was caught by surprise when zooming in on the details of Shanghai’s track resurfacing and repair efforts after a four-year absence for the covid pandemic.

Before the teams touched down in China, there were reports that the asphalt has been resurfaced – amid other reports that only certain sections were repaired to smooth out some of the worst bumps.

“The track appears to have been painted rather than resurfaced,” triple world champion Max Verstappen said. “I don’t know what this will mean for grip.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc did not know how to describe what he saw other than it is “something strange”.

Worse still, only some parts of the layout appeared to have been ‘painted’ with a sort of rubbery extra liquid bitumen layer that covered the usual tiny visible stones and filled bumps.

Even Pirelli, F1’s sole tyre supplier, was caught by surprise – as was the FIA, who did not mention the local organisers’ bizarre solution in its pre-event technical report.

“Maybe it’s actually completely fine, so we’ll find out,” Leclerc added.

Later, an FIA spokesman told journalists who enquired that the layer put down in places is to “preserve the asphalt and ensure the stones remain in place”.

The official for the governing body added that the solution is “expected to increase grip”.

Shanghai’s circuit lost its mandatory-for-F1 Grade 1 license during its covid hiatus, resulting in other repair works to certain barriers and other details.

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