F1 Chinese Grand Prix: five things we learned from Shanghai

Nico Rosberg

Formula One teams could soon be looking for another rubberman after Pirelli’s motorsport director, Paul Hembery, warned testing rules must be changed to allow time to prepare for the wider tyres in 2017.

1) Pirelli’s Hembrey gives warning over testing rules

Hembery is worried time could be running out for Pirelli, who are asking for 25 days to work with five teams in July. “This is it,” he said. “We cannot do our job without this. We cannot deliver. We are being asked to make very significant changes, by changing the driveability of the tyres. It is a big change and big performance improvements – so time is running out. We are in mid-April.” Hembery said Monday was deadline day. Pirelli and the Formula One chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, have agreed a three-year deal for 2017-19, although nothing has yet been signed.

2) Red Bull slowly coming back together

Red Bull are the new Williams. The popular Williams team have overperformed heroically in taking third place in the constructors’ championship for the past two seasons – but the game is up now. Red Bull showed again on Sunday their act is slowly coming back together. They’ve always had the chassis and now Renault are piecing together a stronger power unit they will be the next best team after Mercedes and Ferrari this season. They also have much stronger development potential than Williams over a season.

3) Kvyat stands up for himself

Daniil Kvyat can handle the pressure on and off the track. It has been rumoured the Red Bull driver is under pressure to retain his seat. His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo has been much more impressive this season, while the feeder team Toro Rosso have two sensational young drivers in Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen. Ricciardo beat Kvyat by four places and more than four tenths in qualifying but Kvyat responded with a podium place. And then he stood up to the four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, who said the Russian was “like a torpedo” at the start. Maybe Vettel was just embarrassed about the collision with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in front of the Ferrari president, Sergio Marchionne. The move was later dismissed as a racing incident.

4) Confusion over tyre options

Formula One, already too complicated, has just got even more so. The introduction of three tyre options for teams, instead of two, has increased the available strategies and made everything more complex. It made for a fascinating race in China on Sunday, however. With multiple incidents at Turn 1 and then the deployment of a safety car, it was cheerful chaos. The teams still have to use two of the three available compounds. Nico Rosberg had an advantage because, having qualified for Q3 on softs, he used the same tyre for the race – as you have to do. That meant he could have a much longer stint than the posse of super-softs behind him.

5) Sauber not finished and in talks with investors

Sauber, we have been told, will finish the 2016 season. Rumours to the contrary started gaining momentum when the team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, didn’t turn up in Bahrain for the second race. “People should engage their brains in something slightly more intelligent than just making up things just because I’m not at a race,” she said, sounding a little ratty. “I didn’t know I’m that important to people.” But cash-strapped Sauber, who have been great survivors in F1, are talking to potential investors.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Paul Weaver in Shanghai, for theguardian.com on Monday 18th April 2016 15.51 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010