APRIL 3, 2017
Hopes high for more passing in China
Hopes are high that Shanghai will host a more spectacular grand prix this weekend.
F1's new era - characterised by faster cars and better tyres - kicked off in Australia last month, but some were concerned that almost no overtaking took place.
"Melbourne has always been a track where overtaking is difficult. It's only slightly better than Monte Carlo," F1 legend Niki Lauda told Auto Motor und Sport.
While that is not untrue, in 2016 there were 37 passes during the Australian grand prix, compared to a worrying tally of just 5 in 2017.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen said in the Dutch press: "In Australia, overtaking is difficult. But in China it should work out much better with the long straights."
Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas agrees: "The wider cars make a larger hole in the air.
"So if the straight is long enough, it should be easier for us to get close before the braking point."
So for now, race director Charlie Whiting says the FIA won't make any knee-jerk rule changes on the basis of just a single grand prix.
"We have just one race behind us," he said.
"Melbourne is always problematic for overtaking, and it wasn't possible to extend the DRS zones there anyway.
"But Shanghai and Bahrain are circuits where the straights are longer, so if there are problems there too, we can think about extending the zones," Whiting added.