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Max in Shangai: 'FP1 will be important'

Published on 18 April 2024 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen had a busy day of PR and media engagements ahead of the first Chinese Grand Prix weekend since 2019. “It’s been a few years since we’ve been here and there are a quite a few factors that could cause a shake-up”, said the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver, referring to a new sprint format as well as a resurfaced Shanghai International Circuit.

Nevertheless, Max is focussed on the task ahead: “It’s the same for everyone, but it’s crucial to have a good FP1. Hopefully we don’t need to fine-tune too much. That would be really helpful to hit the ground running. We have to maximise our time and my approach is the same as always in trying to win everywhere.”

Although the Chinese Grand Prix was never known for full grandstands, the global popularity of Formula 1 has significantly increased since the last edition of the race in 2019. “F1 is more popular so it’s interesting to see how many fans will be there. I’ve always enjoyed this track, I had a couple of good races with lots of overtakes. It’s a lovely track, and pretty technical so I’m looking forward to it.”

This weekend’s Grand Prix is the first 2024 event with a new sprint format. After the first and only free practice session on Friday morning, qualifying for the sprint race is scheduled for Friday afternoon. The sprint will be run on Saturday morning with qualifying for the Grands Prix rounding out the Saturday. “I think this schedule is definitely better, because you can change the set-up of the car after sprint qualifying. It means it’s less of a gamble.”