Apr.19 - 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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5 F1 Fan comments on “Shanghai Circuit's Astonishing Transformation: "Painted" Tracks Raise Grip Questions

  1. Kenneth J LaBry

    It might be fine or it might be very slick. It largely depends on the chemical make-up of the coating material used. I would assume that Chinese engineers have used a compound that produces similar or greater tire adhesion from mechanical grip friction. We will see if this is the case through the course of the weekend.

  2. shroppyfly

    Whichever/Whatever, the issue is the teams and apparently the Fia thought the whole track had been resurfaced/maybe in part/full?, and no one was aware that it was going to be painted, heres what i think Surely a thing like this has to be signed off by the Fia safety team, and as, we/the teams and maybe even the Fia knew bugga all about it, Thats not good enough, So Who Is To Blame, another Fia cock-up or v amateur Chinese road builders?

  3. Kenneth J LaBry

    China does actually have some exceptional roadway civil engineers and also some of the most advanced R&D in roadway materials and material science in general. That being said I think that painted is a misinterpretation in that it is likely a coating of significant thickness that bonds into the existing tarmac and preserves the integrity of the tarmac, aggregate and coating together. I would think that the excellent Chinese engineering community has evaluated the structural integrity of the coated roadway as well as the mechanical (frictional) grip potential and found that it will be sound. I would expect that they have communicated this to the FIA technical body as well and answered any questions.


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