F1 2020: Chinese Grand Prix Setup Guide – Career, My Team, Time Trials

The Shanghai International Circuit is a mainstay of the F1 calendar. Here’s how to nail it every time.

by Jacob Hancox
f1 2020 china setup

Shanghai is famous for its back straight, but there’s a lot more to the circuit than just that. Three long, right-handed corners over the course of the lap punish the front-left tyre in a major way, while two hairpins necessitate a setup which provides good traction.

This setup has what it takes to get you feeling confident in China. Not only that, it will give you the consistent pace you need to compete at the very top.

Aerodynamics

While there are plenty of twists and turns around the Shanghai International Circuit, wing settings have to take the huge back straight into account.

F1 2020 China Wings

I recommend 2-7 for your wing settings. You’ll find the car will tend to understeer a little, but the payoff on the straights will be worth it. Running a high rear wing helps to keep the rear end planted on the exits of turns 3, 6 and 14, giving you great traction.

Transmission

F1 2020 China Transmission

For your on-throttle differential setting, the stability afforded by running 50% is too good to pass up.

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Off-throttle differential is a little more variable. I prefer a setting on the low end, 60%, as the extra rotation through the long turns 1, 2 and 3 is very valuable. If you’re finding a general lack of stability, try raising this to 70 or 75%.

Suspension Geometry

As with the Chinese Grand Prix wet setup, your camber settings will be a compromise between performance in the fast corners and the slow corners.

F1 2020 China Sus Geo

For this reason, -3.00 and -1.50 are the optimal choices. If you’re struggling in the slower parts of the track, you can move these settings to the right a little.

Toe is a much clearer matter. China has a high proportion of long corners, and going for 0.05 and 0.20 for your toe values will help you in these turns.

Suspension

When it come to tyre wear, China is far harsher on the front left tyre than anything else. One way to help mitigate this issue to run a soft front suspension.

F1 2020 China Suspension

Meanwhile, raising the rear suspension to a higher stiffness level will combat the understeer inherent with these wing settings. I’ve found that 2-6 works best for me.

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A slightly higher rear suspension setting would help with outright speed, but it will also make the car more difficult to drive.

Brakes

F1 2020 China Brakes

As ever, I’m recommending 100% brake pressure with 50% brake bias. Any issues with front locking caused by the high brake pressure are countered by the rearward brake bias. Furthermore, rotation in the opening sector of the lap is helped by this brake bias setting.

Tyres

This is another area in which you will have to take special measures to protect your front left tyre.

F1 2020 China Tyres

First of all, the responsiveness of the front right tyre is important for the left-handed corners at this track. Most of these are slow corners, so you won’t have overheating issues with the front right. Running 23.0psi gives plenty of responsiveness without any major drawbacks.

In order to protect the vulnerable front left tyre, running the minimum pressure of 21.0psi is a must. You may not find that your tyre wear is much reduced by this, but the tyre will overheat less.

This means that you won’t find yourself dealing with chronic understeer, as your tyre won’t heat up beyond its operating window.

For the rear tyres, 20.7psi will do the trick for both. The slightly lower pressures help a little with traction, which is quite important in China.

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This setup is designed first and foremost to be drivable. You will find that you have no problems controlling the car, unless you’re getting far too greedy on the throttle on the exit of turn 3.

While these settings won’t give you the absolute maximum speed over one lap, it’s only a tenth or so away, and faster setups would have you hanging on for dear life. 

Jacob Hancox

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