The teams and drivers of Formula 1 will continue their bid for dominance this weekend when they descend on Shanghai’s International Circuit for the tenth Chinese Grand Prix (April 12-14).
With debates over team orders continuing to rage, and the break having presented the paddock with time to head back to Europe to finalise upgrades for the season’s second double-header, there’s plenty to look forward to.
BBC TV will cover its first live Grand Prix of the 2013 season in China with all sessions available to watch free-to-air on BBC One and BBC Two throughout the weekend.
As always, Sky Sports F1 will screen comprehensive coverage of every on-track session live from the third round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
First held in 2004, the Chinese leg of the Formula 1 campaign has produced eight different winners in nine years.
Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to have taken the chequered flag on more than one occasion, and he would no doubt love to complete the hat-trick this year with new team Mercedes.
A Hamilton victory this early into the season may have seemed unlikely not too long ago, but results in the opening two races would suggest Mercedes have been busy since suffering so much disappointment last term.
Fifth in Australia first time out, the 2008 world champion then took his first podium of 2013 with a third-place finish in Malaysia.
Teammate Nico Rosberg also impressed at the Sepang International Circuit.
The German, who claimed his maiden Formula 1 victory at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix, can count himself unlucky to have only finished fourth.
Clearly the quicker of the two Mercedes in the closing laps as he and Hamilton slowed due to fuel and tyre concerns, he begrudgingly accepted an instruction from team principal Ross Brawn to hold his position.
Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, did no such thing when a similar call came in from the Red Bull pit.
Clearly in no mood to give up his crown, the three-time defending champion ignored direct orders not to challenge teammate Mark Webber for the lead in Malaysia.
The pair went wheel-to-wheel on more than one occasion before the Australian eventually yielded.
The result saw Vettel go nine points clear in the Drivers’ Championship, but opened old wounds that turned into a public rift between the teammates.
When the paddock dispersed from Sepang little under three weeks ago, the Red Bull team orders row was the hot topic on everyone’s lips and the three-week break has done little to change that ahead of the latest stop on F1’s relentless global tour.
There may have been nine previous editions of the Chinese GP but there has to this date been only one repeat winner – Lewis Hamilton.
While the prominent memory of the Briton in Shanghai remains his helpless slide into a gravel trap on the entry to the pitlane during his rookie year of 2007, the now Mercedes man has claimed two victories at the circuit in the intervening six years – and memorably so on both occasions.
For the second year in succession Pirelli have opted for the soft and medium compound tyres for this weekend’s race.
Although the 5.5km track doesn’t contain the kind of high-speed corners found at Sepang, the generally cool conditions that traditional accompany the April date mean tyre degradation is invariably a concern.
The last two years have witnessed strategic battles between drivers on two and three pitstops.
The Chinese GP represents F1 fans final middle-of-the-night and early morning starts until the final months of the season.
You can follow all the action from the third round of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship on BBC TV and Sky Sports F1.Read SOTB’s 2013 Chinese Grand Prix viewing guide below:
BBC TV will have live free-to-air coverage of its first Grand Prix of the 2013 season from China.
For the first time on terrestrial television, BBC network TV will cover all five on-track sessions live with no Red Button hideaways.
The three free-practice sessions building up to the weekend’s key action will be broadcast live and in full on BBC Two and BBC Two HD.
As usual at live BBC race weekends, both qualifying and the race will be shown live on BBC One and BBC One HD, with a repeat of both in the afternoon, also on BBC One.
Suzi Perry introduces all the action from Shanghai. She will be joined by regular experts David Coulthard and, for the first time in 2013, Eddie Jordan, both providing lively analysis and discussion in the pits and paddock.
During the one-hour qualifying and race build-ups there will be plenty of new features and interviews to keep viewers informed and entertained, including David Coulthard’s grid-walk on race day.
Commentary comes from Ben Edwards and David Coulthard, with technical analysis direct from the pit-lane from Gary Anderson, while Lee McKenzie and Tom Clarkson will conduct interviews with the drivers and team personel.
McKenzie will also host the BBC’s preview programme Inside F1 on the BBC News Channel on Friday at 6.45pm and Saturday at 7.45pm.
BBC Sport’s popular F1 Forum returns for the live races presented by Suzi Perry following the conclusion of the BBC One transmission on BBC Red Button and online.
The BBC Sport website will have live streaming of all live BBC TV broadcasts, as well as additional live video content during including extra feeds such as driver tracker, on-board cameras, pits channel and a choice of commentary, plus interviews and analysis.
All of the BBC’s TV coverage will be available to view shortly after transmission on BBC iPlayer.. Friday 12th April F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 1 | Start: 03:00 LIVE: 2.55am-4.35am – BBC Two REPLAY: 11.55am-1.35pm – BBC Two F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 2 | Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.55am-8.35am – BBC Two REPLAY: 1.35pm-3.15pm – BBC Two Inside F1 – Chinese Grand Prix Preview 6.45pm-7.00pm – BBC News Channel Saturday 13th April F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 1 | Start: 04:00 LIVE: 3.55am-5.05am – BBC Two F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Qualifying | Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.00am-8.30am – BBC One REPLAY: 1.00pm-2.15pm – BBC One (BBC Two in Scotland) Inside F1 – Chinese Grand Prix Preview 7.45pm-8.00pm – BBC News Channel Sunday 14th April F1: Chinese Grand Prix – RACE | Start: 08:00 LIVE: 7.00am-10.15am – BBC One FORUM: 10.15am-11.15am – BBC Red Button REPLAY: 2.20pm-4.20pm – BBC One F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Highlights 7.00pm-8.00pm – BBC Three
Sky Sports F1 HD will also have extensive live coverage of every session of the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix.
Every practice session, Saturday’s qualifying and the race itself will be shown live in stunning high definition throughout the weekend.
Simon Lazenby will present full coverage of the Friday practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself, where he will be joined throughout the weekend by Martin Brundle, Johnny Herbert and Damon Hill, with analysis on the SkyPad from Karun Chandhok (regular analyst Anthony Davidson is absent as he is competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship event at Silverstone).
Ted Kravitz will have the latest news and reports and from the pit lane while Natalie Pinkham will interview the drivers.
Commentary on all sessions comes from David Croft, with Martin Brundle joining him for both qualifying and the race.
The F1 Show with Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham will follow hot on the heels of Practice Two on Friday morning and will feature reaction to both the day’s running as well as reaction from the aftermath of the controversial Malaysian GP.
Saturday’s live Qualifying show comes on air at 6am and during the course of the one-hour build-up the Sky team look both backwards and forwards as 2012 winner – and general Shanghai specialist – Nico Rosberg recalls his brilliant maiden F1 win with Martin Brundle while Jenson Button, a China winner himself in 2010, joins Johnny Herbert at the SkyPad to assess the challenge presented by a track now into its tenth season on the calendar.
Sunday’s Race Day Show – which starts at 6.30am – includes the first feature in a new ‘F1 Uncovered’ series in which we lift the lid on F1 technology.
First up it’s KERS, which Ted Kravitz guides you through with the help of Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, while in in the first instalment of a separate ‘Red Bull – Road to Greatness’ item we’ll start to chart their spectacular rise to F1 dominance at the very circuit they claimed their breakthrough win at back in 2009.
With Natalie Pinkham out with the drivers on the pre-race parade, Martin Brundle’s Grid Walk and Ted’s post-race Notebook guaranteed to be must-watch items there’s plenty of reason to discard that usual Sunday morning lie-in for this particular weekend.
A host of interactive additions, including on-board cameras, pit-lane feeds, the latest race stats and much more available via the red button and the Sky Sports for iPad app.
For those who won’t be at home, every second of the drama from the Shanghai International Circuit can be seen on Sky Go.
Tune into Sky Sports F1, the only place to catch every twist and turn of this exhilarating event, wherever you are.
Following Sky’s live race coverage on Sunday, Steve Rider’s Legends of F1 series returns with a special interview with six-time Grand Prix winner Tony Brooks, who was a contemporary of the great Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jack Brabham.
Nicknamed ‘the racing dentist’, Brooks was described by Moss as “the greatest unknown racing driver there has ever been”.
.Thursday 21st March F1 Drivers Press Conference LIVE: 8.00am-8.45am – Sky Sports F1 Gear Up For China 5.45pm-6.00pm – Sky Sports F1 Friday 22nd March F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 1 | Start: 03:00 LIVE: 2.45am-4.50am – Sky Sports F1 F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 2 | Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.45am-9.00am – Sky Sports F1 F1 Team Principals Press Conference LIVE: 9.00am-9.45am – Sky Sports F1 The F1 Show – Chinese Grand Prix Preview LIVE: 11.00am-12.00pm – Sky Sports F1 Saturday 23rd March F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 3 | Start: 04:00 LIVE: 3.45am-5.10am – Sky Sports F1 F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Qualifying | Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.00am-8.45am – Sky Sports F1 REPLAY: 12.30pm-3.15pm – Sky Sports F1 Sunday 24th March F1: Chinese Grand Prix – RACE | Start: 08:00 LIVE: 6.30am-11.00am – Sky Sports F1 REPLAY: 12.30pm – Sky Sports F1 Legends of F1: Steve Rider interviews Tony Brooks 11.00am-12.00pm – Sky Sports F1 F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Highlights 6.00pm-7.30pm – Sky Sports F1
BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will have live audio commentary of every on-track session from the Shanghai International circuit.
Jonathan Legard (qualifying/race) and Ben Edwards (practice sessions) will lead the commentary team throughout the weekend, including full live coverage of the race on BBC 5 live.
Jennie Gow will be the pit-lane and paddock reporter gathering all the interviews and Gary Anderson will provide the latest technical analysis from the pits.. Thursday 21st March 5 live Formula 1 – Chinese Grand Prix Preview 8.30pm-9.30pm – BBC Radio 5 live Friday 22nd March F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 1 | Start: 03:00 LIVE: 2.55am-4.35am – BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 2 | Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.55am-8.35am – BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra Saturday 23rd March F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 3 | Start: 04:00 LIVE: 3.55am-5.05am – BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra F1: Chinese Grand Prix – Qualifying | Start: 07:00 LIVE: 6.55am-8.05am – BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra Sunday 24th March F1: Chinese Grand Prix – RACE | Start: 08:00 LIVE: 7.45am-9.45am – BBC Radio 5 live