The Formula One season resumes next week with the third round, the 2013 UBS Chinese Grand Prix, taking place at the 5.451 km Shanghai International Circuit, located 40 kms outside of the city.
This year's race will be the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Grand Prix which made its debut during the 2004 season.
'Shanghai specialist' Nico has led 78 of a total of 168 laps (46%) in the past three years in China. Nico and Lewis have won the last two Chinese Grands Prix in 2012 and 2011 respectively.
Mercedes-Benz is the most successful engine manufacturer in China, with four wins in the past five races. Shanghai has a medium Safety Car risk, with deployments in one third of the nine races so far.
For Ross, “the Chinese Grand Prix of course holds great memories following the first win for Nico and our Silver Arrows team in Shanghai last year. That win was an extremely proud occasion for us all and certainly one that we hope to emulate in the future. Our season has started well, perhaps better than we expected, however we're fully aware that there is still a gap to close and that we must keep up the pace of development.
A lot of hard work has taken place at our factories over the last two weeks to do just that and I look forward to seeing how that translates to track performance. The Chinese Grand Prix race is well established now in its tenth year and it's an important market for both Formula One and Mercedes-Benz. The circuit itself is challenging with fast curves, tight corners and two hairpins.
The layout requires good straightline speed, braking stability and traction, and the temperatures are likely to be cooler than we have experienced in the first two race weekends.
“One year on from Nico's win, a lot of people will be asking whether this is something our team can repeat in 2013” says Toto ahead of the Grand Prix in China. “But like they say, yesterday's home runs don't win today's games, and that's definitely true for us. We start again from zero this year and need to work hard to adapt the car to suit the circuit and the tyre compounds we have available, in the conditions that we find on track next weekend.
Then we will see where we stand relative to the competition. We have made a solid start to the season in the first two races with Nico and Lewis both performing at a very high and equal level. The development race will be critical this season so we have more new parts planned for China.
Our aim has to be to improve on our good start to the season and continue scoring good points in both championships.”