F1 Preview: 2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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The Chinese Grand Prix has been a very happy hunting ground for Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton over the years.

While Hamilton is a four-time winner of the event – more than any other driver – Rosberg claimed his first Formula 1 pole position in Shanghai four years ago today.

The German followed this up the next day in 2012 to claim his first race win and Mercedes’ first since returning to the sport as a constructor in 2010, sparking the beginning of the dominant patch we are currently in the midst of.

As such, predicting the winner of this weekend’s race becomes all the more difficult. Rosberg is the man in form after taking two wins from two races to start the season, but with Hamilton eager to catch up, the fight will be on at the head of the pack.

Here is our full preview of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix – Talking Points

Can Nico keep his run going in China?

Rosberg’s three victories to close out the 2015 season were seen at the time as not having much importance. After all, Hamilton had won the title and had taken his foot off the gas. The only person to whom Rosberg’s victories truly mattered was Rosberg.

And yet after convincing victories in Australia and Bahrain, Rosberg’s streak now stands at five. No driver has won five races in a row and never won the world championship. His lead over Hamilton already stands at 17 points, and a sixth straight victory in China would surely leave the Briton concerned about his title defence.

Ferrari looks to remedy engine woes, get back in the hunt

The hopes of Ferrari mounting a serious challenge to Mercedes in 2016 were given life in Melbourne when Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen shot off the line to lead one and two throughout the opening stint of the race.

That has been the high point so far this season, though. Vettel’s pace and strategy saw him fall to third in Australia, while he didn’t even make the start last time out in Bahrain due to an engine failure similar to the one suffered by Kimi Raikkonen at the season opener.

China will be a big test of Ferrari’s true pace. Perhaps getting both cars to the finish should be the main goal though – a third engine issue in three races would surely be cause for concern.

Haas and RoGro chase third straight points finish

Haas’ charge to the points on debut in Australia was not without its fortune, yet the repeat display in Bahrain two weeks later where Romain Grosjean went one better to finish fifth thanks to a mix of blistering pace and brilliant strategy.

How long will the honeymoon last though? Haas arrives in China chasing points for the third race in a row, while Esteban Gutierrez will be aiming to get to the finish after two unlucky breaks so far this season – especially in Bahrain when points were possible.

Either way, Haas is making waves in F1. Long may it continue.

Sanity prevails as elimination qualifying bites the dust

Listing elimination qualifying as a ‘talking point’ for this weekend’s race is perhaps unfair, because we won’t be talking about it. Thankfully, sanity has prevailed, and the 2015 qualifying format will return in China.

Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt backed down in the interests of the sport, facing a united front from the teams in opposition – a very rare thing indeed – but the idea of revamping qualifying for next season remains firmly on the table.

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone… but we’ve now got our old, simple qualifying back.

Alonso’s back in business, it seems

Fernando Alonso looks set to make his racing comeback this weekend after being given the provisional go-ahead by the FIA doctors to take part in the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Spaniard said that he was 100% fit to race ahead of the stewards’ decision, although the amount of time that it took them to give a final say, it doesn’t appear to have been a clear-cut call.

We’ll see after FP1 just how fit Fernando is feeling, but barring a big issue, he’ll be racing this weekend.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Corners: 16
Lap Record: Michael Schumacher 1:32.238 (2004)
Tire Compounds: Medium, Soft, Super-Soft
2015 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2015 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:35.782
2015 Fastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:42.208
DRS Zones: Main Straight (T16 to T1); T13 to T14

2016 Chinese Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 10pm ET 4/14
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 2am ET 4/15
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 12am ET 4/16
Qualifying: NBCSN 3am ET 4/16
Race: NBCSN 1:30am ET 4/17

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws

The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)