RaceFans Round-up: Chinese fans crashed website buying tickets

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In the round-up: Anticipation for the first Chinese Grand Prix in five years is so high fans crashed a website selling tickets for the race, says Zhou Guanyu.

In brief

Zhou expects “memorable” first home race

Sauber driver Zhou is poised to become the first Chinese driver to compete in their home grand prix when F1 returns to the Shanghai International Circuit in April. He said interest in the series has ballooned since F1 last visited the track in 2019.

“I was at the dinner table at eight o’clock, that was when the ticket was selling, and then people was just texting me that my grandstand had been sold out in four minutes,” he said. “In reality, the first 10 minutes, because the app was shutting down by too many users trying to buy the tickets.

“So it’s great news, I think, especially for China, coming back after five seasons, to finally have the grand prix there and just to see the whole audience, how much it’s been growing, has been built over the last past few years.”

Zhou said his arrival in F1 two years ago as China’s first race driver to enter the series has “made a massive impact” on its popularity. “It is great to see. Also a lot of the young generations, they are starting go karts, racing abroad more often compared to the age I was, moving out to try to do racing in motorsports or to gradually get into Formula 1.

“So it’s exciting, not just my grandstand, the whole ticket has been sold out for the grand prix, so can’t wait for that. And it’s a sprint race weekend so I think the fans can have definitely more entertainment and there will be more racing action going on so it’s going to be a memorable weekend.”

Haas VF-24 completes first run

Hulkenberg shook down the new Haas at Silverstone

Nico Hulkenberg gave the Haas VF-24 its first shakedown at Silverstone yesterday. He completed 200 kilometres of running, as the maximum distance permitted has doubled this year.

Hauger leads wet F2 test in Bahrain

Unusually, rain affected both Formula 2 and Formula 3 testing in Bahrain as well as a Formula 4 UAE at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

The rain in Bahrain complicated F2 teams’ first test with a full complement of the new Dallara F2 2024 chassis. Dennis Hauger ended the day on top for MP Motorsport with a best time of 1’53.175.

Leon leads F3 test

Van Amersfoort’s Noel Leon led the F3 test in Bahrain after drivers conducted only minimal running in the morning session due to the wet track surface. Leon covered 19 laps and his best effort of 1’46.657 put him just 15 thousandths of a second ahead of Oliver Goethe.

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Al Azhari takes F4 UAE points lead ahead of finale

Freddie Slater returned to Yas Marina leading the Formula 4 UAE series but fell to second in the standings at the conclusion of the triple-header yesterday having come away from the weekend point-less. Keanu Al Azhari, who tangled with Slater in Saturday’s opening race, mustered a second-place finish in yesterday’ second encounter to take a 16-point lead into this weekend’s finale at the Dubai Autodrome.

Two more new winners yesterday means the series has now seen eight different drivers take victory over the 12 races to date. They were taken by Gabriel Stilp, who won a rare rain-hit race at the track, and Rashid Al Dhaheri, the latter moving into fifth in the standings.

Bilinki poised to clinch Formula Regional Oceania title

Roman Bilinski increased his lead over nearest points rival Liam Sceats with second and fifth places in yesterday’s two Formula Regional Oceania rounds at Ruapuna. Victories went the way of Sceats and Michael Shin. Bilinksi, who won the weekend’s opening race, goes into this weekend’s finale at Highlands Motorsport Park with a 56-point lead over Sceats.

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