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Shanghai International Circuit

Formula 1 circuit

Shanghai International Circuit
Credit: Mercedes
Vital statistics for Shanghai International Circuit
CircuitShanghai International Circuit
CountryChina
LocationShanghai
Timezone+08:00
Race debut2004
Results for the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix
Pole positionLewis Hamilton
Race winnerLewis Hamilton
Fastest lapLewis Hamilton

The Shanghai track itself takes the form of the Chinese symbol "Shang" which roughly translates to mean "high." The first corner doubles back on itself to provide an intensely difficult initial sector, whilst the back straight of the track is one of the longest on the F1 calendar. The track was built on ground that was originally swampland, but the Shanghai circuit prides itself on the impressive buildings and facilities provided for visiting series'.

F1 history

When the Chinese Grand Prix was welcomed on to the F1 calendar in 2004, it was an intriguing breath of fresh air. A track shaped in the form of a Chinese symbol, with exceptional facilities, and a fascinating paddock design, the Shanghai race was one of the new breed of tracks. Sadly for organisers, the facilities have been crumbling at the edges, the visitor numbers have been dropping, and there are newer tracks that have shown it up.

It’s not all bad, however, the track tends to deliver an interesting Grand Prix, and its position at the start of the season allows for the growing excitement to be propelled even further. Mixed conditions will make a significant change to the previous dry race in Bahrain, and the lower temperatures in Shanghai will make getting heat into the tyres a big part of the race weekend.

There are several overtaking opportunities throughout the lap. Designed by Hermann Tilke, it features the traditional long straights ending in a hairpin, but the extra-long back straight is a key passing point. The high speed sections and tight corners mean that the lap is heavy on braking, and the G forces are a particular challenge around the circuit.

The first sector offers up a very difficult opening corner. The track turns in on itself and then keeps on going, until eventually it leads to a blind apex that leaves the drivers trusting that things will unfold correctly. Elevation changes help make the rest of the track interesting, as the flowing corners lead to the aforementioned straights and hairpins.

The Shanghai International Circuit has a deal to remain on the calendar until 2017, but organisers have admitted to making exceptional losses for the event, and the motorsport culture isn’t developing in China the way they hoped it might. There’s a plan to lower the ticket prices, to attempt to rectify both those situations and encourage more fans to fill the grandstands to secure the future of the event for years to come. Drivers tend to like the challenge offered up by the track, but it’s not really a favourite on the Formula One calendar yet.

Learn more about Shanghai with the Pocket F1 Handbook.