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Race information - China 2016 - Get up to speed for the third round in Shanghai

Published by Christine

This week, Formula One heads to Shanghai for the third stop on the 2016 calendar. We've had two action packed race weekends already and it's time for China to see if they can deliver more of the same. The qualifying format debacle has thankfully been resolved (for now), we've got our full complement of drivers fit and healthy to race again, and everyone is looking forward to getting back out on track.

Event schedule

Qualifying has been returned to its former glory for this weekend, after teams wrote a hasty letter to the powers that be kindly advising them to sort themselves out. That means the elimination style is gone and we're back to the three sessions wide open for drivers to try and avoid the drop zone wherever possible. It should be better than the previous two weekends, but is unlikely to mix anything up as we head into the race.

Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso has been given provisional permission to race this weekend after having to sit out the Bahrain Grand Prix due to injuries sustained the fortnight before. Providing he passes all the tests, he'll be back in the McLaren car, rather than watching on from the garage. We also know, already, that Lewis Hamilton has a five place grid penalty due to a gearbox change, which means he'll be on the back foot going in and that could spice things up just a little.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
15 AprFridayFree Practice 103:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +08:00
Free Practice 207:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +08:00
16 AprSaturdayFree Practice 305:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +08:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +08:00
17 AprSundayGrand Prix07:00
GMT +01:00
GMT +08:00

Support racing for this event includes Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

Expected conditions

We had the unusual sight of a spot of rain in Bahrain, but this weekend in China things look set to stay dry - although there are forecast to be plenty of clouds around that could mix things up if they wanted to. Most of the time, though, the sun will be shining, birds singing, cars racing, amid reasonably temperatures if some high humidity.

Partly cloudy and warm

Shanghai, Friday


  • Low 16℃
  • Humidity 57%

Partly cloudy and warm

Some rain or drizzle

Shanghai, Saturday


  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 80%

Some rain or drizzle

Partly sunny and pleasant

Shanghai, Sunday


  • Low 12℃
  • Humidity 56%

Partly sunny and pleasant

Track information

The vast and sprawling Shanghai circuit with its excellent facilities and beautiful paddock was meant to bring motorsport to a brand new generation and global market. Unfortunately, since those shiny days when it first debuted, the track has settled into the smog and the visitor numbers have continued to fall. It never feels like a track with huge personality, but it can deliver good racing on occasion and it does earn its spot on the calendar.

Shanghai International Circuit circuit map
DRS zones
DRS detection 1At turn 12
DRS activation 1752m before turn 14
DRS detection 235m before turn 16
DRS activation 298m after turn 16

A lap of the Shanghai International Circuit begins with the intricately designed but insanely difficult first corner complex. The initial turn bends all the way round to the right until it has more than doubled back on itself, before swinging drivers out and round to the left so they can continue the way they were first headed. A short straight dips them into a second gear slow corner, before the winding curves of the next section.

After two tighter corners housing another shorter straight, drivers are tipped round to the right onto the hugely long back straight, culminating in a second gear hairpin surrounded by grandstands. A faster switch to the left puts drivers back on the home straight, where they can pick up the speed again to head back into that fiendish first corner.

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitShanghai International Circuit
TimezoneGMT +08:00
Race debut2004
Length5.451 km
Distance305.066 km
Line offset0.190 km

The Chinese Grand Prix has been on the calendar non-stop since its introduction in 2004. Lewis Hamilton has had great success around the track, dominating the 2015 weekend from start to finish but also taking victories in 2008, 2011 and 2014 as well. Fernando Alonso is the only other driver to have won more than wonce, with a sizeable gap between his victories in 2005 and 2013.

The importance of pole position is higher here than at other tracks, with seven of the twelve victories coming from the first spot on the grid. Also, the polesitter has only finished outside the top three on two occasions. The lowest a winner has started from on the grid is sixth place, which was Michael Schumacher's victory in 2006.

Results for the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix
Free Practice 1Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:39.033
Free Practice 2Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:37.219
Free Practice 3Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:37.615
QualifyingLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:35.782
Grand PrixLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:39:42.008
Fastest lapLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:42.208

Tyre compounds

We've only got two races to use as evidence but so far the switch to using three compounds during a race has produced some interesting strategy and reasonably good racing. This week, the compounds on offer are the same for the third consecutive race - mediums, softs and supersofts - but the choices continue to get more and more wide as drivers get experience with the way 2016 style selections work.

The mediums have the most variation, with anywhere from just one single set (Massa and Grosjean) to a whopping five (the two Sauber drivers). Soft tyres are only split between a four or five set strategy, whilst supersofts vary from four through to seven sets. Teammates are still tending to stick to the same pattern, but occasionally there are differences, including at Mercedes where Rosberg has gone for one set softer than Hamilton.

Selected tyre sets per driver
Medium tyreSoft tyreSupersoft tyre
Lewis Hamilton445
Nico Rosberg355
Sebastian Vettel346
Kimi Räikkönen346
Valtteri Bottas247
Felipe Massa157
Daniel Ricciardo256
Daniil Kvyat256
Nico Hülkenberg256
Sergio Pérez256
Kevin Magnussen256
Jolyon Palmer346
Max Verstappen355
Carlos Sainz265
Marcus Ericsson544
Felipe Nasr544
Fernando Alonso247
Jenson Button247
Pascal Wehrlein454
Rio Haryanto454
Romain Grosjean157
Esteban Gutiérrez247

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
ThursdayValtteri BottasWilliams Martini Racing
Marcus EricssonSauber F1 Team
Nico HülkenbergSahara Force India F1 Team
Kevin MagnussenRenault Sport F1 Team
Kimi RäikkönenScuderia Ferrari
FridayMaurizio ArrivabeneScuderia Ferrari
Éric BoullierMcLaren Honda
Yusuke HasegawaHonda Motor Co. Ltd
Christian HornerRed Bull Racing
Frederic VasseurRenault Sport F1 Team
Toto WolffMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
Silvia BellotMember of the Royal Spanish Automobile Federation Board of Directors, FIA Women in Motorsport Commission Member, and FIA steward.
Alan Jones1980 Formula One World Champion, former Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercars racer, as well as Australian F1 commentator.
Tim MayerFIA alternate delegate to the USA and FIA Steward, son of former McLaren Team Principal Teddy Mayer, plus involvement in management of IndyCar and CART.

All content in the series China 2016