Shanghai International Circuit
Circuit Details:
First used for Formula One: 2004
Shanghai International Circuit

Shanghai International Circuit: Photo by Tim Wang

Circuit Style and layout:

This Hermann Tilke designed circuit has a long back straight as with many of his circuits, it affords the best overtaking chance though especially when the cars are heading into a headwind, as in 2010. There are some overtaking opportunities on the way on to the main straight as well and some manoeuvres start at the hairpin turn 14 and may be finished off out of turn 16 down the pit straight. There’s a big run of area on the final corner and cars can afford to run wide carrying too much speed on to the straight.


The 5.45 Km circuit (that’s 3.39 miles) this means a Formula One race here is 56 laps each with 16 turns.  The first corner goes on and on, tightening as it goes into turn 2 which is a slow corner on to a kinked straight up to a slow tight 2nd gear hairpin which there is some opportunity for overtaking. The Middle sector has some fast corners where being able to carry good speed is key. Turn 11 is a 90 degree left-hander and then another long corner follows where drivers will need to start setting up for an overtake down the long back straight.


Watching the race:
The circuit is known for often being quite empty, perhaps they just put in too much Grandstand seating but some stands are unused even during formula one. With a capacity of 200,000 a 2010 attendance of 140,000 means that there is plenty of room for F1 to grow in popularity in China but also plenty of room for you to get along and go and see the race along with a trip to Shanghai and the rest of China.


The best place to watch the race is almost certainly around turn 14 where you are guaranteed plenty of overtaking, especially if it rains and also many cars makes mistakes here in this very heavy braking zone.


Building of the Shanghai International Circuit only took 18 months and the first formula one race there in October 2004 was won by Rubens Barrichello. Since then 6 other drivers have won, there are, as of the end of 2010 ,double winners here, although Ferrari have won three times and McLaren twice.


The first race saw a win by Rubens Barrichello, behind him Kimi Rakionnen had been pushing him for much of the race. Jenson Button, after getting past Massa and Alonso two stopped to get the jump on Raikonnen and beat him by only 4 tenths of a seconds having been pushed by Raikonnen and in turn having pushed Barrichello who only won by a second from Button.


Micheal Schumacher had his last race win before retiring in 2006 at Shanghai, but now in 2011 he is one of six former Chinese Grand Prix winners on the grid.


Several corners are sinking back into the marshland that was reclaimed for the project and ahead of 2011’s race there will be an inspection of the track. A February 2011 deal though means that Formula One will be at Shanghai until 2017.


Classic Race:
2010 was a great race with Vettel, Webber, Alonso and Hamilton all having to come back through the field. Alonso had jumped the start and after most of the field including the Red Bulls, the Ferraris and Hamilton’s McLaren pitted for intermediate tyres during a safety car it was Rosberg leading from Button who were 2 of the cars to stay out. Button got past Rosberg who made a mistake on lap 19 but the top 4 who had stayed out were being closed upon by the rest of the field who now had fresher tyres having had to change back from intermediates. The safety car came out again though when Alguaisuari’s wing was damaged and then came off creating a lot of debris. Button led away after the safety car, he backed up the field at turn 14 to the extent that Webber was forced off the circuit. The restart saw plenty of positions changing but Button kept the lead and went on to win.