The 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit, which debuted on the Formula 1® calendar in 2004, features a unique mix of flowing curves, tight hairpins, 180-degree corners and long straights, making it a real challenge for both drivers and cars. Find out more about the Chinese Grand Prix in Fast Facts!
Situated in the industrial north-western suburb of Jiading, the Shanghai International Circuit was constructed over an 18-month period between 2003 and 2004. The circuit’s design by Hermann Tilke is based on the Chinese character Shang, which means high (or above) and also gives Shanghai its name. The impressive Main Grandstand seats almost 30,000 fans and features two huge wings over the track at each end, one of which houses the media center.
In a further nod to the local culture, the paddock buildings used by the teams are lakeside pavilions inspired by the ancient Yu Garden in Shanghai. The roofs of the Grandstands H & K are shaped like the Lotus flower, an important symbol of purity in China.
The first Chinese Grand Prix in 2004 was won by Rubens Barrichello in the Ferrari F2004. It was the Brazilian's 9th and final win for Ferrari which helped him to secure second position in the driver’s championship for the year. To date, Barrichello is the only non-Championship winning driver to have won in China.
That Sinking Feeling
The circuit was constructed with artificial elevation changes on reclaimed marshland, which required over 40,000 concrete pillars to be drilled into the soft soil. After hosting seven races, the organizers were forced to resurface three sections of the circuit in 2011 after damage from ground subsidence was discovered.
The first seven races in China were all won by different drivers. It wasn’t until 2011 that Lewis Hamilton recorded his second victory and the Brit is now the most successful driver in China, with five wins to his name. Hamilton is also the only driver to have won back-to-back victories in Shanghai, which he achieved in 2014-2015. Hamilton also achieved a ‘grand slam’ at the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix after starting from pole position, recording the fastest lap and leading every lap of the race on his way to victory. The only other multiple winners of the Chinese Grand Prix are Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg, both with two victories apiece to their name. Rosberg’s victory for Mercedes in 2012 was his first F1® win and the first win for Mercedes since 1955. Since then, Mercedes has racked up a total of five Chinese Grand Prix wins, making them the most successful constructor at the circuit, ahead of Ferrari with four wins and McLaren with three wins.
McLaren’s chances of winning the constructors championship at the Chinese Grand Prix in 2005 – the final race of the season – were wiped out thanks to a loose drain cover on the track, which Juan Pablo Montoya struck during the race. The impact damaged his McLaren’s floor and led to the Colombian’s retirement from the race.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Buemi was the victim of an unusual failure on his Toro Rosso during practice for the Chinese Grand Prix in 2010 when the upright on his front right wheel failed, causing both his front wheels to come off simultaneously at high speed. Buemi was lucky to escape injury as his car hit the barriers and came to rest in the gravel trap.
Thinking about heading to Shanghai International Circuit this year? It’s not too late to secure your Official Ticket Package to the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix!