Hitting the Apex: Shanghai International Circuit

It’s Shanghai Race Week! Read on for everything you need to know about the Shanghai International Circuit.

Written by Mees Drijgers

April 18, 2024

The Shanghai International Circuit, also referred to as the Shanghai Audi International Circuit for sponsorship reasons, is a motorsport race track located in the Jiading District in the north west of Shanghai, China. As a way to showcase the city, Shanghai authorities suggested the idea of building a race track near it, which was also located close to major car parts manufacturing facilities. The track and associated facilities are designed by Hermann Tilke, and design plans for the circuit were realised between April and May in 2003 when engineers visited the site. Extensive groundwork was carried out for 18 months to complete the facility, one of the most unique ones being the paddock, which was designed to resemble the ancient Yu Garden.

Charles Leclerc on track during the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix (Photo via @scuderiaferrari on Twitter)

Shanghai International Circuit is the first purpose-built race track for Formula 1, and has hosted the Chinese Grand Prix there every year from 2004 until 2019. From 2020 until 2023, the circuit was absent from the F1 calendar, but after 5 years it will make its return in 2024. According to Autosport, The Shanghai Formula 1 circuit has completed work to grind down some surface bumps ahead of the return of the Chinese Grand Prix next weekThe circuit worked together with Herman Tilke’s engineering and architect company to grid down and reseal areas of the track that were of concern.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Track distance: 5.451 km / 3.387 miles
  • DRS zones: 2
  • Corners: 16
  • Elevation: 7.3 metres
  • Laps: 56
  • Race lap record: 1:32.238 Michael Schumacher (2004)
  • Direction: clockwise

According to F1.com, Shanghai configuration for this year is as follows:

 

PREVIOUS TYRE COMPOUNDS

  • As it has been 5 years since Formula 1 last raced here, the difference in tyre compounds between 2019 and 2024 will be of little relevance

 

The most successful driver at the Shanghai International Circuit is Lewis Hamilton with a total of 6 wins. Mercedes is the most successful constructor with 6 victories. The pole position record at the track also belongs to Lewis Hamilton, who has started from P1 in 6 Grands Prix. More than 50% of the F1 races at the circuit have been won from pole position.

The 2019 F1 grid into Turn 1 (Photo via @mercedesamgf1 on Twitter)

Shanghai International Circuit’s layout is inspired by the Chinese character shang (上), the first character in the name of the city Shanghai, meaning “above” or “ascend”. The track opens with a long right-hander into the first turn, and though it is a significant feature of the circuit, it has divided drivers’ opinions. The circuit also features one of the longest straights on the calendar, with a 1.2 kilometer back straight separating Turns 13 and 14.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

  • 2019 Lewis Hamilton
  • 2018 Daniel Ricciardo
  • 2017 Lewis Hamilton
  • 2016 Nico Rosberg
  • 2015 Lewis Hamilton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mees was introduced to the world of F1 by one of her friends in July 2020 and hasn’t missed a race weekend since. Her favourite drivers are Alex Albon, Lewis Hamilton, Oscar Piastri, and George Russell; outside of F1, she also actively supports Liam Lawson and Callum Ilott. She specialises in writing about F2, but is looking to specialise in FE and IndyCar as well, after starting to watch both series in 2022. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture, she is currently getting MA degrees in Translation and English Literature & Culture. When she’s not watching motorsport, she’s either watching football matches (preferably Real Madrid), reading a book, or watching streams on Twitch.

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