Hosting it’s first race in 2004, the Shanghai International Circuit was the second ‘from scratch’ F1 circuit of the now ubiquitous Herman Tilke template. The circuit soon earned a reputation as a venue that delivered lackluster races, though there have been plenty of exceptions over the years.
From an F1 spectators point of view the venue offers a lot on some fronts while disappointing on others. The atmosphere at the circuit can be something akin to an accountants convention with little to ramp up the sense of occasion and make it truly memorable. There is little in the way of side shows and off circuit entertainment and even the usual array of food and beverage stalls are a poor offering compared to most other venues.
Putting all that aside, the actual views of the circuit are exceptional. This modern facility, has been designed from the ground up to give F1 fans a visual feast that few other circuits can. From the the top tiers of the main grandstands fans can take in a view of nearly the entire track, even when Shanghai’s often hazy skies might try and ruin it for you.
Shanghai itself is often too busy to notice there’s a Grand Prix going on in it’s suburbs and the race weekend revelry doesn’t envelope the whole city as is the case in other city F1 destinations but the place is none the less a fascinating and at times awe-inspiring place to spend a few days.
Things to do for F1 fans in Shanghai – Attractions away from the circuit
Shanghai is one of my favorite Asian cities and if you’re here for an extended trip while going to the Grand Prix you will find plenty to keep you entertained and enthralled.
The mix of east and west, old and new that defines modern China is nowhere more evident than in Shanghai. The contrast is striking: stroll along the Bund admiring European colonial buildings on one side and look across the Huangpo river to the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong on the other; meander through ramshackle street markets in the morning and shop among the designer stores and bright lights of Nanjing road in the evening.
Shanghai Auto Museum
This impressive collection of vintage cars is well worth a visit if you’re in Shanghai for the Grand Prix (especially as it’s located just one subway stop away from the circuit).
The exhibits are mainly American, with some rare turn of the century Chinese models and are housed in 3 floors of a space-agey type building in the Shanghai Auto Expo Park, about 2km from the Automobile City metro station.
Of particular interest to F1 fans is a 1948 Maserati Grand Prix car which competed in the 1948 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Allow about 2 hours for the museum, pick up an audio guide from the ticket desk.
|9:30AM – 4:30PM (last admittance is at 4PM), closed on Mondays|
|+86 2169 5500 55|
|Shanghai Anting Bo Road No. 7565 | GPS: 31.2786215,121.1680086 | View on map|
|Language||Shanghainese (though Manderin is widely understood)|
When F1 usually visits, Shanghai is on the cusp of summer time. One day you might be comfortable in your short trousers and the next you’ll be digging out your winter jacket.