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.
THE F1 SPECTATOR TOP TIP
Though still communist, China embraced free market economics in the 1980’s and nowadays you’ll find an eager capitalist on every sidewalk in Shanghai. The circuit is no exception and should you get frustrated by the venue’s usually dismal collection of food and drink outlets you might find what you’re looking for through the circuit’s perimeter fence.
Hawkers gather to flog bottles of water, corn on the cob, kebab sticks and even cans of Tsingtao beer at their captive market. They are about double the price you’d pay elsewhere in the city but still very reasonable prices considering it’s a Grand Prix after all.
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|
Quick Facts and must-have Information
|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.
Chinese Grand Prix F1 Track Schedule 2019
|THURSDAY 11th APRIL|
|Formula 1||Press Conference||14:00 - 15:00|
|Formula 1||Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps||15:00 - 15:30|
|Formula 1||Drivers' Autograph Session||16:00 - 17:00|
|Formula 1||F1 Experience - Pit Lane Walk (F1 Experience Guests Only)||16:30 - 17:00|
|Formula 1||F1 Experience - Truck Tour (F1 Experience Guests Only)||17:15 - 17:45|
|FRIDAY 12th APRIL|
|FIA F4 Chinese Championship||Practice Session||08:45 - 09:10|
|Formula 1||First Practice Session||10:00 - 11:30|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Truck Tour||11:45 - 12:15|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Pit Lane Walk||11:45 - 13:15|
|Formula 1||Press Conference||12:00 - 13:00|
|Formula 1||Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps||12:20 - 12:50|
|Formula 1||Lotus Demo Lap||12:55 - 13:25|
|Formula 1||Second Practice Session||14:00 - 15:30|
|Porsche Carrera Cup Asia||Practice Session||16:00 - 16:45|
|FIA F4 Chinese Championship||Qualifying Session||17:10 - 17:35|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Truck Tour||17:45 - 18:15|
|SATURDAY 13th APRIL|
|Formula 1||Team Pit Stop Practice||08:30 - 09:15|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Pit Lane Walk||08:15 - 09:15|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Truck Tour||08:45 - 09:15|
|Porsche Carrera Cup Asia||Qualifying Session||09:50 - 10:20|
|Formula 1||Third Practice Session||11:00 - 12:00|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Truck Tour||12:15 - 12:45|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Pit Lane Walk||12:15 - 13:30|
|Formula 1||Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps||12:50 - 13:15|
|Formula 1||Qualifying Session||14:00 - 15:00|
|Formula 1||Lotus Demo Lap||15:30 - 16:00|
|FIA F4 Chineses Championship||First Race (TBC Laps or 25 Mins)||16:20 - 16:50|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Truck Tour||17:00 - 17:30|
|Promoter Activity||Starting Grid Presentation Rehearsal||18:00 - 20:00|
|SUNDAY 14th APRIL|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Pit Lane Walk||08:15 - 09:00|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Truck Tour||08:30 - 09:00|
|FIA F4 Chinese Championship||Second Race (TBC Laps or 25 Mins)||09:40 - 10:10|
|Formula 1||Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps (1 Car)||10:20 - 10:30|
|Porsche Carrera Cup Asia||Race (12 Laps or 30 Mins)||10:40 - 11:15|
|Formula 1||Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps||11:20 - 11:45|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Pit Lane Walk||11:30 - 13:00|
|Formula 1||Renault Demo Lap||12:00 - 12:20|
|Paddock Club||Paddock Club Truck Tour||12:25 - 12:55|
|Formula 1||Drivers' Parade||12:30 - 13:00|
|Formula 1||Starting Grid Presentation incl. Lotus Demo Lap (High Speed)||13:00 - 13:10|
|Formula 1||National Anthem||13:54 - 13:56|
|Formula 1||Grand Prix (56 Laps or 120 Mins)||14:10 - 16:10|
featured image: © Infiniti | FLICKR