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Chinese Grand Prix - facts and figures 23 Sep 2004

Shanghai circuit detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, 22 September 2004 The unique combination of corners directly after the start/finish straight. Impressions Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China. 20 July 2004. Shanghai Circuit Detail.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, 22 September 2004 View from the main grandstand on the start/finish straight.
Impressions Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China., 23 September 2004

Just a few things you probably did not know about the Shanghai International Circuit, venue for this weekend’s race in China.

The Shanghai International Circuit is built on 5.3 square kilometres (2 square miles) of marshland, approximately one hour's drive from the city centre. Hermann Tilke, the renowned architect of tracks such as Malaysia and Bahrain, designed the circuit.

The Shanghai circuit was built within 18 months, but the constructors faced some extreme conditions. To make the swampy terrain suitable for development, concrete piles, 40 to 80 metres deep, were driven into the ground before a metre thick layer of polystyrene was placed on top. A two metre layer of soil then completed the foundation for the asphalt.

The track comprises seven right and seven left hand corners. (The radiuses of the individual turns vary, which is why other figures are also quoted.) The layout is based on the Chinese character ‘Shang’, which translates as ‘high’ or ‘above’ and gives Shanghai its name.

The circuit measures 5.451 kilometres (3.387 miles) making it the fifth longest circuit on the Formula One calendar. Race distance will be 305.256 kilometres (189.686 miles) (56 laps).

Unusually, the longest straight is not the start/finish straight but one which lies between turns 13 and 14. This full throttle section extends to almost 1.2 kilometres.

The futuristic pits and grandstands emulate traditional Chinese design features. Other symbols represented in the architecture originate from Chinese history, such as the team buildings arranged like pavilions in a lake to resemble the ancient Yuyan-Garden in Shanghai.

The circuit seats up to 200,000 spectators and the Main Grandstand, with 29,000 seats, provides a spectacular view of almost 80 percent of the track.

China has lobbied for many years to stage a Grand Prix. The first circuit built for Grand Prix racing was in Zhuhai in the south of China, but it never became a Formula One venue.

Shanghai, a port city and free trade zone on the east coast of the country and near the Yangtze Delta, is China's boom town with a population of 14.6 million.