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Facts and figures - Chinese Grand Prix 05 Oct 2007

Pit complex and main grandstand.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 4 October 2007 Grid girl with the Chinese flag.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, 26 September 2004 Scenic Shanghai.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Wednesday, 3 October 2007 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB3.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Friday, 5 October 2007 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari F2004 won the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, 26 September 2004

The Shanghai race may only be in its fourth year on the Formula One calendar, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of fascinating facts relating to the Chinese event. Here are just a few…

- Shanghai International Circuit was built on 5.3 square kilometres (2 square miles) of marshland. Although construction was completed within 18 months, before building began, 40,000 stone pillars - 40 to 80 metres deep - were driven into the ground to stabilise the marshy conditions.

- Rubens Barrichello won the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in 2004 for Ferrari. Both Barrichello, and 2005 victor Fernando Alonso, triumphed from pole position. Last season, however, Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won from sixth on the grid. It was Schumacher’s last Grand Prix victory before his retirement and the 91st of his career.

- Renowned architect Hermann Tilke, who is also responsible for the recently-built tracks in Kuala Lumpur, Bahrain and Istanbul, designed the circuit. It seats up to 200,000 spectators. The main grandstand, with 29,000 seats, provides a spectacular view of almost 80 percent of the track.

- Overtaking is possible as the track measures, on average, between 13 and 15 metres in width and offers ample room for passing manoeuvres.

- Shanghai is a port city on the east coast of China, close to the Yangtze Delta. It is considered one of the country’s ‘boom towns’ with a population of around 14.6 million. The circuit is about a 40-minute journey from the bustling city centre.

- The track measures 5.451 kilometres (3.387 miles) and features seven right and seven left hand corners. The circuit’s first corner, a spiral turn that becomes tighter and tighter, is particularly challenging. Unusually, the longest straight is not the start/finish straight but the one which lies between Turns 13 and 14. This full-throttle section extends to almost 1.2 kilometres and sees drivers reach speeds of around 330 km/h (205 mph).

- The layout of the circuit is based on the Chinese character ‘Shang’, which translates as ‘high’ or ‘above’ and gives Shanghai its name. The ultramodern pits and grandstands emulate traditional Chinese design, whilst Chinese history also plays a part. The team buildings are arranged like pavilions in a lake to resemble the ancient Yuyan-Garden in Shanghai.

- Only 54.2 per cent is driven at full throttle - only Monaco has a lower percentage of maximum acceleration. There are, however, 50 gear changes per lap.

- Few Chinese drivers have ever driven a Formula One car. Formula BMW Asia champion Ho-Pin Tung tested for Williams back in December 2003, while another BMW Asia champion, Marchy Lee Ying-Kin, was asked to participate in a Minardi test session at Italy’s Mugello circuit in April 2005. A Chinese driver to look out for in the future is Cheng Congfu, who came through McLaren’s young driver programme and who this year has been competing in the British Formula Three and A1GP series.

- 2004’s inaugural Chinese Grand Prix saw the top three finishers separated by less than 1.5 seconds.