Formula 1

Chinese GP: A guide to the Shanghai Circuit

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This weekend sees F1 return to the financial capital of the world's most populous country as they head to Shanghai for the 10th Chinese Grand Prix.

The Shanghai International Circuit is another of Hermann Tilke's modern creations with a blend of slow, medium and high-speed corners, however, this venue also consists of a couple of corners you will find nowhere else in the world.

Built on swampland in the Jiading District of Shanghai, the circuit is the premier venue of Motorsports in China. The first race took place at the circuit in 2004 at really was the race everyone involved in F1 hoped would succeed more than most in Asia.

At 5.5km (3.4 miles), the Shanghai track is an average length circuit with the race taking place over 56 laps. The long radius corners put a lot of stress of the front left tyre as understeer quickly builds up, it is a medium downforce circuit with teams having to find that compromise between grip in the long sweeping corners and top speed down the 1km back straight.

As with all modern circuits, the spectator and pit facilities are among the best in the world. The teams are based in wooden huts built above the swamp, while the main grandstand on the pit straight holds over 30,000 people. Other architectural creations include the restaurants and VIP hospitality that are built above the main straight, and the UFO shaped grandstands towards the end of the lap.

Before I look at the circuit in more detail enjoy the onboard lap with Kimi Raikkonen from last year above.

Straight away the uniqueness of Shanghai is seen in the first sequence of corners. From the main straight turn one is a very long ever tightening 260 degree corner. Understeer very quickly builds up if the driver carries too much speed and puts a huge amount of strain on the front left tyre.

Turn two is an important apex to find as it completes the long right hander, run wide at that apex and the driver is out of position for turn three which immediately follows, a tight left that straightens out onto a short straight.

Turn six is at the end of the short straight and is the first overtaking area particularly as the tyres wear. A good exit from turn three is important to be in position to attack into the hairpin right which widens at the exit. This corner is also well-known for contact on the opening lap.

Turns seven and eight are very similar to turns five and six at Sepang, a long sweeping chicane which is slightly faster than the version in Malaysia, and sees a long left taken at around 260kph (150mph), which leads into a slower right taken at around 160kph (100mph). Once again easy to run wide and lose precious time, in the wet the wide line around turn seven has often allowed people to overtake up the inside at turn eight.

Turn 11 is another overtaking zone, exiting the double apex left of turns nine and 10, good traction gives a driver the chance to go up the inside into the tight left of turn 11, however go wide and then the driver is in trouble leading onto the long back straight.

The earlier a driver can get on the power through the long turn 13, the more top speed they will achieve down the 1km back straight where the new turbo cars will easily reach 320kph (200mph).

At the end of the straight is one of the best overtaking zones in F1, turn 14 is perhaps the tightest hairpins on the calendar taken at just 70kph (45mph). A dogleg style exit means driver's can get on the throttle quite early and head towards the final corner back onto the pit straight and complete a lap of Shanghai's International Circuit.

DRS is also available down half that straight and also now along the pit straight meaning there will plenty of overtaking.

Pirelli have also brought the same medium and soft compounds that were so troublesome last year while there is also a threat of rain during the weekend.

Mercedes may be in a class of their own heading to China, but you can be assured the Shanghai track can produce a race more than a match for the breathtaking action we saw in Bahrain just over a week ago.

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DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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