Chinese Grand Prix

Shanghai International Circuit

First grand prix 2004

Number of laps 56

Race distance 305.066KM

Circuit length 5.451KM

GP China

The fourth race of the season takes place in China at the Shanghai International Circuit, located on the outskirts of China's largest city. The circuit contains a combination of long straights (as a design by Hermann Tilke often has) and some very technical corners. Where in the past the Chinese Grand Prix was often the first race in Asia, the Chinese will have to give that honour to Vietnam in 2020.

The Grand Prix of China 2020

With the straights of Bahrain and Vietnam behind us, the circuit in China is perhaps the first where cars with a focus on downforce can show what they are capable of. During the first race of the season in Melbourne, that was partly possible, but overtaking is and will remain a thing of the past. In Shanghai there are more than enough places to, if you get out of the twisty part well enough, you can pop open the DRS and pass a car.

From 2004, the circuit of Hermann Tilke is on the calendar and the fastest lap that was put on the signs by Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari, has never been broken since then. In 2018, Sebastian Vettel was one second below Schumi's time, but that was the lap in qualifying on Saturday. Schumacher's 1:32.238 has never been broken during a race.

Chinese F1 history

Back in the early 1990s, the government of China planned for the circuit to be placed in Zhuhai, in the south of China. The track was built and then in 1999, the race was added to the F1 World Championship. However, the track failed to meet certain FIA standards. But the Chinese government carried on planning and building and eventually the Shanghai International Circuit was created and they hosted the first ever Formula 1 race in the Asian country in 2004.

That first ever race was won by Scuderia Ferrari and former driver Rubens Barrichello. But the next year, it hosted one of the most iconic races in F1’s recent history. With Ferrari’s dominance in the early 2000s, it was down to Fernando Alonso of Renault F1 team to end the Italians’ success. The Chinese Grand Prix was the last round of the F1 calendar in 2005. The next season (2006) was Michael Schumacher’s last ever race victory in Formula 1.

Rumours over the future of the Chinese Grand Prix began to circulate in 2008, and after a few years of speculation, the matter was finally put to bed by former F1 owner Bernie Ecclestone, saying: “We are not dropping anything. (It’s) 20 races – getting ready for 25.”

In February 2011, it was announced that the grand prix would be getting an extension, following years of uncertainty.

In recent seasons, the race, just like the whole of F1, has been dominated by Mercedes. Nico Rosberg was victorious for the Silver Arrows back in 2012, before Alonso won it for Ferrari the following season. But then four seasons in a row, Mercedes claimed the victory – with Rosberg winning in 2016, and Lewis Hamilton the three other occasions. 

What does the race weekend of the Chinese Grand Prix look like?

Halfway through April, the Chinese Grand Prix is on the calendar, with the first two free practice sessions on Friday April 17th. The press conference with a number of team bosses and drivers is scheduled one day earlier. In all the early hours the drivers will already tear out the pits on Friday. Qualifying on Saturday starts at a slightly more comfortable eight o'clock in the morning, with the race on Sunday 19 April at 8:10.

What time does the Chinese Grand Prix start?

Just like previous years, the Grand Prix of China can be followed live in the live blog of GPblog from half an hour before the start of the race. The start time of the Chinese Grand Prix is 7:10 UK time and the race can also be followed live on the Sky Sports F1 channel. The first two free practice sessions can also be followed on Sky Sports F1.

Session Date Time
Practice 1 11 April 2019 23:00 - 00:30
Practice 2 12 April 2019 03:00 - 04:30
Practice 3 13 April 2019 00:00 - 01:00
Qualifying 13 April 2019 03:00 - 04:00
Race 19 April 2020 02:10 - 04:10
Times are in America/New_York Timezone
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