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The Chinese Grand Prix, first held in 2004, is raced at the Shanghai International Circuit, and is a crucial part of Formula One’s strategy to expand into Asian markets. The Chinese Grand Prix has quickly won recognition for excellent race organisation as well as state-of-the-art facilities offered by the Shanghai International Circuit.
Lap Distance: 5.451km
Race Distance: 305.066km
The Shanghai International Circuit
At a cost of $450 million the Shanghai International Circuit is the most expensive racing facility on earth. The venue is the product of a massive engineering and landscaping project, in which 3000 Chinese engineers transformed a piece of swampland into a world class racetrack in a period of 18 months.
German racetrack architect, Hermann Tilke, designed the Shanghai International Circuit. As such the track incorporates some of Tilke’s signature design features, including a long straight culminating in a hairpin bend. The straight allows drivers to push their cars’ performance, while the track’s 16 corners provide a stern test of driver skill.
Chinese Grand Prix History
Plans to host a Formula One Grand Prix were first tabled in China in the early 1990s. In an attempt to lure Formula One racing to the country, Chinese authorities set about building a customised racetrack in Zuhai, hoping to host the country’s first grand prix in 1999.
It took almost nine years to construct the Zuhai International Circuit, only for the FIA to declare the venue unsuitable for Formula One racing. Formula One management then responded to the FIA’s assessment by not allowing the Chinese Grand Prix to take place in 1999.
Determined to host a grand prix, the Chinese Government went back to the drawing board. Construction soon started on a world class racing facility in Shanghai. Satisfied with this development, Formula One management signed a 7-year contract with the organisers of the Chinese Grand Prix in 2002, and the first race was held at the new Shanghai International Circuit in 2004.
The Future of the Chinese Grand Prix
The advent of the Chinese Grand Prix received a warm welcome by both racing fans and Formula One competitors. However, as is the case with many of the newer fixtures on the Formula One calendar, the future of the race will ultimately depend on its success. At present the Chinese Grand Prix is scheduled to take place until at least 2010.