The Shanghai International Circuit, which is situated in the Jiading District of Shanghai, was financed by a government-funded joint-venture company, consisting of the Shanghai Juss Corporation, Shanghai National Property Management Co Ltd, and Shanghai Jia'an Investment and Development Co Ltd. It is thought to have cost around £350m ($450m).
In common with many other new circuits, it was designed by Hermann Tilke, and features his trademark track feature: a long back straight followed by a hairpin turn.
At the time, the scale of the project, with its two nine-storey pit buildings, 29,000-seat main grandstand and ornate paddock pavilions, was bigger than anything previously seen in Formula 1; it was what circuit designer Hermann Tilke described as "a race circuit for the new millennium".
The track layout was inspired from the Chinese character 'shang' the first character in the name of the city Shanghai, meaning "above" or "ascend".
The circuit architectural and design experts began planning and visiting the site between April and May 2003, and the area was transformed from swampland to international racetrack within 18 months with a team of 3000 engineers working around the clock. On 26 September 2004, the circuit hosted its first formula One World Championship Grand Prix, which was won by Rubens Barrichello.
In ts inaugural year the Chinese Grand Prix attracted 260,000 spectators with a slight (10,000) increase in 2005, but attendance has since declined with 155,000 attending in 2010.
On Feb 18, 2011, it was claimed that organizers had extended the deal to host the Chinese Grand Prix to 2018 despite falling attendance. Yiping Chen, deputy director of the Shanghai Sports Bureau, suggested the situation can improve by lowering the ticket cost. It was also reported that the Shanghai City government will keep open a subway line to the race track to boost spectator numbers.
Partly due to location of the circuit, the areas around turns 1, 8 and 14 have been sinking, and therefore the circuit had to be inspected before the 2011 event took place.
Wen Zhao, vice-mayor of Shanghai, has said that F1 is good for the city's image and remains confident in the success of the event in the years ahead.
The circuit’s technical demands are similar to those of Sepang, but the cooler ambient and track temperatures in China place greater emphasis on tyre wear.
The circuit layout has two straights and a mix of corners, from tight hairpins to flowing curves and radial turns. The constant changes of direction mean correct engine mapping is extremely important to give good drive out of the corners. Turns 12 and 13 - which form the radial corner that leads onto the longest straight on the circuit - demand particular attention.
The first few turns can be bumpy which unsettles the car. This makes braking difficult in the entry phase of the first corner. Turn 1 leads straight into Turn 2 and can be viewed as a single, increasing radius corner which places a lot of load on the front tyres. Tyre management in this corner helps with durability.
There are heavy traction demands out of Turns 3, 6 and 10, while there is heavy braking at Turn 4. Also, a good high speed change of direction is required in Turns 7 and 8.
Braking into Turn 9 is tricky with a transition from high speed corners into heavy braking. Exiting is important as it sets the car up for Turn 10 leading on to the following straight. Turn 13 is banked providing an interesting challenge for the drivers.
One of the most high-speed features of the season, the cars have to slow for Turn 14 at the end of the long straight. Although this is one of a few heavy braking areas around the track, these are well spread over a lap so the brakes have sufficient time to cool. It's not a harsh track on braking.