An introduction to the Chinese Grand Prix
In October 2002, FIA announced that Shanghai had signed a contract to host F1's Chinese Grand Prix. This adds to the already existing Asian Grand Prix races in India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan. The number of Asian F1 fans continues to grow each year, especially among younger Chinese for whom owning their own car now is a reality. Adding the dazzling city of Shanghai to the F1 line-up will no doubt increase the exposure of F1 in this country exponentially.
Initially, the F1 Grand Prix circuit was to be located in the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong Province, southern China. The government spent more than nine years developing a racing circuit there and was originally scheduled to join the F1 World Championship calendar in 1998. But the track failed to meet international standards and subsequently went bankrupt in 1999. The second time around, the Chinese were going to do it right. They promptly signed a cooperation agreement with the organisers of the Macau Grand Prix, which has a 50-year racing history, to learn about organising and developing a race track.
The first ever Chinese Grand Prix debuted on 26 September 2004 at the Shanghai International Circuit and Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) won the race. The next year Shanghai International Circuit hosted the F1 2005 championship's final round, which was won by the newly crowned Spanish World Champion Fernando Alonso (Renault). Just before retiring in 2006, Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) won his final Formula One victory. In 2012, German driver Nico Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix for Mercedes.
The circuit was designed to be one of the most cutting-edge F1 circuits in the world and incorporates many of the most modern technologies as well as important Chinese symbolism. For the Chinese, as with most Asians, symbolism is an important aspect of life and this was not overlooked at the Shanghai International Circuit. The track itself was designed in the shape of the Chinese symbol 'Shang', which symbolizes 'high' or 'above'.
The racing complex has four gates that provide the stunning architectural focus of the area. The main grandstand is flanked by two red towers, which will symbolically 'guard' the guests like the two traditional Chinese lions you see in front of many Chinese buildings. The colours red and gold are important choices and are present throughout the circuit design. They represent good luck and power in Chinese symbolism. Water is another important factor, and is present at the circuit in the form of a lake around the team buildings. Water, just as in the interior decorating methodology feng shui, promotes tranquility and reflection. In fact, the team buildings, or rather pavilions, have been designed to resemble the famous ancient Yuyan Garden in Shanghai. The F1 drivers and their teams will be competing amidst these very auspicious symbols for the first Chinese Grand Prix.