Home  //  Circuit Guides Formula 1 China (Shanghai)
Written by @Damien_Marquez   
Thursday, 12 April 2018 22:16

The Chinese Grand Prix is one of the best value for the money grands prix on the calendar. The Shanghai International Circuit (SIC) is easy to get to, has outstanding facilities and the main grandstand boasts an amazing view of nearly the entire track.



View from Grandstand A High - Image: Force India Formula One Team Limited


Expect the event to be sold out by race day and purchasing a ticket ahead of the weekend is a must to avoid disappointment. You'll also need to arm yourself with patience to go through security as a result of this recent surge in popularity with the locals. The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia is the only support category to hit the track during the weekend. Practice is on Friday, Qualifying on Saturday and the race takes place three hours before the start of the F1 race. Be also aware entertainment options in the fanzone behind Grandstand A is somewhat limited compared to other grands prix.


Shanghai is China's most accessible city for westerners. It is a huge metropolis offering some fascinating sightseeing opportunities, mixing old and new architectures, good bars and restaurants where you can sample authentic Chinese cuisine.

 

CONTENTS

1 // Location and accommodation
2 // Money matters
3 // Ticket prices
4 // Where to watch from
5 // Tips and recommendations
6 // Useful links to prepare your trip to Shanghai



1 // LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION


Getting to and from the circuit is very convenient whether by car, taxi or train. A typical taxi ride from the city centre takes about 50 minutes and 90 minutes from Pudong International Airport. Add another 40 minutes if using public transport.


For convenience, we recommend staying between The Bund and Jing'an along or in close proximity to Nanjing Road, the main shopping area in Shanghai. A popular choice with Formula 1 teams is the Four Seasons in Jing’an. There are also accommodation options close to the circuit. Just be aware Anting is a mix of residential and industrial buildings without any of the buzzing atmosphere from Downtown.


From Nanjing East Road, People's Square, Nanjing West Road or Jing'an Temple Metro stations, where most luxury hotel chains are located, take a Line 2 train and change at Jiangsu Road for Line 11. This line has two branches and only the trains going to Anting stop at the Shanghai Circuit station. The exit of the station is about 300 metres from Gate 1 (behind the Grandstand A) and 500 metres from Gate 11 (behind Grandstand K).



Pit straight - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team


2 // MONEY MATTERS


Whilst considered a 'fly-away' destination, the #ChineseGP is far from being the most expensive in the region. I fact, it is now the most affordable F1 weekend in Asia now that Malaysia no longer feature on the calendar.

Return airfares to Shanghai start from:
- $1,100 (1 stop) from Bahrain
- £600 (direct) or £400 (1 stop) from London
- €1,000 (direct) or €500 (1 stop) from Frankfurt
- $900 (direct) or $700 (1 stop) from New York
- S$500 (direct) or S$300 (1 stop) from Singapore
- A$1,000 (direct) or A$600 (1 stop) from Melbourne

Four-night accommodation from:
¥3,500 / $550 / £410 / €470 for a four-star double/twin room with a review score of 7/10 or more on Booking.com.

Tourist visa:
From $30 / £20 / €35 / A$50 / C$50 depending on your length of stay and your nationality. Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan are exempt for visits to China's mainland of no more than 15 days.

Taxi:
- ¥200 / $35 / £25 / €30 one way from Pudong International Airport to Downtown Shanghai
- ¥300 / $50 / £40 / €45 one way from Downtown Shanghai to SIC
- ¥400 / $65 / £50 / €55 one way from Pudong International Airport to SIC, inclusive of ¥100 road tolls.

Metro:
- ¥6 / $1 / 75p / €0.85 one way from Downtown Shanghai to SIC
- ¥4 / $0.65 / 50p / €0.55 one way from Anting to SIC
- ¥9 / $1.45 / £1.10 / €1.25 one way from Pudong International Airport to SIC.

Food and drinks: ¥1,200 / $200 / £150 / €170 per person for four days.

Internet access:
HK$150 / $20 / £15 / €17 for a SIM card and about 1.5GB of mobile data on China Mobile, the only provider to offer a decent Chinese 4G network so far. The price is indicated in HKD as there does not seem to be any information available for this plan in English other than on the Hong Kong website www.hk.chinamobile.com.

TOTAL BUDGET from (excluding flights and race tickets):
- $750 / £550 / €650 for a solo traveller or
- $1,000 / £750 / €850 for a couple,
assuming arrival on Thursday morning and departure on Monday morning.



Grandstand A staircase - Image: Force India Formula One Team Limited


3 // TICKET PRICES


The price list of the Chinese F1 round is quite straight forward. Except Paddock Club tickets, all grandstands and grass areas are three-day packages. Seating is reserved for Saturday and Sunday but unreserved for Friday practice. Children aged 3 to 16 receive a 30% discount within the family packs. Prices from the organisers are in bold, and we have also included the hospitality options from our ticketing partner gpticketshop.com in yellow.


Exchange rates are sourced from xe.com and based on the highest value since the last Chinese Grand Prix. Grandstand and General Admission ticket prices have been rounded up to the nearest $/£/€10 and hospitality tickets have been rounded up to the nearest ¥/£/€100.



Image: Shanghai Juss Event International Management Company Ltd.




4 // WHERE TO WATCH FROM


There are three grandstands, three general admission areas and Paddock Club hospitality to choose from. Most options have a great view so it's a matter of budget and personal preference. Most grandstand seats are under cover and all are equipped with multiple large TV screens opposite.


Grandstand A is the main grandstand along the pit straight. With a capacity of about 30,000 seats, it has the height of a four-storey building and is similar in size to the Bay grandstand in Singapore if you've ever been, which is significantly larger than any other grandstands on the calendar. It is divided in two levels, High and Low, and each level is further split from the start/finish line (Platinum or + sections) to the outer borders of the stand. We would normally recommend to get a sit as high as possible, but on this occasion we wouldn't go any higher than the bottom sections of A High.


The pit building opposite hosts no less than six superscreens, so you'll be sure to see the overtaking happening at the end of the DRS zone at Turns 14 and 15 which are behind the grandstand and out of sight. Please note seats in Blocks 17, both in A High and A Low, do not have protection from the roof.



Grandstand A with Blocks 17 viewed from Turn 3 - Image: Force India Formula One Team Limited


Grandstand A Platinum is located in the middle section of High level. It's a great vantage point which offers a panoramic view of most of the track and located in front of the start/finish line and podium. It's the perfect location for watching grid formation and any action in the pit-lane, albeit from a distance. All seats in this section are under cover and the ticket includes a voucher for a snack and a soft drink. Just be aware to take any food and alcohol with you. The seats much higher up than in a regular grandstand, It can take a little while to travel to and from the food stalls located downstairs behind the grandstand.


Grandstand A+ High seats are on either side of the Platinum area, offering similar views and shelter. Blocks 4-6 are closer to the pit entry, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull garages whereas seats in Blocks 10-14 are nearer to the pit exit, Haas, McLaren and Sauber garages. The latter sections are better suited to watch what is happening in Turns 1 to 3, both for the start of the race and overtakes into the first turn during the race.


Remaining seats in Grandstand A High boast a good overall view of the track except for the end of the back straight. There are bit farther away from the team garages however Blocks 1-3 are better for following cars into the long straight and Blocks 15-17 have an unobstructed view of "the snail" that is made of turns 1, 2 and 3.


For a closer look of the cars, grid and pit-lane, choose a seat in Grandstand A Low. The + section comprises of Blocks 4-14 which are across the team garages which are allocated in World Constructor Championship classification. Block 4 is closer to the Mercedes and Ferrari garages whereas seats in Block 14 are better for McLaren and Sauber supporters. The front of the grid is about midway through the grandstand, around Block 8. Sitting in the Low level, you'll be closer to one of the videowalls but your seat might not be protected from the elements as effectively as in A High in case of wind during rain.



View from Grandstand K - Image: Force India Formula One Team Limited


Grandstands H and K are situated at the end of the back straight, close to the hairpin where most of the overtaking happens. These grandstands are partially covered and enjoy two TV screens each, albeit quite small (see image below). Block H1b seats in Grandstand H look over the entire pit straight and pit lane entry. Grandstand K seats have a better view of the long straight.


General Admission is restricted to the Grass Zone or Grassstand for which the ticket holder has access to. Grass Zones B1, B2 and B3 have a better view of the pit straight and are closer to amenities and food stalls than section B4.


Grass Zone J is the prime spot to notice overtaking moves and this area has access to two of the videowalls of Grandstands H and K. Grass Zone L provides views of the start/finish, pit lane entry and podium celebrations. It also has access to a TV screen opposite the Grandstand A.


Grass Zone F is the cheapest weekend ticket on the calendar. If live in Shanghai and have never been to an F1 race, you can experience the pinnacle of motorsport on a shoestring budget. Just bear in mind food choices and amenities are limited in this section of the track. You'll also be farthest away than any other sections from the merchandising located in the F1 Village behind the main grandstand.


To attend the Chinese Grand Prix in style, choose a Paddock Club hospitality package. With passes ranging from $850 / £600 / €700 for a Friday-only experience, you can enjoy the local fine-dining cuisine, open bars with a collection of fine wines and champagne, daily pit-lane walks and driver interviews. The view from the roof of the pit building in Shanghai is quite good too (image below).



View from Paddock Club terrace - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team


5 // TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Early spring weather in Shanghai is variable and as predictable as Silverstone. Expect temperatures to range from around 7 to 29°C. We recommend dressing for the summer and pack sweater, rain gear and sun screen. You can of course opt to travel light and buy merchandise if you need extra layers!


Finding a taxi after the race on Sunday is rather challenging. However, if you must travel by taxi, ask your hotel front desk or concierge to give you the address of the hotel in Chinese. Uber also works great if you speak Mandarin or have someone able to give pick up directions when the driver rings (unlike many other countries).
The Chinese address for the Shanghai Audi International Circuit is 嘉定区伊宁路2000号.


The Shanghai Metro is a great way to get to the SIC which has it own station behind grandstands A and K. Buy a return ticket to avoid queuing at the ticket machines at the end of the day.


A another way to beat the queues at the Metro station is to travel in the opposite direction, away from the city centre. There's a handful of hotels close to Anting and Shanghai Automotive City station (Crowne Plaza Shanghai Anting Golf). Check the links in the section below but remember there isn't much to do or see in this part of the city.



Block H1b in Grandstand H - Image: Force India Formula One Team Limited


The recent popularity of the event with the locals means you're likely to experience never-ending queues at the food stalls. Pack a cooler back with food and drinks but remember alcohol is not permitted beyond the gates and can only be purchased within the venue. General admission ticket holders can bring folding chairs or stools. Flags are permitted, and you'll notice there are lots of them, but air horns are prohibited.


Whilst on the topics of flags, it might be worth pointing out that view of the first three rows in each block of all grandstands will be obstructed by them as well as people standing up by the barriers. Make sure you to communicate you want a ticket for Row 4 and above when purchasing it from your ticket reseller.


In order to not miss any of the on-track action, include queuing time when you plan your day. Expect queues of at least 30-45 minutes to pick up or purchase tickets from the booths outside the SIC from Saturday onwards. There are multiple resellers so ensure you join the correct line to avoid queuing up multiple times! Once in possession of your tickets, the line at the security check point also take some 30-45 minutes to get through, especially gates 1 and 9 for the Grandstands A and K respectively. Go to gate 9 if you have a ticket for Grandstand H or Grass Zone F and Gate 2 for the general admission in Zone B.


The event commentary on the PA system is provided in both Mandarin and English. The TV screens at the circuit do not provide timings or track position so consider streaming commentary from BBC Radio 5 Live via TuneIn or a similar app. China has its own 4G network so check with your telecom provider you'll be able to use your handset in Shanghai. You'll also need access to a VPN with a UK location to access the BBC commentary, Google services, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the like. ExpressVPN worked very well in 2016.



Grass stand L - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team


6 // USEFUL LINKS TO PREPARE YOUR TRIP TO SHANGHAI


formula1.jusstickets.com - tickets and event information (mostly in Chinese)
www.247tickets.com - local ticket sales (in English)
BOOKF1.COM - our GBP/USD/EUR/AUD/CAD ticketing partner
GPTICKETSHOP.com - our USD hospitality and EUR ticketing partner

Booking.com - our trustworthy reservation partner for hotels in Downtown Shanghai
Booking.com - our trustworthy reservation partner for hotels in Jiading and Anting

au.china-embassy.org/eng/ - Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Australia
ca.chineseembassy.org/eng/ - Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Canada
www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/ - Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the UK
www.china-embassy.org/eng/ - Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the US

service.shmetro.com/en/ - Shanghai Metro

www.timeoutshanghai.com - Restaurants, nightlife, arts and culture guide
www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/china/shanghai/ - Shanghai travel guide

ExpressVPN - VPN service for China

www.formula1.com - General Information and schedule from Formula1.com



Have you been to the Chinese Grand Prix? Share your experience in the 'Write a Review' section of this website or leave your comments below.

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