Trackside – 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Filed in Chinese F1 Travel Guide by on 3 Comments

How to get the most out of your trackside experience at Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix. The next race is on April 13-15, 2018.

Shanghai’s circuit is an impressive facility, capable of accommodating around 200 000 fans. The race has not been a sell out since it was first held in 2004, but crowd sizes have been increasing in recent years. Aside from around 6 hours of F1 action over 3 days, the support schedule at the Chinese Grand Prix is disappointing. The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series offers the only other on-track action over the weekend.

Don’t forget to download the new “F1 Grand Prix” app (available for IOS and Android) for an interactive circuit map, full weekend schedule, local info and trackside entertainment.

Need to know: Shanghai International Circuit

  • Going to the track on Friday? Make the most of open access to all the grandstands (the so-called ‘Free Friday’) and check out views from different parts of the circuit.
  • Rain is common in China on Grand Prix weekend! Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and be prepared when you head to the track. Even if you are in a covered grandstand, this doesn’t mean you won’t get wet!
  • There are no restrictions on bringing in folding chairs (useful for general admission) or food and drinks in plastic bottles, but alcohol is prohibited.
  • The organizers don’t allow fans on to the track after the race. If you don’t want to miss the podium celebrations after the race, you will need to have a seat in the Main grandstand.
  • The metro can get very congested, particularly when leaving the circuit on Sunday after the race. Be patient or stay a little longer to avoid the peak crowds.


Thursday, April 12

  • 15:45-16:30: Driver’s autograph session for 3-day ticket holders on the pit straight

Friday April 13

  • 10:00-11:30: Formula 1 free practice 1
  • 14:00-15:30: Formula 1 free practice 2
  • 16:00-16:45: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (practice)

Saturday April 14

  • 09:50-10:20: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (qualifying)
  • 12:00-13:00: Formula 1 free practice 3
  • 15:00-16:00: Formula 1 qualifying
  • 16:30-17:05: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (race 1: 12 laps / 30 mins)

Sunday April 15

  • 11:00-11:35: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (race 2: 12 laps / 30 mins)
  • 12:40-13:10: F1 driver’s track parade
  • 14:10-16:10: 2018 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix

Access & Orientation

For more information on getting to the track, read the Getting There & Around section of this guide. If you have taken the metro to the circuit as we recommend, getting inside the circuit after you have alighted at the Shanghai Circuit metro stop is easy and the way is well signposted. The closest entrance is through Gate 1, behind the main grandstand. Gate 11 (behind grandstand K) is also just a few minutes walk from the metro station.


The trackside facilities are generally good. Food and drink is not expense by F1 standards, but still feels overpriced in such a cheap F1 destination (especially alcohol.) Fans have complained about both the lack of choice and the fact that there are just not enough places to buy food and drink. This lack of choice also applies to merchandise; there is a limited offer in China.


  • A major complaint from English-speaking fans is that fact that people stand in the walkways and block their grandstand seat views. Unfortunately, there is a lack of security/stewards to control this (or they have been paid off), which is not made any easier by the language gap. You may have luck in getting them to move on by asking politely.
  • If you haven’t already bought your ticket online ahead of time, it is possible to purchase tickets at the circuit. Just be sure to steer well clear of the ticket touts near the circuit entrance as you could end up with a counterfeit ticket.

Been to Shanghai International Circuit? Comment below to help your fellow F1 fans!

January 22, 2019

Budget Planner – 2019 Chinese Grand Prix

Work out the cost of your trip to the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix with our budget planner.

January 7, 2019

Tickets – 2019 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai

Your guide to buying tickets for the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit.

December 12, 2018

Off-Track Activities – Chinese Grand Prix

There’s plenty to keep you occupied away from the track in Shanghai at the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix. The next race is on April 11-14, 2019.

December 4, 2018

Getting There & Around – Chinese Grand Prix

How to get to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix plus advice on getting to the circuit and getting around in China’s biggest city.

November 27, 2018

Travel Basics – Chinese Grand Prix

Start planning your trip to the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix in Shanghai. The next race takes place on April 11-14, 2019.

November 13, 2018

Race Facts – Chinese Grand Prix

Facts, background and history of the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix, which has been held at the Shanghai International Circuit since 2004. The next race, which will be the 1,000th F1 race, is on April 11-14, 2019

September 8, 2018

Accommodation – 2019 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai

Where to stay in Shanghai for the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix. The best-rated accommodation with good access to the Shanghai International Circuit.

March 26, 2018

Trackside – 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Your guide to getting the most out of your trackside experience at Shanghai International Circuit for Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Tags: , , , ,

About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Andi says:

    The driver Meeting on Thursday is NOT for three days ticket holders…only 200 dedicated winners got the oppurtunity to get in with this Special ticket. Very strict controls :/

    No acces to f1 village or eben Main grandstand to watch into the pits…

  2. Andi says:

    The pitwalk was also not for Public….China sucks!!

  3. Katya Stone says:

    Thank you for all the great information and helpful tips, Andrew! This will be my first GP in Shanghai and I am very excited! I do not know why Andy, who left the comments a year ago is so upset. I paid a lot of money for a 3-day Grand stand ticket and other extras, like pit lane walk, drive around the track, etc. I would not be happy if all this was available for free on Friday to any ticket holder. F1 is expensive, this is why this is my only second live race, because I want to get a prime experience, so I pay more for a better ticket.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *