Trackside at Shanghai International Circuit – 2021 Chinese Grand Prix

How to get the most out of your trackside experience at Shanghai International Circuit for the 2021 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix on April 9-11.


This post will be updated around 1 month before the 2021 Chinese Grand Prix when the full on-track schedule is available.

Shanghai’s circuit is an impressive facility, capable of accommodating around 200 000 fans. The 2019 Chinese Grand Prix made history as the 1000th Formula 1 race since the advent of the modern World Championship in 1950 and was a sell out for the first time since the inaugural race in 2004.

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.

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.

Expected Schedule for the 2021 Chinese Grand Prix

Please note that an autograph session with the drivers is normally held on the Main Straight, next to the pit wall, from 16:00-17:00 on Thursday.


  • 08:45-09:10: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – practice session
  • 10:00-11:30: Formula 1 free practice 1
  • 12:20-12:50: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 12:55-13:25: Lotus Demonstration Lap
  • 14:00-15:30: Formula 1 free practice 2
  • 16:00-16:45: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – practice session
  • 17:10-17:35: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – qualifying session


  • 08:30-09:15: Team Pit Stop Practice
  • 09:50-10:20: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – qualifying session
  • 11:00-12:00: Formula 1 free practice 3
  • 12:50-13:10: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 14:00-15:00: Formula 1 qualifying
  • 15:30-16:00: Lotus Demonstration Lap (High Speed)
  • 16:20-16:50: FIA F4 Chineses Championship – first race
  • 18:00-20:00: Starting Grid Presentation Rehearsal


  • 09:40-10:10: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – second race
  • 10:20-10:30: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps (single car)
  • 10:40-11:15: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – race
  • 11:20-11:45: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 12:00-12:20: Renault demo lap
  • 12:30-13:00: Formula 1 drivers’ track parade
  • 13:00-13:10: Starting Grid Presentation incl. Ferrari Demo Lap (High Speed)
  • 14:10-16:10: 2021 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix

Shanghai International Circuit Facilities

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.

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

9 thoughts on “Trackside at Shanghai International Circuit – 2021 Chinese Grand Prix”

  1. Hi
    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. 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.

  3. Christian Furze

    Hi Andy, do you know if cameras are allowed in the circuit and also if there is any pit walks over the weekend?

    1. You should be fine with your camera, but the lens shouldn’t be larger than 400mm – just in case. There is an Autograph session on Thursday afternoon from 16:00-17:00 – this normally takes place on the Main Straight, rather than the Pit Lane.

      1. I saw on several (Chinese) ticket vendor sites that a separate ticket is needed for the thursday autograph session. And not accessible with a regular 3-day Grandstand ticket. Is that correct? The ticket (just for the thursday autograph session was in access of $440……)

        1. Let me try and find out more about the autograph session. It’s generally held on the track in front of the pits on Thursday afternoon, but I don’t know how to get access. Definitely don’t buy that ticket for $440!

  4. Andrew McNamara

    Any idea what bag search policies are? We are taking a baby and need food and stuff for him.

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