Trackside at Shanghai Circuit – 2025 Chinese Grand Prix

How to get the most out of your trackside experience at Shanghai International Circuit for the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix 2025

  • The 2025 Chinese Grand Prix takes place on March 21-23
  • Sign up to our mailing list (check the box for China) and we’ll notify you when tickets go on sale
  • Place your deposit on an F1 Experiences ticket package
  • Join our closed Facebook group for fans attending the Chinese Grand Prix
  • This post contains affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.

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. Learn more about the trackside experience in China: 2019 Chinese Grand Prix Trip Report

China finally returns to the F1 calendar in 2024 after a five year absence. Only a limited number of tickets have been released so far, which sold out very quickly. China will stage the first of Formula 1’s six sprint races in 2024. The full weekend schedule for sprint races has not yet been confirmed for 2024, though the session times for qualifying, the sprint and the race proper in China have been announced and are listed below.

Shanghai Circuit: 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

  • Free Friday? If you are attending for the first practice session and sprint shootout on Friday, China has operated a “Free Friday” policy in the past, where you can watch the action from any of the grandstands (you’ll still need a ticket to enter the track). It’s not yet known if “Free Friday” will return in 2024.
  • Check the weather forecast: Rain is common in Shanghai on race weekend. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and be prepared before heading to the track, even if you have seats in one of the covered grandstands
  • Entry Restrictions (Prohibited Items): In the past, there has been no restrictions on bringing in folding chairs (useful for general admission). Food and drinks in plastic bottles were also allowed , but alcohol was prohibited. Entry restrictions are TBC for 2024.
  • Track Invasion: In the past, the organizers haven’t allowed fans on to the track after the race in China. If you don’t want to miss the podium celebrations after the race, you will need to have a seat in the Main grandstand.
  • Taking the Metro: 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.

2024 Chinese Grand Prix Schedule

  • On-Track Schedule: The full timetable for on-track action at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix has been confirmed by Formula 1 and can be found below.
  • Sprint Race: Shanghai Circuit will host the first of six F1 Sprint events in 2024. F1 Session times are now confirmed and listed below. 
  • Support Categories: Two support categories have been confirmed for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix. FIA F4 Chinese Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be racing, both of which have appeared on the race weekend support package in the past.
  • Concerts: A number of trackside concerts will take place at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix. As part of the ‘Checkered Flag Music Carnival’, a number of local artists will perform. The biggest name on the line-up in Martin Garrix, who headlines after qualifying on Saturday.
  • Pit Lane Walk: Recent editions of the Chinese Grand Prix have not featured a pit lane walk on Thursday for regular ticket holders, though an autograph session with the drivers was previously been held on the Main Straight, next to the pit wall, from 16:00-17:00 on Thursday. TBC for 2024. F1 Experiences will not be doing an Exclusive PIt Lane Walk on Thursday at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix. Guests in the F1 Paddock Club can take part in daily pit lane walks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, April 19

  • 09:25-09:50: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – First Practice Session
  • 10:00-11:00: Paddock Club – Track Tour & Pit Lane Walk
  • 11:30-12:30: Formula 1 – Free Practice 1
  • 13:00-13:45: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Practice Session
  • 13:55-14:35: Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 14:00-15:05: Paddock Club – Track Tour & Pit Lane Walk
  • 15:30-16:14: Formula 1 – Sprint Qualifying
  • 17:00-17:25: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – Second Practice Session
  • 17:45-19:45: F1 Experiences – Track Tour, Trophy Photo & Pit Lane Walk

Saturday, April 20

  • 09:30-09:55: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – Qualifying Session
  • 11:00-11:30: Formula 1 – Sprint Race (19 laps or 60 minutes)
  • 11:40-12:40: Paddock Club – Track Tour & Pit Lane Walk
  • 12:10-12:35: Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 12:50-13:20: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Qualifying Session
  • 13:55-14:30: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – First Race (30 minutes + 1 lap)
  • 15:00-16:00: Formula 1 – Qualifying
  • 16:55-17:30: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – First Race (12 laps or 30 minutes)
  • 17:40-18:40: Paddock Club – Track Tour & Pit Lane Walk

Sunday, April 21

  • 10:15-10:50: FIA F4 Chinese Championship – Second Race (30 minutes + 1 lap)
  • 11:30-12:05: Porsche Carrera Cup Asia – Second Race (12 laps or 30 minutes)
  • 12:20-12:50: Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 12:55-13:55: Paddock Club – Track Tour & Pit Lane Walk
  • 13:00-13:30: Formula 1 – Drivers’ Parade
  • 13:35-13:50: Opening Show
  • 14:46-14:48: National Anthem
  • 15:00-17:00: Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix 2024 (56 laps or 2 hours)

Shanghai Circuit Facilities

The trackside facilities are generally good. Food and drink is not expensive 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 Circuit – 2025 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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