Fast, loud, and sometimes out of control, Formula One racing has taken China by storm in recent years, as the nation’s increasingly affluent consumers enthusiastically embrace car culture.
And as a high-tech, high-performance sport, F1 has undeniable appeal to a population eager to see reflections China as a modern and powerful nation on their flatscreen TVs.
In Shanghai, they also flock to see it on the track, especially during the annual Formula One China Grand Prix. Hastily constructed on former marshland in the northern reaches of Shanghai’s Jiading District to beat the deadline to host its first China Grand Prix in 2004.
Recently, portions of the track have been sinking; this, combined with a corruption scandal that erupted around one-time course manager Yu Zhifei, hasn’t dulled the interest in motorsports in Shanghai, it seems, and the news is that track inspections and repairs will have everything ready to go in time for the 2011 China Grand Prix in April
Designed by the renowed Hermann Tilke, the 5.5-kilmometer (3.4 miles) track from above is said by many to resemble the Chinese character for “above” or “rise” (shang or 上), though this was not intentional.
The circuit has also played host to the MotoGP World Championship, the V8 Supercar Championship, and the the A1 Grand Prix Series.