Shanghai ready for first class show

F1 cars inaugurate Shanghai's International Circuit At 11'o'clock today the first Formula 1 car left the pit lane and started its first ever lap on the Shanghai International Circuit watched by 32,000 enthusiastic spectators. "When I saw the...

F1 cars inaugurate Shanghai's International Circuit

At 11'o'clock today the first Formula 1 car left the pit lane and started its first ever lap on the Shanghai International Circuit watched by 32,000 enthusiastic spectators.

"When I saw the first F1 car go out, for the first ever Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix, I really felt that we had concluded the first phase of the development of the Shanghai International Circuit. We have planned and executed this fantastic and ambitious project, and have now moved into the most exciting part, that of holding F1 races here in Shanghai," said Mr Mao Xiaohan, General Manager of Shanghai International Circuit.

"Now, our challenge is to host a top race weekend. This we will surely do, in the knowledge that all the hard work we have done so far is bearing fruit now. Spectators, team and the media will experience, and take part in, a first class show, and for this I thank all that have spent so much time and effort in the past 18 months."

Bernie Ecclestone, the president of Formula One Management is delighted by the progress that has been made.

"I've been working 10 years behind the scenes to get the right place and Shanghai is certainly the right place in my view. It's not a case of the country coming along and saying 'Bernie, can we have a grand prix?' It's a case of me working away to find the right people to talk to, to make the approach to. Just like when we took Formula One behind the Iron Curtain for the first time to Hungary back in 1986."

The commercial reality of the sport, and its impact on the local business world is exemplified by the large number of corporate guests who have been invited to attend the race.

For example, BMW Williams have more than 700 guests, McLaren have around 500 guests every day and Ferrari have over 600 in total, while other teams have similar numbers.

This shows the level of business activity which a Grand Prix such as this one can generate and the role the teams play in providing a hospitality and business networking service to the sponsors.

They in return invest in the teams and indeed often work with the local communities so that F1 can interact fully with its fan base. An example of this is Hewlett Packard, one of the BMW WilliamsF1 team sponsors, who were invited to Tong Ji University's new campus a few minutes drive from the Circuit, where 250 enthusiastic and attentive engineering students listened as the team outlined the technological challenges of building and racing an F1 car.

Quick Facts:

*The longest straight is 1,175m long.
*The main grandstand opposite the pits has 24 hospitality suites between the upper and lower tiers.
*The main stand is 400m long and 80m high.
*The two bridges spanning the grandstand to the two towers host the 530-seater media centre and a hospitality and restaurant complex.
The circuit can accommodate more than 200,000 spectators.
*For this GP the Circuit has opened the doors for 160,000 guests only, to ensure smooth traffic.
*The 29,500 fans in the main grandstand will enjoy a view of 80% of the racetrack.
*The smaller Lotus grandstand will have space for 20,000 people.
*The stands will house 130,000 spectators.
*The grass embankments will have space for the rest of the fans.

-sic-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams