Rubens Barrichello finished in first place, at the very first Chinese Grand Prix, on 26 September 2004. As a new circuit in the world of Formula One racing, the Shanghai International Circuit is the most expensive circuit facility of its kind to date, costing US$ 240 million to construct. The Chinese Grand Prix consists of 56 laps, and has a total race length of 305.07 kilometers. The seventeen million inhabitants of Shanghai, and designer Herman Tilke, can rightfully be proud of this wonderful circuit.
Designer, Herman Tilke, took into consideration the Chinese history and beliefs while designing the circuit. He created the circuit in the form of the “shang” symbol. It means above or rising. The Shanghai International Circuit was constructed in Anting, which is in the same neighborhood as the Volkswagen plant. It has a truly amazing environment and is the most modern circuit at the present time. Tilke is a genius when it comes to designing a race track, taking the environment into consideration, and working with it. His race tracks are therefore all different, while retaining the same elements and specifics to ensure a safe but exciting circuit. The area that was used for the construction of the Shanghai International Circuit, has very marshy ground. To compensate for this, polysterene blocks were used to cover the thousands of concrete columns that were placed into the ground. The circuit was then constructed on top of the polysterene blocks. Due to polysterene being quite a young material to use, and there are no other experiences to work from, the estimated life of the circuit has been put down to a minimum of seventy years.
The Shanghai International Circuit is also the proud host of the Formula One Grand Prix with the longest straight on the current Formula One calendar – an impressive 1.2 kilometers in length. The Chinese Grand Prix is also the noisiest Grand Prix circuit, with the roofs of the grandstands carrying the noise levels.
Despite having signed a contract with Formula One Management to host the Chinese Grand Prix until the 2011 season, it was announced in 2009 that the future of the sport in China hangs in the balance due to the heavy losses incurred by the organizers. Fans in China were no doubt relieved when the 2010 Grand Prix schedule included their home country.