Whilst preparing a list of five pre-season predictions earlier in the week this Badger writer was mulling over whether to include ‘2011 will see the final Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit.’ It turns out that this would have been a wholly inaccurate prediction, as the circuit today announced that it will host a grand prix until at least 2017. There’s egg on my face, but aren’t you at least impressed that I had the guts to own up to my lack of fortune telling abilities?
I’d based the idea that we wouldn’t see another Chinese GP (at this venue anyway) on the fact that it’s not a very popular race with the local fans. Attendances tend to be pretty poor, with grandstands more likely to be filled with giant banners reading ‘China’ than actual F1 watchers.
The race itself? It’s not been all bad. Who can forget Lewis Hamilton’s championship-wrecking slide in to the gravel as he entered the pits there in 2007, Sebastian Vettel earning Red Bull’s maiden win at the circuit in 2009 or Jenson Button’s measured victory in 2010 (along with Lewis’ late assault on his team-mate).
But there with money issues for the owners and a billion other tracks clamouring to add their name to the F1 calendar it did look at risk. And, let’s be honest, it’s never been one to remember – how many races held at modern circuits are – and wouldn’t have prompted any tears here at Badger HQ. In fact one of the most exciting things we can remember happening at the circuit was Sebastien Buemi’s front wheels exploding off in last year’s practice session. We’ll take any excuse to show that – check it out below.
So how do you feel about the Chinese GP? Think we’ve got it all wrong, that this is a classic? Then why not let us know in the comments section and be sure to add any memories of the race that we’ve missed. Or do you agree that it’s a damp squib? Well in that case tell us why – what’s wrong with the circuit and the race? Whatever you do, be sure to get involved in some Badger banter!