F1 2020: Chinese Grand Prix Track Guide – My Team, career, time trial

Shanghai is a track which most fans are very familiar with. Here’s how to squeeze out the final tenth in China.

by Jacob Hancox
f1 2020 china track guide

The Shanghai International Circuit was first added to the F1 track roster in 2004, and since then it’s been a consistent feature of the sport.

The enormous back straight promotes overtaking, with a good variety of slow and fast corners to keep drivers on their toes.

Here’s the best way to navigate around the 16-corner circuit that plays host to the Chinese Grand Prix.

Turns 1-3

The opening section of the lap is probably the most iconic aspect of the Shanghai International Circuit.

F1 2020 China turn 1 Y
SNAIL SECTION: The first few turns of the lap can be tough to get exactly right

To start with, brake just after the 50m board, and turn in here as well. You then gradually ease off the brakes as you go around the corner, aiming to make the inside of the corner just where the tarmac service road to the right is.

At this point, you should be down in 3rd gear travelling at just under 60mph. Once you have reached this late apex, give the car a little bit of throttle to give you a bit of oomph towards what feels like turn 2 but is actually called turn 3.

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After a small dab on the brakes, try to take as tight a line as you can through the first part of turn 3. The darker line on the track should guide you nicely through here if you follow it.

You will want to go all the way down to 2nd gear for this turn, reaching speeds of down to 53mph. On the exit, wind on the throttle slowly. Be very careful to listen to your force feedback here as the car can sometimes spin out on exit.

Turn 6

After the short straight which includes turns 4 and 5 you will reach the turn 6 hairpin. Here, brake exactly at the 100m board on the left.

F1 2020 China turn 6 Y
HAIRPIN: Turn 6 is one of two incredibly tight corners in Shanghai

You should clip the inside kerb with your front-right tyre. The minimum speed for this corner is about 48mph, taken in 2nd gear.

The exit here is another traction zone which can be slightly tricky, so make sure you’re smooth on the power application.

Turns 7 & 8

Turn 7 is a corner which is simple once you know how to do it, but can be very difficult if done even slightly wrong.

F1 2020 China turn 7 Y
BRAVELY DOES IT: Turn 7 can be taken flat out – if you dare

To start with, make sure your car is all the way to the right-hand side of the track before turning in, as this will give you a better angle for the turn itself.

Then you will need to spot your turn in point. It’s hard to pinpoint it exactly here due to a lack of obvious landmarks. Just before the point at which the thin grey line flanked by two white lines on your right meet the track is the best I can offer.

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If you get this part right, then the corner will be taken fully flat out. Try to take a fairly tight line so that your car is towards the left side of the track before turn 8.

For 8, you will want to brake and turn in a little bit before the kerb on the left of the track ends. You should brake down to around 114 mph in 5th gear here. Make sure you keep the car as tight to the inside kerb as possible, in preparation for turn 9.

Turns 9 & 10

Turn 9 hits you as soon as you’re out of 8. Brake just as you pass the second standalone DHL board on the right of the track.

F1 2020 China turn 10 Y
UNSETTLING: These kerbs can compromise your stability if you aren’t careful

When you turn in, aim to clip the inside kerb just a tiny bit. Your minimum speed here is 70mph in 3rd gear. On the exit of 9, run as close as you can to the outside kerb without going all the way over it.

Be very gentle with the throttle as you proceed out of turn 9 and through turn 10. You should be gradually increasing your throttle application throughout turn 10.

On the exit, try to use the runoff slightly by running the outside kerbing beneath the middle of the car so that none of your wheels are on it.

Turns 11 – 13

For turn 11, brake hard about 90m before the corner. Again, the best line to take involves clipping the apex every so slightly, without running over the inside kerbs which will unsettle the car.

F1 2020 China turn 13 Y
UP AND AWAY: Slowly increase you power output until you’re flying onto the back straight

At the apex you should find yourself at roughly 57mph in 2nd gear. Don’t let the car run wide on the exit or else you will compromise yourself majorly for turn 12.

Turning into 12, aim to run your front-right wheel along the inside kerb without any of it going all the way over.

READ MORE: F1 2020 Bahrain track guide

Once again, gradual throttle build-up is key here. If you have to lift off the throttle once you have already started applying it through turn 13, you will lose time all the way down the massive straight to follow.

Let your car run to the very edge of the track as you put down the power, making sure that you don’t go all the way on to the outside kerb. The sooner you can get to full throttle through here, the better.

Turns 14 & 15

Turns 14 and 15 are actually just one corner – the hairpin at the end of the straight.

F1 2020 China turn 14 Y
SLOW IT DOWN: The entry to turn 14 is the hardest braking zone of the lap

This is a very important braking zone to get just right, as it is very easy to lock up here. Try to start braking just before the 100m board on the left. Go down to almost 40mph in 2nd gear for your minimum speed.

You can run over some of the inside kerb here without too much trouble. Keep your steering tight until you can straighten the car on the exit. The track opens slightly on exit, so you can straighten a little sooner than you may think.

Turn 16

Turn 16 is the very final corner of the lap, and it’s a very easy place to pick up track extension warnings.

F1 2020 China turn 16 Y
WARNING: It can be very easy to pick up time penalties at turn 16

Brake just before the 50m board. Aim to cut the inside of the corner with about half of your car, but avoid cutting too much or the car may spin out on exit.

At the apex, you should be going around 120mph in 5th gear. As soon as your car has hit the ground after bumping over the inside kerb, straighten the car and floor the throttle.

READ MORE: F1 2020 Chinese Grand Prix wet setup guide

But be careful, if you try to put the power down with your right-hand wheels on the exit kerb, you will likely spin out. Either keep the car completely on track, or try to run the exit kerb beneath the middle of the car. 


Of course, you’ll need the right setup to help you get the most out of Shanghai. We’ve got just the thing! Use our Chinese Grand Prix Setup Guide.

Jacob Hancox