Fiesta time as F1 spectacle sets the pulses racing

Updated 2018-04-13 14:41:05

The 2018 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix is at the Shanghai SAIC International Circuit in Jiading District this weekend.

The Chinese leg of the world's premier motor racing series aims to continue treating local fans to memorable experiences both on and off the track.

Ferrari and Mercedes continue to dominate at the start of the 2018 season.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel collected the maximum 50 points after winning the opening two races. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a podium finish in Australia, but had to retire in Bahrain after a botched tire change during which a team mechanic's leg was broken.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton managed a 2-3 finish in the first two grand prix. His teammate Valtteri Bottas finished eighth in the opening race, and joined Hamilton on the podium in Bahrain by passing the chequered flag just 0.6 seconds off Vettel.

Red Bull, McLaren and Renault filled up the other six spaces in the points zone at the Australian Grand Prix. But in Bahrain, Toro Rosso and Haas managed to steal some attention after Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen finished fourth and fifth respectively.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso, the only current F1 driver not to have missed a single race at the Shanghai SAIC International Circuit in the past 15 years, is fourth in the drivers' standing on 16 points.

The Spaniard recorded a video greeting for Chinese fans, saying he was proud to become the only F1 driver to have competed in all races in China since 2004.

"My best memory from the Chinese Grand Prix was definitely in 2005 when I won the race and also helped my team Renault to get the constructor's world championship.

"My expectation this year is definitely to run a good race there. We had some difficulties in the last couple of seasons. But this year our aim is to be on the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix and celebrate with our fans there. Chinese fans gave us a lot of support and I think they deserve that we do something special in the race."

The former world champion finished fifth in Australia and remained in the point zone with a seventh place in Bahrain.

This year is the first year of a three-year contract extension between F1 and local organizer Juss Event. F1 has also reached an agreement with China Central Television to broadcast the whole year's races.

To enrich motor racing fans' experiences over the weekend, more interactive activities will be arranged including an upgraded Fan Zone.

In the Fan Zone, spectators can try out driving simulator games, and experience tire changing and driver stamina challenges. Winners of the interactive games will get tickets for next year's Chinese Grand Prix.

To showcase Jiading District's auto culture, 12 car-themed booths, including a model car innovation market, will be set up outside the circuit.

"An F1 ticket should not be like a movie ticket with which spectators watch a show and leave immediately afterwards," said Jiang Lan, president of Juss Event. "It should be able to attract spectators here for two or three days to experience the motor racing culture, and that's where a sport event's vitality lies."

The 2017 Chinese GP attracted nearly 170,000 people to the Shanghai International Circuit.

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