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The secrets to a fast lap at Shanghai International Circuit

Whether you want to learn more about the Shanghai International Circuit ahead of the first Chinese Grand Prix in five years or nail the perfect lap on the F1 23 game, Aston Martin Aramco Esports Team driver John Evans reveals what it takes to be fast in Shanghai.

Shanghai track guide esports portrait

F1 returns to China for the first time since 2019 and a lot has changed over the past five years – most notably the cars with the move to ground effect aerodynamics. With Shanghai International Circuit featuring in the F1 video game, our esports drivers have racked up plenty of laps around the track in the new generation of F1 cars and they are uniquely placed to provide insight into what it takes to be quick around this imposing circuit.

We caught up with Aston Martin Aramco Esports Team driver John Evans to discover the secrets to a fast lap at Shanghai International Circuit.

What sets Shanghai International Circuit apart?

"The snail-shaped sections at the start of Sector One and the start of Sector Three leading onto the back straight; they are long, challenging corners. You don't see that at any other track. It's really tricky to nail the braking and the throttle to get the best possible run down the straights that follow."

Esports Shanghai guide 1

What are your top tips for a quick lap around the track?

"It's all about traction at Shanghai International Circuit. It always has been throughout the years; it's how early you can get on the power. You gain all your time in the corners.

"At the 'snail' section it's important to get on the power as early as possible. At the start of Sector Two, you have the slow right hander and how early you can get on the power there is also crucial. Then you have the high-speed middle sector, which is not just about traction, that's about having the right line, which allows you to get on the power earlier."


Your guide to Shanghai on the F1 23 game.

Fellow Aston Martin Aramco Esports Team driver Fabrizio Donoso takes you around a lap of the Shanghai International Circuit.

Shanghai Esports guide video thumbnail

Are there any particular corners or track characteristics that remind you of another circuit on the calendar?

"Traction-wise it is similar to Bahrain – that's another track where you need to be precise on acceleration. Shanghai is very unique, though. The fact that there's not really anything else like it on the calendar is what makes it so good. I can't think of anywhere else where there is a such a long straight that feeds directly into a hairpin, for example."

Esports Shanghai guide 2

From a setup perspective, what does the circuit demand from the car to deliver a quick lap? Is the focus on high downforce or low downforce?

"To deliver a quick lap at Shanghai International Circuit you need to run a significant amount of downforce. You need the car to turn through the 'snail' section, otherwise it's just going to understeer wide, and the same applies through the fast, flowing Sector Two.

"You need to strike a balance between downforce and drag, though. You want to be quick down the 1.1 kilometre back straight. Too much drag and you're going to be a sitting duck in the race and you're going to lose time in Qualifying."

Where is the best place to overtake at Shanghai International Circuit?

"The Turn 14 hairpin is a good place to attack. You can pick up a good slipstream down the long straight and look to dive past into the corner – it just depends on how brave you are on the brakes!"

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