Shanghai is one of the new Herman Tilke-designed circuits, and aside from the architectural expanse of the grandstands, the track itself is quite challenging for the cars.
The main challenge comes with Turn 1, where the cars brake and turn flat out for six seconds in an ever tightening corner. This places a huge load on the outer front tyre, and even the power steering gets worked the hardest of all year in this turn.
Further around the circuit, another punishing left hand turn deals out even more abuse to the front tyre. As the circuit has two long straights, downforce is a tricky balance, but as both straights have long turns preceding them, running more downforce will allow a greater speed on to the straight, which partly makes up for the lack of outright speed that is caused by the bigger wings.
This year, with the lower powered V8 engines, the teams needed to run less drag than last year, so they reintroduced all the aerodynamic add-ons that were lost for Monza to improve rear-end efficiency.