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January 25, 2011

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Subsidence problem at F1 circuit

REPAIRS are to be carried out at the Shanghai International Circuit after subsidence was found at three of its turns, local Formula One organizers said yesterday.

Renovation plans at the home circuit of the annual China Grand Prix had been approved by the FIA, Formula One's governing body and work should start after the Spring Festival holiday, Yang Yibin, manager of Juss Event, organizers of the China Grand Prix, said.

This year's event is due to take place from April 15 to 17 at the circuit in Jiading District but was later marked "subject to the homologation of the circuit" after the subsidence problem was noticed, according to the FIA's official website.

Work is expected to be finished by the end of March and the circuit will be examined by officials of the FIA before the race, Yang said.

"There should be no problem," Yang said.

"We've communicated well with the FIA, our plan has been approved and the grand prix will be on time."

Subsidence was found to be serious at turns No. 1, 8 and 14 last year, which caused obvious jolting when cars were passing through the corners during the race.

"Subsidence is normal because of the soft soil in Shanghai, which the circuit was built above," Yang said.

"Plus the circuit has hosted seven F1 grand prix and other racing events of high intensity."

The Shanghai circuit was designed with obvious height differences through the corners, which added to the challenge for drivers and made the races more exciting, Sun Liang, manager the circuit's engineering section, told the Oriental Morning Post.

"To create the height difference, we built some sections of the circuit on complex materials on the ground," Sun said. "Because some parts of the circuit are on the ground while some parts are not, as time goes by it's normal for some subsidence."

Sun said the problem was not a difficult one to fix. "What we do is repave the asphalt on the three corners and we don't have to repave the whole circuit at all," Sun said.


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