Open main menu

The 2006 Chinese Grand Prix was the sixteenth race of the 2006 Formula One season. It was held on 1 October 2006 at Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai. The race was won by Michael Schumacher, driving a Ferrari, and would turn out to be the 91st and last victory of his long and distinguished Formula One career. It was also his last podium finish until the 2012 European Grand Prix, during his comeback to the sport.

2006 Chinese Grand Prix
Race 16 of 18 in the 2006 Formula One World Championship
The Shanghai International Circuit
The Shanghai International Circuit
Race details
Date 1 October 2006
Official name III Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix
Location Shanghai International Circuit
Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Course Permanent Racing Facility
Course length 5.451 km (3.387 mi)
Distance 56 laps, 305.066 km (189.559 mi)
Weather Cloudy, wet track that progressively dried up.
Rainy during the last few laps.
Pole position
Driver Renault
Time 1:44.360
Fastest lap
Driver Spain Fernando Alonso Renault
Time 1:37.586 on lap 49
First Ferrari
Second Renault
Third Renault



Renault were very confident about their chances in this Grand Prix, they claimed that Michael Schumacher's previous two races in Shanghai were "poor". Schumacher did admit that he had bad form in China, but said that he expected it "to be better this time around."[1]

Following back-to-back wins in Turkey and on home soil, Ferrari certainly had the momentum coming into the Grand Prix, the Italian team were also ahead of Renault by 3 points in the constructors championship and Michael Schumacher was 2 points behind Fernando Alonso in the Drivers' Championship.

Following Lewis Hamilton's GP2 victory in Monza and an encouraging test session with McLaren, the Woking-based team were rumoured to give the young British driver his debut in favour of Pedro de la Rosa, who had been performing well after replacing Juan Pablo Montoya. However, McLaren announced that de la Rosa would be racing in China.[2] McLaren's other driver, Kimi Räikkönen, was aiming to win the weekend's Grand Prix following signs of speed in his previous Grand Prix.[3]

Williams announced that they were using a revised FW28, the Williams-Cosworth FW28A. The car featured a new aerodynamic package developed by test drivers Alexander Wurz and Narain Karthikeyan. The test team also carried out the first track test of the Toyota-powered interim Williams FW28B. The car itself completed 745 kilometres and the team only experienced minor problems.[4]

Following some impressive Friday test performances at Turkey and Italy, BMW Sauber's 19-year-old test driver, Sebastian Vettel, had agreed to see out the rest of the year with the German team. The young German driver had a busy schedule, as he was also competing in the Formula 3 Euroseries.[5]

With the sacking of Christian Klien, Red Bull announced that Robert Doornbos would replace him for the final 3 Grands Prix. Replacing Doornbos' role as the third driver was GP2 driver Michael Ammermüller.[6]

Toro Rosso announced during the week leading up to the Grand Prix, that they had signed Alex Hitzinger as their new technical director to replace Gabriele Tredozi. Hitzinger began his role in November 2006.[7]

Spyker MF1 announced their first driver for 2007 during the weekend, which was Dutch driver Christijan Albers.[8]

Super Aguri's Takuma Sato had a dismal start to the weekend as he was demoted ten places on the grid as his team changed the Honda engine in his car. Sato had been due to continue using the Honda V8 he ran at the last round in Italy, but the discovery of a problem, which had not been disclosed by Super Aguri, had prompted the team to replace the engine ahead of the Friday first practice session.[9]

Friday practiceEdit

Alexander Wurz was fastest in the first Friday practice session in the Williams-Cosworth, 0.004 seconds faster than BMW Sauber's third driver, Sebastien Vettel and Jenson Button completed the top three, over six tenths slower than Wurz. Michael Schumacher, Neel Jani and Alexandre Prémat completed the top six; all within 0.07 seconds of each other. While Schumacher's championship rival, Fernando Alonso, did not set a time along with his team mate, Giancarlo Fisichella.[10]

Wurz and Vettel were fastest again in the second session, Wurz was fastest with a 1:35.539, around 0.03 seconds faster than he was in the first session and 0.05 seconds faster than Vettel with Honda's Anthony Davidson completing the top three positions. The Austrian was very happy with his time, specially since this was his first time in Shanghai, "It was a good day today and driving was a lot of fun out there. I have never driven this circuit, and I attacked it right from the beginning" he said.[11] Championship rivals, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, were within a tenth of a second of each other in fifth and sixth, respectively.[12] Felipe Massa dropped ten places from the grid after his engine gave way during the session.[13]

Friday driversEdit

The bottom 6 teams in the 2005 Constructors' Championship and Super Aguri were entitled to run a third car in free practice on Friday. These drivers drove on Friday but did not compete in qualifying or the race.

Constructor Nat Driver
Williams-Cosworth   Alexander Wurz
Honda   Anthony Davidson
Red Bull-Ferrari   Michael Ammermüller
BMW Sauber   Sebastian Vettel
Spyker MF1-Toyota   Alexandre Premat
Toro Rosso-Cosworth   Neel Jani
Super Aguri-Honda   Franck Montagny


It rained heavily before the start of the race, suiting the Michelin runners and disadvantaging the Bridgestone runners. Fernando Alonso led away at the start, followed by Giancarlo Fisichella. Kimi Räikkönen passed both Hondas at the start and immediately started to pressure Fisichella. Robert Kubica and Robert Doornbos collided, resulting in Kubica being knocked of the track and Doornbos losing his front wing. On lap 8, Michael Schumacher overtook Rubens Barichello for fifth. On lap 14, Schumacher passed Jenson Button for fourth. On the same lap Räikkönen finally managed to pass Fisichella, having been stuck behind him ever since the start. Räikkönen immediately began to pull away from Fisichella and erode the 15 second gap to Alonso. At this point in the race, Alonso was over 25 seconds ahead of Schumacher. However, the track was now drying and beginning to favour the Bridgestones more and more. By lap 19, Schumacher had caught up to Fisichella. He was also gaining on Alonso, who was beginning to struggle with his tyres and had several off-track moments. Schumacher gained another place when Räikkönen retired with a mechanical failure. Räikkönen later said that he felt he could have won the race, as he had been steadily gaining on Alonso before his retirement.

The new leading trio of Alonso, Fisichella and Schumacher made their first pit stops on laps 22, 23 and 21, respectively. Fisichella and Schumacher both kept all the same tyres, but Alonso, whose tyres were already fading, was unsure about whether they could last all the way to the second pit stops, so he changed the front tyres, but left the same rear tyres. However, this disadvantaged him even more, and within a few laps his 20-second lead had evaporated to nothing. For several laps, Alonso, Fisichella and Schumacher ran nose to tail. On lap 29, Fisichella tried to pass Alonso down the back straight, but braked too late and ran wide, allowing Alonso to regain the lead. The following lap, he pulled off the maneuver successfully and immediately began to pull away. Only a few corners later, at the start of lap 31, Schumacher passed Alonso and chased after Fisichella. He was able to stay with him but unable to seriously threaten to overtake.

Alonso dropped back all the time and on lap 35, having seen several drivers switch to dry tyres and be able to handle the drying conditions, pitted and made the switch. However a wheel nut problem at his stop caused it to last over 19 seconds. When he emerged from his stop he was down in 4th and over 50 seconds off the lead. Schumacher and Fisichella were among the last drivers to switch to dry tyres, pitting on laps 40 and 41 respectively. Fisichella emerged from his stop still ahead of Schumacher, but struggling with his cold tyres ran wide at the first corner, allowing Schumacher through into the lead.

Alonso had now rediscovered his pace and charged in the closing stages, setting fastest lap after fastest lap. Fisichella let him past without a fight, but although he continued to close rapidly on Schumacher, he ran out of time to catch him, finishing just 3 seconds behind. Fisichella had dropped back hugely in the closing laps but hung on to a comfortable third place.

Nick Heidfeld had started eighth on the grid but through his strategy of pitting late at both pitstops had rising to fourth in the closing stages, leapfrogging Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Pedro de la Rosa. However, in the closing stages Heidfeld was firstly forced off the track while trying to lap Christijan Albers, then held up by Takuma Sato's Super Aguri, allowing Barrichello, Button and de la Rosa to close up to him. Button first managed to find his way past Barrichello on the last lap, then, at the penultimate corner, boxed Heidfeld in behind Sato, taking fourth. Barrichello then braked too late at the same corner, running into the back of Heidfeld, knocking the BMW Sauber's right rear wheel askew and damaging his own front wing. This allowed de la Rosa through to take fifth, Barrichello sixth, and the furious Heidfeld limped home seventh.


The result put Michael Schumacher equal on points with Fernando Alonso, and in the championship lead on countback. However, Fisichella's third place allowed Renault to regain the lead of the constructor's championship by one point from Ferrari, as well as vaulting Fisichella ahead of Felipe Massa in the battle for third in the driver's championship, also by one point. After the race, Schumacher expressed his surprise at the performance of his car in the wet, after its dismal showing in qualifying. Alonso expressed his regret over the decision to change only the front tyres at his first stop, but also his encouragement at the pace his car had shown throughout the weekend. Both championship contenders were confident heading into the final two races of the season.



Pos. No. Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
1 1   Fernando Alonso Renault 1:44.128 1:43.951 1:44.360 1
2 2   Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 1:44.378 1:44.336 1:44.992 2
3 11   Rubens Barrichello Honda 1:47.072 1:45.228 1:45.503 3
4 12   Jenson Button Honda 1:45.809 1:44.662 1:45.503 4
5 3   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 1:44.909 1:45.622 1:45.754 5
6 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:47.366 1:45.660 1:45.775 6
7 4   Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1:44.808 1:45.095 1:45.877 7
8 16   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:46.249 1:45.055 1:46.053 8
9 17   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:46.049 1:45.576 1:46.632 9
10 15   Robert Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari 1:46.387 1:45.747 1:48.021 10
11 21   Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:46.222 1:45.851 11
12 14   David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 1:45.931 1:45.968 12
13 6   Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:47.231 1:45.970 201
14 20   Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:45.564 1:46.172 13
15 9   Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 1:48.560 1:46.413 14
16 10   Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 1:47.535 1:47.419 15
17 7   Ralf Schumacher Toyota 1:48.894 16
18 8   Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:49.098 17
19 18   Tiago Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota 1:49.903 18
20 22   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1:50.326 211
21 23   Sakon Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda 1:55.560 19
22 19   Christijan Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota Deleted 222
  • ^1 – Felipe Massa and Takuma Sato both received 10 place grid penalties due to engine changes, therefore Massa started 20th, while Sato started 21st.
  • ^2 – Christijan Albers was penalised by the stewards for failing to bring his car into the weighbridge when required so he started in 22nd place.


Pos. No. Driver Constructor Lap Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5   Michael Schumacher Ferrari 56 1:37:32.747 6 10
2 1   Fernando Alonso Renault 56 +3.121 1 8
3 2   Giancarlo Fisichella Renault 56 +44.197 2 6
4 12   Jenson Button Honda 56 +1:12.056 4 5
5 4   Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 56 +1:17.137 7 4
6 11   Rubens Barrichello Honda 56 +1:19.131 3 3
7 16   Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 56 +1:31.979 8 2
8 9   Mark Webber Williams-Cosworth 56 +1:43.588 14 1
9 14   David Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari 56 +1:43.796 12
10 20   Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth 55 +1 lap 13
11 10   Nico Rosberg Williams-Cosworth 55 +1 lap 15
12 15   Robert Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari 55 +1 lap 10
13 17   Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 55 +1 lap 9
14 21   Scott Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth 55 +1 lap 11
151 19   Christijan Albers Spyker MF1-Toyota 53 +3 laps 22
16 23   Sakon Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda 52 +4 laps 19
Ret 7   Ralf Schumacher Toyota 49 Oil pressure 16
Ret 6   Felipe Massa Ferrari 44 Collision 20
Ret 8   Jarno Trulli Toyota 38 Engine 17
Ret 18   Tiago Monteiro Spyker MF1-Toyota 37 Spin 18
Ret 3   Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 18 Throttle 5
DSQ 22   Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 55 Ignored blue flags 2 21

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • Bold text indicates competitors who still had a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.


  1. ^ "Schumi has China flaw – Renault" Archived 26 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 September
  2. ^ "No Chinese debut for Lewis Hamilton " Retrieved 25 September 2006[dead link]
  3. ^ "Raikkonen chasing his first win of the year". Retrieved 26 September 2006[dead link]
  4. ^ "Aiming to get back in the points with updated FW28" Retrieved 25 September 2006[dead link]
  5. ^ "Vettel to see out 2006 with BMW" Retrieved 25 September 2006[dead link]
  6. ^ "Red Bull drive for Ammermüller" Retrieved 26 September 2006[dead link]
  7. ^ "New technical director for Toro Rosso" Retrieved 26 September 2006[dead link]
  8. ^ "Albers secures 2007 Spyker deal" Retrieved 29 September 2006[dead link]
  9. ^ "Sato hit by Shanghai grid penalty" Retrieved 29 September 2006[dead link]
  10. ^ "Official Friday Practice 1 times" Retrieved 29 September 2006 Archived 4 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Friday practice – selected driver quotes" Retrieved 29 September 2006[dead link]
  12. ^ "Fri prac – results, sector times, speed trap" Retrieved 29 September 2006 Archived 2 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Massa to drop ten places on China grid" Retrieved 29 September 2006 Archived 21 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Domenjoz, Luc; et al. Formula One Yearbook 2006–2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 192. ISBN 2-84707-110-5.
  15. ^ Domenjoz, Luc; et al. Formula One Yearbook 2006–2007. Chronosports S.A. p. 197. ISBN 2-84707-110-5.
  16. ^ a b "Sato disqualified, Albers punished". 1 October 2006. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  17. ^ a b "China 2006 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 14 March 2019.

External linksEdit