Although we didn't see the first running of the Chinese Grand Prix until 2004, the government have been trying to host a race since the early 90s. They had originally planned for the race to take place at a facility in the city of Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province in the south of the country. Although the circuit was built and achieved a place on the calendar for 1999, the circuit was later found not to meet FIA standards and the race was axed.

In 2002 the management of the Shanghai International Circuit announced that it had signed a seven-year deal with Formula One Management to host the Chinese Grand Prix from 2004 to 2011.

The inaugural race in 2004 was won by Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, who went on to finish second in the drivers' championship behind team-mate Michael Schumacher. The following year the circuit hosted the final round of the season and the race was won by recently-crowned champion Fernando Alonso, his first victory in seven races. 2006 saw Michael Schumacher's final victory before retiring from the sport at the end of the year.

To date no one has won the Chinese Grand Prix more than once.