Formula 1 should be returning to the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix. But with Covid concerns remaining in the Asian country, the decision to cancel the event came last November to create an unprecedented four-week spring break after the Bahrain, Saudi Arabian and Australian Grands Prix. Not wanting to gloss completely over the three days where the 2023 breed of F1 machinery should be out on track, here are five of the most memorable moments in China. Schumacher and Albers’ pre-race crash Two cars colliding before a race begins is an extremely rare occurrence but that is exactly what happened to seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and Christijan Albers. Minardi driver Albers misjudged the Ferrari’s reduced speed during the reconnaissance laps to the grid in 2005, resulting in the crash that left both cars unable to take the start some 20 minutes later. Luckily, both Schumacher and Albers were able to take part in the race as teams were permitted to use spare cars at the time, though the switches required pit-lane starts. Schumacher would spin out of the race whilst Albers was classified as the last of the finishers, despite stopping six laps from the end. Here are images of Schumacher’s car after the installation lap impact: Schumacher’s final F1 win A year later, Schumacher enjoyed a more positive return to China to clinch his final F1 victory. The German started sixth with rain before the start of the race suiting the Michelin-tyred runners over the Bridgestone’s used by the Scuderia. The Renaults and Kimi Raikkonen’s McLaren charged clear but as the track steadily dried and the intermediate tyres began to bald, Schumacher started to reel his rivals in. The Finn would exit with a mechanical failure leaving Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella staving off Schumacher’s advances and Ferrari’s perfect timing on a switch to slicks left the Italian with no chance when his Renault returned from the pits. Schumacher would canter to his 91st F1 victory, a record that stood for 15 years. Article continues below. Hamilton pit lane agony Lewis Hamilton would eventually equal Schumacher on seven World Championships and surpass the 91-race win tally accrued by the German. But a year on from Schumacher’s last win, the Briton was handed a cruel blow in his quest for a rookie-season title. Hamilton was locked in battle with Ferrari driver Raikkonen both on track in Shanghai and in the title race, and in another wet-to-dry renewal in China, McLaren called its driver into the pits having dropped disastrously off the pace and losing the lead. But the call came too late and on tyres well past their use-by date, Hamilton slid into the gravel at pit lane entry and out of the race. A title showdown in Brazil saw Raikkonen beat Hamilton and McLaren teammate Alonso by a single point, with the pit lane calamity in China perhaps the key moment in the battle. Buemi’s wheels fall off Perhaps one of the most vivid images in modern F1, Sebastian Buemi must have had his heart in his mouth when his Toro Rosso shed its front wheels in practice for the 2010 event. The Swiss driver was entering the Turn 14 hairpin when the wheels flew off under breaking, sending Buemi careering into the barriers. Whilst the race was unaffected by the front-upright failure that caused the spectacular incident, the memory of Buemi’s scary off has found its place in F1 social media folklore. Firsts for F1’s powerhouses Before 2009, F1’s current dominant forces had never won a race. Red Bull only joined the grid in 2005 after the takeover of Jaguar and found a new lease of life when F1 underwent a radical regulation change four years later. Brawn GP’s fairytale stole the early headlines, but Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel were competitive from the off and the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s reward would come at the Chinese GP – made all the more special by Mark Webber completing a one-two finish in the sister car. Mercedes also clinched its first F1 win – albeit in its second reckoning having returned in 2010 – at the hands of Nico Rosberg. The German manufacturer looked good for a one-two before Schumacher retired with wheel issues following a pit stop and whilst no further victories came in 2012, Rosberg kicked off what would become the most dominant era in F1. What is your favourite Chinese Grand Prix moment? Let us know in the comments below!

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