Singapore Grand PrixView: Night fever

By on Thursday, September 18, 2014

SingaporeThe Formula One paddock moves from Europe to Asia, where the final chapter of the 2014 season will start this weekend in Singapore. With only six rounds to go and 175 world championship points available, the title battle is mathematically still open for the first eight drivers in the standings. Of course, in reality it’s just a fight between the Mercedes drivers, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo keeping a close watch behind.

The Marina Bay Street Circuit is a big contrast to Monza because of its many low-speed corners, but the demands on the car will still be very high in terms of braking. The track characteristics are similar to Monaco, except the fact that Marina Bay is almost twice as long, but as unforgiving and challenging. Physically, the Singapore Grand Prix is considered the toughest race of the season for the drivers. There's no room for mistakes as the walls are very close by, the track surface is quite bumpy and it runs for nearly two hours, in very hot and humid conditions.

When it joined the calendar in 2008, Singapore was the first street circuit in Asia and also the first night race in Formula 1 history. The race was won by Fernando Alonso for Renault, a controversial victory which is now remembered as a result of Nelson Piquet Jr’s deliberately engineered crash on lap 14.

The track

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Marina Bay Street Circuit is over five kilometers long and features only two short straights, but has more corners than any other circuit on the 2014 calendar. Because of that, drivers don’t get too many opportunities around a lap to relax.

"The circuit has relatively short straights and 23 corners, which makes it the track with the most corners on the calendar,” says Sauber’s Adrian Sutil. “Sheer engine power is not crucial here; rather a high mechanical grip is important because of the many tight corners. Good stability of the car as well as high downforce will be essential, as the circuit has several kerbs and is quite bumpy in some places.”

Marina Bay is a high-downforce track which offers the typical challenges of a street circuit in terms of mechanical grip, stability and cooling. Good traction is fundamental here as corner exit will be critical to ensure a good lap time.

“The race track is a bumpy ride and you are being jogged around a lot in the driver’s seat,” explains Sebastian Vettel, who has won the last three races in Singapore. “The circuit is fun but at the same time very challenging. You have to get close to your limits and risk a lot, in order to get the greatest efficiency out of your car. The toughest challenges in Singapore are the heat and the amount of turns. The chicanes are very difficult to drive and you barely get to catch your breath. Very important for a fast lap is the last turn before heading to the start finish line. There is an extremely high curb, which you should not hit otherwise the car lifts up."

The race

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Mercedes drivers will go into this race with a smaller point gap than the previous round, as a result of Lewis Hamilton’s victory at Monza. His team-mate, Nico Rosberg leads the Championship by 22 points. Mercedes has a bigger advantage in the Constructors’ Standings, leading Red Bull by 182 points.

But the Mercedes duo won’t be the only one with high motivation about this race. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has scored most wins - three - in Singapore and has led nearly half of the laps that have taken place on Marina Bay. His team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo goes into this weekend with 11 consecutive points finishes.

Fernando Alonso missed the podium just once in six editions of the Singapore GP and gets an extra motivation boost from the fact that his team runs now an important sequence of 80 consecutive races in points (the longest run in F1 history).

Pirelli has selected the yellow-banded Soft tyre as the Prime, with the red-banded Super Soft as the Option, which is a change compared to last year when they nominated the Medium and Super Soft compound.

There will be two DRS zones in Singapore, with the first detection point right before turn five and the detection point after the same corner. The second detection point will be before turn 22, with the activation point after the last turn.

1980 Formula 1 World Champion Alan Jones will be the driver steward this weekend.

Facts

SingaporeThe Singapore Grand Prix holds the reputation of being one of the longest races on the calendar due to the low average speed of the circuit. The shortest race so far was in 2009, won by Lewis Hamilton in 1h 56m 06.3s, while the longest one came in 2012 when it was ended two laps earlier as a result of reaching the maximum two hours duration.

All six Singapore Grands Prix held to date required at least one safety-car appearance.

Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are the only three drivers who have won the Singapore Grand Prix. Four of the six races were won from pole position. Alonso’s victory in 2008 came for 15th, which is the lowest winning grid position at Marina Bay.

Due to the heat and humidity, drivers can lose up to 3kg of fluid during the race.

Timetable (GMT+8):

Singapore2Friday 19 September

  • Practice Session One: 18:00-19:30
  • Practice Session Two: 21:30-23:00

Saturday 20 September

  • Practice Session Three: 18:00-19:00
  • Qualifying: 21:00 (60 minutes)

Sunday 21 September

  • Race: 20:00 (61 laps or two hours)

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