With Monza now in the books it signifies the end of the European leg of the season and we now move on to what is essentially F1’s run in and what is affectionately known by some as the fly away races. The first of which takes place this weekend at the marina bay street circuit in Singapore.
The 5.065km (3.147 mile) track is a tight street circuit not too dissimilar to Monaco. With around 45% full throttle on the lap it can be hard on the brakes as the corners happen in quick succession and the ambient temperatures are high.
The Singapore Grand Prix was the first F1 race to be held at night with over 1500 lights illuminating the circuit, setting the trend for other races to follow such as Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
The drivers are at their limits during this grand prix both mentally and physically because not only does the marina bay circuit have the most turns of any track on the calendar (23), the Singapore Grand Prix is also one of the longest races time wise on the calendar, often coming very close to the 2 hour race time limit. Additionally even at night inside the driver’s cockpit can exceed 60 degrees Celsius and drivers can lose up to 3kg in sweat over the duration of the race.
First held as an official F1 race in 2008 the track has seen a couple of tweaks over time. Firstly the infamous ‘Singapore sling’ chicane was removed for the 2013 Grand Prix and then turns 11 – 13 had minor tweaks from 2015 and the track has remained with the same layout since.
Overtaking around Singapore can be a challenge but there are opportunities least of all though strategy and taking advantage through a safety car period. There has been at least one safety car deployment in every race that has been held so far with the total counting standing at 14.
One safety car moment that sticks in the mind of F1 fans was in the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix back in 2008 when Nelson Piquet Jr crashed his Renault, which allowed his teammate Fernando Alonso to capitalize and take the victory. It has later come out that Piquet Jr had been ordered by the team to intentionally crash to help benefit Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel is expected to do well here. Being a circuit where engine power isn’t as much of a concern, Ferarri are expected to be quite competitive this weekend and couple that with the fact that the German has won the most times around Singapore (4) and twice as much as any other driver it is a strong possibility that he will retake the lead in the Driver’s Championship when the chequered flag flies on Sunday.
Key times for the weekend
Practice 1 – Fri @ 09:30
Practice 2 – Fri @ 13:30
Practise 3 – Sat @ 11:00
Qualifying – Sat – @ 14:00
Race Start – Sun @ 13:00
All sessions are live on Sky Sports F1 and also on Channel 4