2016 Singapore Grand Prix – preview
THE DRIVERS ON: THE CIRCUIT
"We knew Spa and Monza would be among the two most difficult races on the calendar for us. Now we move to the end-of-season fly-aways and we’re optimistic that we can continue pushing for more points and more positive results.
Singapore is a really fun track, very bumpy and challenging, but it’s a quirky layout with a lot of stop-start sections and really fast straights, so you need a car that works well in high downforce set-up and has good traction out of the slower corners. I’ve won there twice before, and the floodlights and energetic fans give it a really exciting atmosphere."
"The Marina Bay circuit is a challenge unlike any other that we face during the season – even when you compare it to the other street races on the calendar. It’s twisty, extremely fast, the barriers are high and close, and the bumpy surface is unforgiving, which sometimes means losing grip is something you can’t get away with, without seeing flying debris all over the track and the possibility of a Safety Car.
That’s part of what makes racing in Singapore so special, and its characteristics pose a tough test for even the strongest chassis and power unit. It’s gruelling for car and driver, but that’s what makes it all the more rewarding to drive."
|2015 winner||Sebastian Vettel. 61 laps, 2:01:22.118s|
|2015 pole position||Sebastian Vettel, 1m43.885s|
|2015 fastest lap||Daniel Ricciardo, 1m50.041s (lap 52)|
|Name||Marina Bay Circuit|
|Circuit length||5.065km/3.147 miles|
|Distance to Turn One||200m/0.124 miles|
|Longest straight||832m/0.5176 miles, on the approach to Turn Seven|
|Top speed||305km/h/190mph, on the approach to Turn One|
|Pitlane length||420m/0.261 miles, estimated time loss 24s|
|Full throttle||45 per cent, with the longest period of full throttle being just 9s|
|DRS zones||Two, on the approaches to Turns One and 17|
|Key corner||Turn Five, a 90-degree right-hander. The exit is bumpy and it’s vital to get the power down cleanly because the second DRS zone follows
|Fastest corner||200km/h (124mph), Turn 23|
|Slowest corner||80km/h (50mph), Turn 13|
|Major changes for 2016||No changes planned|
|Fuel consumption||1.65 per lap, which is average|
|ERS demands||Medium. The short bursts of acceleration from low speed make this track quite demanding on the ERS, but there are plenty of opportunities to harvest energy under braking|
|Brake wear||High. There are 16 braking events around the lap, with few cooling opportunities between each one|
|Gear changes||80 per lap/4,880 per race|
There have been two iterations of the Singapore Grand Prix. Between 1961 and ’73 the race was held for Formula Libre cars on the Thomson Road circuit, in a northern suburb of the city-state. The Marina Bay circuit has more of a downtown location and has hosted a world championship grand prix every year since 2008.
What makes the track unique:
The entire event. This is the original F1 night race; it starts at 20:00 local time, two hours after sunset, and the cars look spectacular under the glare of the 1,500 lamps that line the circuit.
Low. The asphalt is slippery and the average speed – just 170km/h (106mph) – is the second-slowest of the year.
Good. For a street circuit, there is plenty of run-off. In the places where the cars are at their fastest – into Turns One and Seven – there is ample room between the track and the barrier.
Watch out for…:
Turn 21. It’s a fairly non-descript left-hander, but it’s vitally important. Turns 22 and 23 are taken flat-out, so exit speed from Turn 21 determines a car’s pace along the pit straight, where the first DRS zone is located.
|Start time||20:00hrs local/13:00hrs BST|
|Race distance||61 laps (full world championship points will be awarded after 75 per cent distance/45 laps)|
|Safety Car likelihood||High. There has been at least one Safety Car period in every Singapore Grand Prix|
|When to press record||The start. The novelty of seeing 22 F1 cars racing at night never wanes, and the left-right flick at Turns One and Two usually throws up some controversy on the opening lap|
|Don’t put the kettle
|The top seven cars made two pitstops last year. The first stops occurred from lap 10 onwards, with the second stops from lap 30. The appearance of the Utrasoft tyre this year could force shorter stints, with the possibility of a three-stop strategy more likely|
|Weather conditions now||30 degrees and stormy|
|Race forecast||29 degrees|
|Tyre choices||Ultrasoft/Supersoft/Soft, a combination that has been used three times already this year: in Monaco, Canada and Austria|
First Singapore Grand Prix:
"Nothing Comes Close".
Singapore's F1 heritage:
This is the ninth Singapore Grand Prix, which means the Marina Bay Circuit has hosted more F1 races than Sochi, Austin, Abu Dhabi and Baku on the current calendar. Interest in F1 has been growing in this area of south east Asia since the Malaysian GP first appeared on the calendar in 1999.
Smallest winning margin:
0.293s, in 2010. This race was a private duel between eventual winner Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel; they started on the front row of the grid and despite the best efforts of Vettel to pass in the first corner, Alonso was never headed.
To quote Fernando Alonso, the Singapore Grand Prix has become a “modern-day classic”. It’s the only true night race on the F1 calendar and it’s become one of the sport’s Blue Riband events. It’s also the longest race of the year in terms of time; in three of the last four years it has exceeded the FIA’s two-hour time limit.
Did you know?
An underground electrical current near the Anderson Bridge is one of the quirks of the track. Without careful preparation by the teams, this current can play havoc with the cars’ electrics.
McLaren has won the Singapore Grand Prix once before, in 2009. Fernando Alonso has won the race twice, in 2008 and 2010, and Jenson Button has finished second on two occasions.
Jono, aged 42, from Hong Kong, asks: “Everyone talks about the F1 teams remaining on European time at the race. What does that actually mean?”
McLaren’s answer: “It means there’s no jet-lag! All of the on-track action is off-set by six hours at this race, due to the 20:00 start time on Sunday evening. That means going to bed and getting up six hours later than normal, so lights out at 05:00 local time and getting up at lunchtime. That’s similar to the people working back at the MTC on European time.”
THE DRIVERS ON: THE EVENT
“Singapore is a great race – it’s always an enjoyable weekend and definitely one of the halo races on the calendar each year. It’s a really long race – usually almost two hours – so a lot can happen. It’s tough on the cars too, especially with the current that runs underneath the asphalt near the Anderson Bridge towards Turn 13, which can play tricks on the electronics systems.
It’s definitely a race of attrition, so I hope we can have a smooth weekend with good reliability, and work our way towards the front. Over the past few races, we’ve shown good consistency in our performances, so I’m optimistic that we can continue this form in Singapore.”
“Singapore is a tough race, so you have to be at your absolute peak physical fitness to not find it a struggle, especially in the heat.
It’s an incredible venue and there’s a really special feeling all weekend. Knowing you’re working on European time while the rest of Singapore is running on local time makes it really unique – like racing in a parallel universe! Racing under floodlights never gets boring, and I hope I can have a weekend with less drama than at Monza.”
HEAR FROM THE MANAGEMENT
McLaren-Honda Racing Director
“The combination of the stunning Marina Bay backdrop, state-of-the-art paddock facilities, unique circuit characteristics, and a vibrant atmosphere from the passionate fans, makes Singapore one of the most impressive spectacles on the Formula 1 calendar.
“As we begin the final set of fly-aways before the end of the season, we go to territories where we race at circuits that require a more technical car set-up, with less reliance on pure power. Despite spending the next few weeks far away from the UK, our development push is still ongoing and we’re still working hard on achieving performance improvements right up to the end of the season.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how the Ultrasoft tyre fares on the bumpy asphalt this street circuit is so famous for. Strategy will be an important factor in this year’s grand prix, especially given the unusually high likelihood of a Safety Car appearance. Although we weren’t in a points-paying position in Monza, we did see some promising performances throughout the weekend, so we're hopeful of a greater chance to show what our package is truly capable of at the Singapore Grand Prix.”
Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer
“The Singapore night race is quite an amazing spectacle for everyone involved in F1, with the bustling city under the floodlights, great people and good food. The race, however beautiful, is long and physically draining for both the drivers and team, with high temperatures and humidity.
“The car set-up will need to change drastically to adjust the package from the fast-paced circuits of Spa and Monza, to Singapore’s twistier city circuit, so the team is already busy in preparation. Our car has good balance under braking, so the nature of the track should suit us more than the previous circuits.
“Honda will work to match the driveability of the power unit to suit the needs of the stop-and-go nature of the circuit, so that our drivers' skills can shine throughout the weekend. We hope to be in a good position to score points and have a good race.”