SINGAPORE – When the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix was held on September 28, 2008, Formula One Racing history was made as the drivers sped along the windy street circuit in Singapore, on the first street circuit in Asia, as well as running in the first Formula One race held at night. Lighting up the Marina Bay Street Circuit requires up to 10,000 lamps and 1,500 projectors along the 5.073 km track.
The Singapore Grand Prix is traditionally the second slowest race of the year, following the Monaco Grand Prix, and is one of the longest circuits on the calendar. Due to these factors, the five previous races have run extremely close to the two hour Formula One race limit; all ended within five minutes of the limit.
The biggest source of tire degradation is wheelspin, and the cars reaching speeds of up to 297 kmph on the extremely bumpy street circuit. The circuit has been modified slightly twice since the inaugural race. The first modification was for the 2009 race when Turns 1, 2, and 3 were modified to allow more overtaking, and the high curbs were reduced at Turn 10 due to the number of accidents in the maiden race. For this year's race, Turn 10 has been modified again so cars will now have to navigate a flowing left-hander before accelerating onto the second high-speed straight.
This counter-clockwise-run race starts on a medium-length straight where drivers reach speeds of up to 250 kmph before braking down to 75 kmph for Turns 1, 2 and 3. Turn 1 has been the point of many accidents in the past as drivers struggle with the low-grip and bumpy nature of the circuit in the tight opening corners. Drivers continue on the somewhat windy circuit until they reach Turn 7, which is the best chance of overtaking. Complicated by the extremely bumpy nature of this particular corner, this turn is also important because a bad exit could lead to being overtaken at Turn 8. Drivers accelerate towards Turns 11 and 12, the fastest corners on the circuit, before dropping down to 50 kmph for Turn 14, the last ideal spot for overtaking. The pit lane begins at Turn 22 and exits at Turn 2, which makes it one of the longest pit lanes in the current racing calendar.
This night run race has proven to be a great start to the Asian leg of the season in the past.
Sebastian and Mark Look Ahead to Singapore
Q1: Is it a myth about drivers staying on European time for Singapore? Can you really stop yourself adjusting? Do you try?
Vettel: It sounds unusual but because the race starts at 8 p.m. we have to try and stay on European time as much as possible to make sure we're alert later into the night. I get up at about lunchtime and have breakfast at about 2 p.m. because that's 8 a.m. in Switzerland. It is a bit weird to have lunch in the evening and go to bed in the early hours of the morning. But we've done it for a few years now so it feels more normal than it did the first time.
Q2: Best place to overtake here and how?
Vettel: You tend to see the most passes into Turn 8, and then next common is using DRS into Turn 7.
Q3: Tell us your best racing moment here?
Vettel: My wins in 2011 and 2012 were the best because I think it's one of the toughest races of the year to be honest, so to win is an amazing moment and you feel you deserve the champagne! It's a very long race - the full two hours so the race just seems to go on forever. The circuit itself is a killer because there are so many bumps. There's no room for mistakes.
Q1: What are the first three things that come to mind when you think of the Singapore GP?
Webber: Hot, night and bumpy!
Q2: Toughest bit of the track to get right?
Webber: The last sector is probably the toughest to get right. It's a very demanding last sector, and the rhythm is very important over the bumps and the curves. You need to get the last sector correct.
Q3: Tell us your best racing moment here?
Webber: I think being on the podium is my best moment. After a long and hot race it's a pretty good reward. I finished on the podium in 2010 and 2011, so both of those were special moments for me.
Q4: Finally, have you ever had a Singapore Sling? If so, when and how did you rate it?
Webber: Very good! I had one with my mother on Monday after the race. She bought it for me so I had a Singapore Sling. It was good and I liked it so I had another one!
Marina Bay Street Circuit Guide: Key Track Statistics
Local start time: 20h00
Number of laps: 61
Circuit length: 5.073 km
Race distance: 309.316 km
Grand Prix debut: 2008
Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari, 2008), 1:45.599
1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
7. Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
2012 Race Results
1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
2. Jenson Button (McLaren)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
11. Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing)
Singapore Grand Prix City Guide
With all of the Grand Prix events being run at night, you'll have all day to explore the city of Singapore before heading to the circuit. They key to enjoying your time in Singapore is to look up what could get you into trouble before traveling. While the Singapore government has relented on some issues lately, other issues are still illegal and could get you into trouble unknowingly. Stay away from chewing gum unless it's under doctor's orders and don't log onto an unsecure WIFI network!
Once you've decided what is legal and not, it's time to explore the city. There are no cages at the Singapore Zoo, so you can get up close and personal with the animals. If you're up for more adventurous activities, try the cable-ski installation in East Coast Lagoon, known as Ski360°.
To add to the glamour of the weekend, a concert series has been organized throughout the Grand Prix weekend. To see the full concert line up, visit http://www.singaporegp.sg/.
# # #