Has Singapore’s F1 track held a race?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Singapore F1 night race artist\'s impression
Singapore Night Race artist's impression

The next stop on the F1 calendar is another all-new venue. Like Valencia last month, the Singapore track is a street circuit, although a larger proportion of the circuit is expected to be actual roads rather than purpose-built track.

A few weeks before the European Grand Prix the organisers put on an event for Formula Three and GT cars. It gave them the chance to test out the venue and look for problems.

As far as I’m aware, the Singapore track isn’t doing the same.

Singapore is taking on a lot with it’s first Grand Prix – as it will also be the first ever F1 night race.

Given this, I’m surprised there seems to be no plans to test out the circuit beforehand. Does anyone know if they’ve used it for racing at all, because I haven’t seen anything about it?

F1 famously went to a new circuit in Dallas in 1984 before a test race had taken place – and the track surface fell apart during the event. It might seem unlikely that such a thing could happen again in F1, but at Montreal this year the track began to fall apart during qualifying, and F1’s been going there for 30 years.

Here’s some links to what we’ve seen of the Grand Prix preparations so far:

38 comments on “Has Singapore’s F1 track held a race?”

  1. I have definitely heard from somewhere — I think it was the Renault podcast — that Singapore will not be holding any test events until the F1 race. Hairy, huh?

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m reasonably sure both the Adelaide and Melbourne Australian F1 street circuits were “untested” prior to the race weekend.

  3. Right on doctorvee. When Valencia had those two races a few weeks before their GP, I recall hearing that new venues needed to host at least two FIA-sanctioned events in order for the track to be certified by the FIA- I’m sure some of you wiht more years in the sport may have more info on this than me.

    If the Singapore circuit has somehow gotten around the normal regulations, it will be a bit suspicious, and if anything should go wrong with the event, it’s going to create a major headache for all the powerbrokers involved in setting up the GP. Here’s hoping for a great event, but who knows for sure how the whole show will procede.

  4. Terry Fabulous
    17th September 2008, 1:10

    It will be dark
    AND the track might break up
    AND it might rain
    AND we have the best title fight in years

    This promises to be the most exciting lead up to a Grand Prix in years.

    (nothing to do with the fact that I am getting married the day before. Ok maybe a little. Ok maybe a lot!)

  5. By delving into the unknown, it’s the most exciting buildup to the launch of a new race for a long long time. However, everything could be just fine, and it could be a very tedious race. I’m not saying something has to go wrong for a race to be good, I certainly hope everything works logistically (as it’s already mentioned, it will be headache central if otherwise), but you’d think they’d take greater care than this. Or it could just be a somewhat Asian mentality where it just HAS to work on the day…

    I’m pretty sure it’s not a concern, but after reading that “Singapore night race will not be dark” article my first gut impression was I hope none of the drivers are colourblind. If it were me out there, I’d confuse green/red/yellow lights on the electronic flag system for sure. And if the whole area will be floodlit, then won’t that just wash out the effectiveness of the electronic flag system? Who knows…maybe they should really have other races first.

    I’m not too clued up on GP2 (didn’t really follow it till this season), but will they be running their races there same weekend and same time??

  6. @ Loki

    nope, GP2 season ended already

    and on another note, um im pretty sure the drivers have to be tested first for things like colorblindness…

  7. at least this new venue has all the ingredients for excitement :)

  8. Keith,

    there is an excellent CGI video on the RedBull / ToroRosso site, with Vettel and Webber narratinga lap of the track… worth sharing

    http://www.redbullracing.com/4th-Sector/Webber-Singapore/

  9. so after reading this I called my friend down in Singapore to see if there is some plan to run some race before the GP weekend.

    Well, no, there is no plan, at least nothing that is advertised. It is very brave from the organizers I would say, but on the other hand it would not be as simple as in Valencia. The race track in Singapore uses only public roads and I would say about 80% of it cuts through the busiest part of the city center. The only part of the track specially constructed for the race was the part between the Singapore flyer and the turn 1. All the rest are just the original roads with new asphalt from Shell.

    I think it would be almost impossible for them to put the city to the standstill for more than one weekend :-)

    The other thing that I asked is how has the weather been. You know in Singapore it is about the same for the whole year. Very hot, humid and it either does not rain or rains :-) . It is the tropics, pretty much right there on the equator. There was not much heavy rain these days, but what I heard it tends to shower towards the evenings, arouynd the time people leave offices, that is around the time the track will be getting ready for action next weekend :-)

  10. Surely the drivers will have practice sessions on the Friday and Saturday during daylight hours along with the night practice sessions!?
    Adelaide did not have a ‘test’ prior to the 1985 GP – but that was in the daylight

  11. Well, I’m from Singapore and I must say that milos is right on the money. It is rather impossible to stop traffic into the city for a single weekend, much less a couple weekends for testing. I’m not sure what is going on behind the scenes but I’m sure looking forward to it.

    Weather wise, it’s hot and humid. But, at night it tends to cool down to a reasonable temperature. As for rain, it’s Singapore, you never know when it’ll rain. =) Keeping my fingers crossed though, I don’t hope for another rainy race after the last two races.

    Speaking of rain, if it pours like what we occasionally get in Singapore, it might pose some problems. Visibility tends to be very very poor during heavier downpours, even for regular drivers like me. Wonder how it’ll work out at F1 speeds?

  12. ‘Surely the drivers will have practice sessions on the Friday and Saturday during daylight hours along with the night practice sessions!?
    Adelaide did not have a ‘test’ prior to the 1985 GP – but that was in the daylight’

    Nope, FP1 is right at the sunset. This was requested by the drivers themselves, who wanted all the sessions at night so they can acclimatise to the probably reduced light levels.

    And yes, I believe Albert Park did not have a special race before F1, either. Only F1 and V8 Supercars race there, and they tend to do it on the same weekend, with V8 as a support race to F1.

    Thanks for the track info, Milos! Just learned that today. :)

    Just 11 days away now… can’t wait! :)

  13. Singapore being the organised city that it is , will ensure that everything runs perfectly , also track conditions will be inspected before the race. The only thing that may cause some chaos is the rain that is forecast – I don’t even want to imagine what the spray effect through floodlights will do to visability. Hopefully it will be dry.

  14. @ Journeyer – I will be “refreshing” some older posts on Singapore track etc in coming days with pics, you can learn more :-)

  15. Apparently they’ve got the spray effect covered aswell. If it rains, the floodlights, instead of pointing towards the circuit, change direction to counter the situation :) but we need a dry race…

  16. At last a real street circuit, past famous landmarks and in the centre of a city. Pity about the extra hype with the night racing though, it would be just as much fun in daylight I’m sure.
    I suppose, reading between the lines, the organisers will be copying Monaco in dealing with the weekend traffic, and just close all the necessary roads on the Thursday or Friday?

  17. ‘but we need a dry race…’

    not least because we all get soaked to the bone if it’s a wet one. :P but hey, a wet race would provide tons more excitement… just don’t tell Ferrari, though.

    ‘Singapore being the organised city that it is , will ensure that everything runs perfectly , also track conditions will be inspected before the race.’

    my only concern is that Singapore has made some pretty big gaffes already… remember that ticketing fiasco back on Valentine’s Day? it took them until March before they fully fixed it. Let’s hope they paid much more attention to detail on the track.

    ‘I suppose, reading between the lines, the organisers will be copying Monaco in dealing with the weekend traffic, and just close all the necessary roads on the Thursday or Friday?’

    yep, looks like it. hopefully, the roads will be open by monday morning, makes it easier to go back to the airport that way. :)

  18. I hope the race is dry too. I remember watching wet Le Mans races on Eurosport, and the TV image quality duringthe night in the rain is never very pretty. A dry, floodlit race will look just wonderful.

    I’m very much looking forward to this F1 face-plant into the unknown.

  19. Will there be an extra practice session on Thursday, I wonder. I read somewhere that for Valencia, teams could not agree on an extra session, so in the end it was skipped. But since Singapore hasn’t seen any racing at all, an extra session might be a smart thing to do.

  20. im from singapore and i dont think they have held any races there yet. i recently visited the circuit to check out spots to take photos through the fence (i have a walkabout ticket). i think most of the circuit is complete, just a few more fences and some grandstands. From what i heard they are having other races during the whole weekend, like in the afternoon with some BMW cup or some other car thing. The practice sessions are at night. Friday practice starts at 7pm local time i think. It was originally one in the afternoon and one at night. but they changed it for some reason i think.
    As for the weather its very unpredictable. but it usually rains in the late morning or early afternoon. Rarely at night, but it still happens.. and usually it rains very heavily for a few minutes only.

  21. ‘Will there be an extra practice session on Thursday, I wonder. I read somewhere that for Valencia, teams could not agree on an extra session, so in the end it was skipped. But since Singapore hasn’t seen any racing at all, an extra session might be a smart thing to do.’

    The difficulty with a Thursday session is that unlike Valencia, Singapore is a DOWNTOWN street circuit, so closing it off will affect traffic. If the teams want to have an extra Thursday session, they have to agree on it NOW so that the organizers can make the necessary arrangements.

  22. ‘Rarely at night, but it still happens.. and usually it rains very heavily for a few minutes only.’

    Hmmm… Just like the deluge at Spa? I’m sure Kimi would love that! …Or maybe not.

  23. Anyone else worried about how awful that right-left-left-right-right-left section at the end of the lap looks?

  24. ‘Anyone else worried about how awful that right-left-left-right-right-left section at the end of the lap looks?’

    I’m not. I’m watching from there! Should be interesting to see if anyone makes a lunge-tastic pass there… or shunts out in a moment of stupidity.

  25. did anyone see the Moto GP race from Qatar’s Losail Circuit. it looked just like nascar, not much difference everyone said.

    the Losail Track tech manager told me in a chat i had with him that it’s the same company and same system that will light up singapore’s so i have a feeling all will run smoothly, that is if it doesn’t rain.

  26. i think the only racers there so far were Webber and Vettel in their virtual video :-)

    This is what the official Sing GP site says about non-F1 program on the race weekend:

    “On top of the Formula One races, spectators can also catch three other races from about 1500hrs daily, namely; the Aston Martin Asia Cup, Formula BMW Pacific, and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.

    A new addition to the weekend schedule is the introduction of a fourth activity, the Fiat 500 Charity Challenge. Further details will be released shortly.”

    I believe FIA and teams ruled out any running on Thursday long time ago … The compromise they reached is that all the F1 sessions will start after sunset

  27. I watched Qatar and frankly, it looked quite bad on TV … the lights were casting shadows, the light wall optically totally isolated the track from the surroundings so it looked like there were no spectators at all (that could also be the case, but one could not tell :-) )

    I do hope that the F1 race in Singapore is nothing like the Qatar Moto GP night race …

  28. off topic slightly, but has any1 seen the tongue in cheek video Mclaren have posted?

    http://www.f1wolf.com/2008/09/countdown-to-singapore-grand-prix.html

  29. Andy – that’s great!

  30. ‘Anyone else worried about how awful that right-left-left-right-right-left section at the end of the lap looks?’

    Had the same thought about the 90degree turns all over the circuit. Originally the proposed circuit included the highway (the bridges that the track passed under). But its a highway leading to the city, so… There are also better roads that they could have used, it would have been a bit like spa maybe, not all 90 degree turns. plus changes in elevation would have been nice, like up the highway or one of the less used roads further away from the city. all that wishful thinking tho, who wants to see the residential areas just outside the city..haha, would have benifited me if they did do a route on the outskirts of the city, i could have watched from my flat!

  31. There used to be a rule which probably disappeared around the time of the 1984 Dallas race that Keith mentioned that a track could not be allocated a GP until it had held a high level international meeting. I could never see a reason for that to be dropped.

    Singapore screwed up ticketing, their website was a disaster, they are not running any kind of race to try the track, the lighting , the marshals etc. I cannot believe how amateurish F1 has become. Max bangs on about what he has done to improve safety and the first night race is in a tropical country where heavy rain is probable. It is being held on a track that has never run a race and will be staffed by marshals with no experience. Imagine a school put out a leaflet to parents saying they were organising a trip for their kids on such a basis. It is a complete joke.

    I watched the Moto GP race and it took 3 seconds to figure out the great attraction. Reflective adevertising against a black backdrop. No shots of fans or any of the other things that distract TV directors from pointing their cameras at the trackside ads. Forget all this convenient for Europe bull the whole point of this is to make the ads clearer.

  32. Aww, that McLaren video (Andy’s post, #28) is excellent. No need for any floodlighting now!

  33. @Andy
    That video was great…..a rally equiped McMerc!….and if it rains maybe they can drift it through the corners as well.

  34. The official F1 site is counting down to Friday practice 7pm local time. So looks like no Thursday practice.

  35. There is definitely no Thursday practice. The Singapore Grand Prix session times are here: 2008 Singapore Grand Prix

  36. Hi, I am from Singapore. Allow me to give the latest update.

    The organisers are still working round the clock to finish the final touches. I was driving around at night checking out the floodlights and they are indeed powerful but I am not sure if they would induce glare to the F1 drivers. The final touches by the government and oragnisers are quite impressive, they are even pruning tree leaves in the middle of the night just to prevent any tree branches from falling onto the track.

    They are still putting up the common wall and fence barrier at a few places. These barriers had been causing blind spots (and people has been complaining) for normal drivers. Well, I guess we just have to take a bit of discomfort during this preparation stage.

    It has been pretty dry over the last two weeks. Hope it remains dry till at least Friday! (I am getting a grandstand Friday ticket.

    Overall, I think viewers around the world is going to get a good treat. The backdrop had been chosen to showcase the Singapore skyline and I bet it will be one of the loveliest skyline you will ever see in F1 history. The government here is known to be extremely meticulous when it comes to showcasing themselves to the world so I am sure they will check and recheck till everything is fine. The Singapore F1 will be their pre-event in introducing Singapore to the two new Casinos come 2009 and 2010, so I am sure they will put up the best show.

    I am not really an F1 fan, but I am really excited. Have fun guys!

  37. here are my two cents worth.

    Being in singapore for 6 years going onto 7. I feel that everyone should know that Singapore although it is a small country, will not embarass themselves.

    F1 is a chance for Singapore to be under world scrutiny and every possible aspect to cause such an uproar or glitch would be minimized.
    I have friends who have to stay in the army over the weekend, in fear of bombings occuring during the race!

    Way before F1 was about to start, the roads have been layered more than once. And since you know Singapore is a petrochemical hub, so tar comes easy for us.

    Yeah…
    Just watch the race tonight. And you’ll see…

    Anything that is done in such a massive scale will surely not disappoint. As you can see, the lighting so bright. That’s how much effor the govenment is trying to put in to create more wow factor throughout the race. :)

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