Thoughts on Singapore’s F1 street track (2008 Singapore Grand Prix preview)

Singapore\'s F1 track is almost ready for the much-anticipated night race

Singapore's F1 track is almost ready for the much-anticipated night race

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo is not looking forward to F1 racing at the new Singapore street circuit at night:

The drivers are concentrating on what needs to be improved and on the next grand prix in Singapore. But I have the impression that it’s another track where you can’t overtake, Valencia-style. To go on with these circuits spells an ugly future for Formula One.

What will the track actually be like? Here’s some track maps, images and video that give an impression of the new Singapore street track.

Formula 1 takes a leap into the unknown in more ways than one at Singapore. As well as it being F1’s first visit to Singapore it will also be the first of what could soon become many night races on the calendar.

The second new venue on the F1 calendar this year is, like Valencia, also a street circuit. But the tight, slow configuration and diverse scenery promises the track will very different in nature and appearance to the Spanish circuit.

Track configuration

Singapore street track map for the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix - click to enalrge

Singapore street track map for the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix - click to enalrge

More Singapore street circuit maps: Singapore street circuit infomation

Turns 1/2/3

The first section of track appears to be purpose-built, with a left-hander leading into a right curve and then a tighter left-hander. It brings the cars onto Republic Avenue/Boulevard. This first corner has been eased since the original design of the track which should reduce the chances of a first lap pile-up, but might reduce its effectiveness as a place for overtaking.

Turns 4/5

Turn four is a slight left curve which will surely be tackled flat-out. Turn five, a right-hander, brings the cars onto Raffles Boulevard. This is the longest flat-out section on the course and a good exit from the corner will be vital for overtaking to be possible further down the straight.

As the cars pass through this section they first go under a slip-road and then the East Coast Parkway road as they apprach turn five, and under the same road again after they exit the corner. These covered sections could lead to wet/dry patches in the event of rainfall during the race.

Turns 6/7

Turn six look like another flat-out kink before the cars turn left onto Nicoll Highway. This bend, turn seven, looks like being the most likely spot for overtaking as the cars should be at their maximum speed at this point.

Nearby buildings: The Pan Pacific Hotel and Tower is on the inside of turn six. Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre is one the right on the approach to turn seven.

Turns 8/9

Right onto Stamford Road, left onto St. Andrew’s Road. What appear to be anguler, 90-degree turns on the track maps might actually be a bit less tight as the roads look fairly wide and these turns in particular seem to have wide apices.

Nearby buildings: Swissotel The Stamford on the outside of turn nine.

Turn 10a/b/c

Originally described as turns 10 and 11, this section is instead now referred to as 10a/b/c as Singapore GP director of technical and race operations Michael McDonough explains: “Previously what was turn 10 and 11 was actually three corners close together in a chicane configuration, created to provide the right geometry and corner speeds, due to the lack of straight ahead run off in this part of the circuit.”

Nearby buildings: The Supreme Court is on the approach to turn ten on the left, and as the cars exit the tri-corner they pass the Singapore Parliament. That’s right – they’re closing the roads around their Supreme Court and Parliament to hold this race. The Supreme Court’s website even says “The Supreme Court has been notified by the Traffic Police that in preparation for the F1 Race in Singapore from 26 Sept to 28 Sept 2008, some partial or full road closures will be effected from 20 September to 2 October 2008 around the vicinity of the Supreme Court.”

Turns 11/12

As the cars pass from St. Andrew’s road onto Connaught Drive they pass through a fast right/left flick. After this the cars cross the distinctive Anderson Bridge, which is only 10m wide.

Nearby buildings: Victoria Concert Hall is on the inside of turn 11.

Turn 13

Esplanade Drive at night

Esplanade Drive at night

As the cars leave the bridge the track bends very slightly to the left just at the braking zone for the next tight right-hander, turn 13. From here they cross a much wider bridge up Esplanade Drive.

Turn 14

This is Raffles Avenue with the Esplanade buildings in the background

This is Raffles Avenue with the Esplanade buildings in the background

A right-hand turn which takes them onto Raffles Avenue and back towards the purpose-built section of track.

Nearby buildings: The twin domes of the Esplanade on the inside of turn 14.

Turns 15/16/17

The official track diagram (above) suggests turn 15 is a fast left-hand curve leading into the much tighter turn 16 which takes the cars in front of the seating gallery along the river. Turn 17 bends left and looks faster.

Turns 18/19/20/21

Singapore’s answer to La Piscine – the swimming pool section at Monaco. But there is one intriguing difference – after turn 18 the cars pass underneath one of the spectator stands! It seems to briefly return them to Raffles Avenue before turning off again as the cars pass once more under the East Coast Parkway. Turns 20 and 21 look very similar to 16 and 17.

Turns 22/23

A pair of left-handers, though it looks like the second one may not need any braking, which bring the cars back to the start/finish area.

Nearby buildings: The Singapore Flyer, a giant London Eye-style big wheel, on the inside of turns 22 and 23.

Start/finish straight video

This video shows part of the start/finish straight at night under floodlighting:

Thanks to Kilwa for the video!

Explore the Singapore Street Circuit online

Here are some resources for finding out more about the Singapore F1 track:

Main image (C) Steel Wool via Flickr

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18 comments on Thoughts on Singapore’s F1 street track (2008 Singapore Grand Prix preview)

  1. Nearby buildings: The Supreme Court is on the approach to turn ten on the left

    Hamilton can drop off some appeal papers during the race then.

  2. I like this! Its a proper street circuit, and not something added to a half-empty port area.
    How much racing normally takes place in Singapore? I thought it was part of the asian racing scene – things like Touring Cars and Formula Renault.

  3. Journeyer said on 22nd September 2008, 9:02

    How much racing normally takes place in Singapore? I thought it was part of the asian racing scene – things like Touring Cars and Formula Renault.

    How about zero? Zip? Nada? All the racing in SE Asia is in other places. Of course, there’s Sepang (Malaysia), but there’s also Sentul (Indonesia) and Batangas (Philippines).

    But if Singapore pulls this off, they may start attracting other racing formulae to their part of the world. But the street circuit probably wouldn’t be an option for them, since the circuit limits access to the Supreme Court and Parliament. It would have to be in a purpose-built circuit. But while money isn’t an issue, land is. How much space is there left in Singapore for such things?

  4. @ DG – there used to be GPs in Singapore but that was back in 60s and 70s. shameless plug here

    http://www.f1wolf.com/2008/09/singapore-grands-prix-of-the-past.html

    Not only the Turn 1-2-3 but the whole section from the Singapore flyer through the start finish straight is purposely built. The rest are the regular roads but with new track surface (Shell Bidumen I believe).

    What is interesting is that the race goes oposite the regular traffic

  5. Alianora La Canta said on 22nd September 2008, 9:52

    At least we’ll be able to differentiate the corners at this track…

  6. Terry Fabulous said on 22nd September 2008, 10:07

    Hey Keith isn’t 13 a slight right tight left not visa versa?

  7. Freeman said on 22nd September 2008, 10:22

    About Luca DiM’s remark on no overtaking on “new” circuits… I think in a dry F1 race, it’s actually the “Old European” circuits that offer “boring” races? How much overtaking is there in dry Monza, Nurburgring, Hungaroring, and even Silverstone?

    As much as I don’t like “Tilke dromes” for their blandness, but they do offer overtaking more often than not. Istanbul and Shanghai as a quick example.

    I do hope Singapore will offer a lot of action. I’m heading there in a few days! Can’t wait!

  8. It’s nice to see a track that looks more like a proper street circuit as DG mentioned above.

    I still don’t think there will be much over taking though.

  9. Why not drive around the track ourselves and see how it feels?

    http://www.visitsingapore.com/racer/

  10. I shouldn’t say this because I’m afraid I’ll have to eat my words later, but… It looks amazing!!!!
    Let’s hope it will translate that into a good race and that in a few years we can talk about the “Asian Monaco” (and not about the “Asian Valencia”)

  11. for some reason i don’t really like the look of the layout of the track.hopefully it makes a good race though.

  12. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd September 2008, 21:20

    You can see the official track map with quoted corner speeds here: Singapore street circuit infomation

    And Wolf’s got more pics from the track

  13. Robert McKay said on 22nd September 2008, 21:40

    It’s certainly going to look nicer than Valencia, even excluding the whole night thing. Don’t know if we’re going to get any more of a race though. The bit where the track actually goes underneath the grandstand is pretty cool.

    Luca might not like these kinds of tracks but I suspect there will be more of them to come…is Abu Dhabi a street/marina type circuit?

  14. There’s a part of me that wants to love this course, because it looks like it’s straight out of a Japanese video game.

    Then again, there’s a part of me that wants to hate this course, because it looks like it’s straight out of a Japanese video game, and therefore, no longer imaginative.

    To be a bit more specific, in the 80’s, Turbo had the tunnel, and all those street driving games like Hang On and Outrun had city segments; in the 90’s, every driving game had at least one suspension bridge on at least one of the tracks available…

    This made those games feel artificial since no track at the time made use of a suspension bridge or deliberately used tunnels. Reality copying art in this way seems flattering, but at the same time, phony and wrong.

    Do I think it will be easy to overtake? Probably not.

  15. William Wilgus said on 23rd September 2008, 0:24

    First, let me hope that all of us enjoy this race to the fullest possible degree!

    Somewhat off-topic—and it’s been beat to death here before—I think the very fact that it’s a night race will lessen the spectators’ enjoyment because of less visual `acuity’ (if that’s the right word) for both human and `optical’ eyes. We’re not going to see the race as well as we would have if it were run in the daylight.

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