F1 drivers largely happy with the Singapore track, apart from the tortoises

Felipe Massa: Chelonaphobia sufferer?

Felipe Massa: Chelonaphobia sufferer?

Turn 10 on the Singapore track is causing some concern among the F1 drivers. Several of them have criticised the high kerbs on the corner. Felipe Massa has an unusual name for them:

The kerbs are like little tortoises and if you get something wrong you wreck the car.

As mentioned in the Sinagpore track preview turn 10 was modified late in the development of the circuit to slow the cars down at a point where there is little space for run-off.

Sebastien Bourdais inspects the troublesome \'tortoises\'

Sebastien Bourdais inspects the troublesome 'tortoises'

Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Bourdais added their voices to the concerns. Bourdais said:

I can see why they have done it because there is no run off there, and it would be a fast and open corner if you did not do something, but even so! We had a similar problem in Champ Car when they were trying to prevent cars from short cutting chicanes at Monterrey, and the things were half the size of what they are right now ?ǣ and we were smashing the tubs there left and right. Since you don’t go and buy a Lola or whatever it is these days in F1, you cannot really afford to damage cars. I haven’t seen Charlie [Whiting] yet, but I am a bit surprised. There are fixes for this though.

And Alonso added:

It is not the best solution that they could find. We worry that if you miss the chicane or miss the line then you have to go over the kerbs – and then perhaps you damage the chassis or damage the bottom. If you damage one car it is not a problem because you can take the T-car. But if you damage two, you go home. This is a concern at the moment. But I don’t know what can be a better solution and I don’t know if they are able to do it so quickly before tomorrow. So I don’t know.

A major change to the configuration of a track at short notice is unlikely, but the organisers might find a way of grinding down the kerbstones. But is this really such a serious problem? Surely the solution is for the drivers not to hit the kerbs in the first place. If they do and damage their cars, well, that’s motor racing.

If a driver arrives at the corner too quickly he is likely to avoid trying to turn in and risk damaging his car and instead opt to cut the corner – which has been the cause of a lot of recent aggravation.

If no-one else has done it already I would like to suggest we call turn ten the ‘tortoise chicane’.

Lights, pits and overtaking

Aside from the turn 10 problem the drivers have been very complimentary about the circuit in general and the lighting system. Bourdais said “It is daylight” and Massa somewhat under-statedly observed: “Hopefully we won’t have a big black out, because then it will be very difficult.” The chances of that have been reduced by the organisers testing a ‘controlled failure’ of the lights to ensure the back-up generators work.

However there are some concerns over what will happen if the race sees heavy rain (more on the Singapore weather here) and many have suggested the track configuration does not lend itself to overtaking. Bourdais added he was unsure about the pit lane entry:

The pit entry also seems to be a bit dodgy. You will be running quite a bit quicker than the guy who is going to pit, and you are all going to get to the same point because the entry is just hard left.

Do you think the chicane kerbs are a problem? What do you think of the rest of the Singapore track?

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34 comments on F1 drivers largely happy with the Singapore track, apart from the tortoises

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  1. Pedro Andrade said on 25th September 2008, 21:08

    Some time ago in circuits like Monaco there weren’t even kerbs, there was the track and a barrier next to it, so in my opinion the drivers should accept it as just another challenge.

  2. What a novel idea: making a mistake means you are out of the race. I like that. Perhaps they could find a way of doing it at other circuits. Possibly by adding gravel?

    Like garlic bread, tortoises are the future!!

  3. If no-one else has done it already I would like to suggest we call turn ten the ‘tortoise chicane’.

    HHAHAAHAHA, thats a positive from me.

  4. Bloody F1 drivers…

    “oh no, can’t cut chicanes… people will straight line them and cheat!”

    “Oh no! can’t put ever so slightly high curbs on a chicane, because if we accidentially miss a chicane or get pushed off the track by someone, we’ll hit those slightly high curbs and our cars will explide!”

    Make up your minds, please.

  5. I think its great, in fact i think all chicanes should have this feature…

    The driver should view anything outside of the track as a barrier. If you go off the track you should understand that your car could be damaged.

    If we had this at Belgium Hamilton would have backed off to avoid damage, and then passed Kimi later that lap – no controversy.

  6. Terry Fabulous said on 25th September 2008, 22:56

    Great idea to have higher chicanes. If you cut the corner, you damage your car, no need to worry about drive throughs and penalties and all that guff.

  7. f1badger said on 26th September 2008, 0:11

    excellent points well made about the chicanes. Has anyone besides Alonso complained much? Thought not – it’s the typical Alonso throwing his toys around again….get back in your pram!

  8. Lewis will be in trouble!!!!!

  9. Patrick said on 26th September 2008, 4:19

    champ car failed because of these ‘race tracks.’ The irl is deservedly on its last leg and looking to make one last step to obscurity with street circuits. F1 shouldn’t even be at a circuit like this. These curbs just add further insult to injury. This whole direction for the sport, outside of the street circuit in Monte Carlo and partial streets at Canada and Melbourne, is a terrible idea. I expect both this an Valencia to be more like the Melbourne/Montreal circuits and I am highly disappointed.

  10. @badger where has Alonso thrown his toys out the pram? What he said is pretty valid, if they mess up one car it’s ok the T-car is there otherwise if they mess the T-car as well then there race is over.

    He’s just stating the obvious like Massa is when he commented about the lights??

  11. TD22057 said on 26th September 2008, 5:37

    At a minimum, they need paint those curbs bright yellow or something more visible. They blend into the flat part of the curb too much and it’s going to be hard to pick up where the raised part is – especially at night.

  12. I feel they have to remove those tortoises on the kerb!!! Conditions may ask drivers to make mistakes — heavy rain / water patches may cause lack of grip and may push the cars off the line – certainly not a driver error — but damaging the car is little too hard a punishment for these sort of errors!

    They need to consider another point, that a street track always have trouble in clearing a stopped / damaged car from the track! (I feel so, correct me if I’m wrong) Considering this point in mind, any damage that these tortoises may cause — probability of a car running on those kerbs, is relatively high in the race of 20 cars doing 62 laps — can potentially lead to a safety car stint! So I feel, either grinding down those bumps or finding a better alternative will do good for the race :)

  13. AussieLeb said on 26th September 2008, 6:51

    Does any one else feel that McLaren’s reign in the wet could come to an end this weekend? According to the following there’s every chance of a Ferrari 1-2 now wouldn’t that would be great:

    http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/9/8422.html

  14. Street circuits may not let F1 cars unleash their fullest potential but add variety to the show , which is great . So with a few in between “normal” races is not a problem for me. And the tortoises will add another dimension to the way some corners are taken , should be interesting. If it rains , though , visibility through the spray in artificial light will present even more of a challenge , but again affects all the drivers in the same way. So looks like lots of excitement ahead , could we see yet another new GP winner this year ?

  15. pSynrg said on 26th September 2008, 7:38

    I feel they have to remove those tortoises on the kerb!!! Conditions may ask drivers to make mistakes — heavy rain / water patches may cause lack of grip and may push the cars off the line – certainly not a driver error — but damaging the car is little too hard a punishment for these sort of errors!

    They driver who is the fastest, possibly making the least mistakes should be the winner.
    Whatever the conditions – I expect F1 to be as challenging as possible.
    Car going off line in the wet, its driver error. The conditions are the same for everyone. May the best man win.

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