Would you get rid of Singapore’s bumps?

Singapore's controversial chicane will also be tweaked for 2009

Singapore's controversial chicane will also be tweaked for 2009

The operators of the Singapore Marina Bay circuit, which held F1?s first night race last year, have revealed they are making changes to the track for 2009.

What would you change about Singapore?s street track? Would you leave it the way it is? Here?s what I think needs fixing – and what doesn’t.

The organisers plan to re-configure two sections of the track. These are the opening sequence of bends (turns one, two and three) and the infamous turn 10a/b/c chicane, where Kimi Raikkonen crashed out of last year?s race.

They also plan to flatten out the bumps to make the track smoother.

What they should change

Turn 10 (red marker)

Turn 10 is a bit of a fudge at the moment ?ǣ it?s clearly not an ideal solution. The compromise of having a straight section of track with an artificial chicane inserted came about because of a lack of available room for run off where the track bends left.

Apart from re-routing the track entirely, it?s difficult to see exactly how they can fix this. It looks as if the designers wanted to take the track this way so it would cross the picturesque Anderson bridge. Presumably they thought it infeasible to send the cars down Connaught Drive (see map below) instead, or were just keen to have the cars drive past the city hall and supreme court.

Turns 16-21 (blue marker)

Again it seems the track planner?s first thought was to create a clever design feature ?ǣ in this case, a section of track that passes beneath a grandstand.

But doing so created an unattractive series of six consecutive 90-degree bends: a throwback to the days of Phoenix and Detroit.

It?s hard to escape right-angles on street circuits, but could they have done a better job here? Would it be better to have the track carry on along the harbour front instead of turning under the grandstand?

Having said that, I know Journeyer was in that stand at the race and he might feel strongly about keeping the track as it is!

Pit lane entrance

Many of the drivers were unhappy with the design of the pit lane entrance. During practice we saw drivers spinning at the the final turn, which revealed how susceptible they were to hitting the beginning of the divide between the pit lane and track. It also caused problems in qualifying, where Nick Heidfeld received a penalty.

What they shouldn?t change

Turns 1/2/3 (green marker)

The designers think that by changing this they might be able to create an opportunity for overtaking. I can?t see how, because the preceding corner (turn 23) is quite quick. I don?t think there?s much to be gained here.

Bumps

This might be controversial, but I think the bumpiness of the track is part of its appeal.

Tracks need not be so bumpy they shake the cars and drivers to pieces. But Formula 1 tracks should be demanding ?ǣ they don?t all need to be as smooth as putting greens.

There’s a line to be drawn between making tracks safer and dumbing them down. Getting rid of the bumps entirely would neuter the challenge of racing at Singapore.

Better than some

I think Singapore is one of the better modern circuits on the calendar. Although its first race was hailed as a sucess by many (though not all) it’s good to see the organisers aren’t resting on their laurels.

As Ollie said:

I?m not sure if Valencia are intending to make any modifications ahead of their second race in 2009, but comparing the two street circuits that debuted in 2008, I?d say Valencia needs more work than Singapore.

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

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

More about Singapore Marina Bay circuit

Advert | Go Ad-free

34 comments on Would you get rid of Singapore’s bumps?

1 2 3
  1. Bassfighter said on 8th January 2009, 7:37

    I only don’t agree with change turn 10. it is a corner where the drivers need to be concentrated every single lap. if they’re not, they’re in the wall, like Raikkonen did. so this is a corner that keeps the drivers awake. keep it as it is.

  2. I think they should keep the bumps and the right angle turns, these are what define a ‘Street Circuit’ to me, and what are missing from Valencia.
    So the engineers have to change the set-up on the cars, and the drivers have to concentrate on the corners – isn’t that the point? If the drivers (especially Kimi) haven’t learnt from last year, then they aren’t worth the money they are paid…..
    On the other hand, the Pit Lane entrance does need to be moved or altered, as that was dangerous!

  3. Journeyer said on 8th January 2009, 8:16

    On Turn 10, I agree with Bassfighter here. Turn 10 produced a lot of incidents throughout the weekend, so it probably means that it is indeed a challenging corner. It’s Wall-of-Championesque, and brilliant!

    As for Turns 16-21, no, I wasn’t under THAT stand. Our stand was just before Turn 16 (the Marina Grandstand as labelled on the map), but the Bay Grandstand is visible from where we are. But yes, I very much like how it goes under the stand. It’s one the things that makes the place unique!

    What would be the ideal solution is for the track to be revised. Move the hole under the stand to the other end of the stand, so that Turns 16 and 17 form the tunnel instead. The drivers enter the tunnel from behind the stand, and exit in front of the stand. From there, it should be a long blast to the final turn and the start-finish straight.

    But changing the Grandstand tunnel will be difficult, as the Grandstand is not an F1-specific structure. Therefore, if this ideal solution isn’t possible, they should keep it as it is.

    Yes, the pitlane entrance needs to be modified, but probably not by much. Turns 1-3 can actually be modified, if Turn 1 is tightened, and Turns 2 and 3 are widened (i.e. the reverse of the current configuration, which has a wide Turn 1 and 2, and a tight Turn 3).

    Lastly, KEEP THE BUMPS! Enough said. ;)

  4. MarkS said on 8th January 2009, 8:19

    I only want to see changes if it improved the changes of overtaking.

    I wouldn’t change turn 10. This is a demanding corner and these are suppose to be the best drivers in the world. They shouldn’t be hitting the curbs. If they make a mistake then they hit the wall and out they go. That seems fair to me.

  5. the hole can’t be moved I think unless they totally rebuild the whole structure. that grandstand has been there for years. it was not built for F1 but for the Singapore national day parade but it clearly came handy for the F1 :-)

    I think some modification shold be done around the Turn 1. I do not know if they can do anything to make it more overtaking friendly but I think they should modify that pit lane exit – very often especially during the practice sessions the slow pitlane exiting cars were getting in the way of the cars on their quick runs

    when it comes to the bumps and Turn 10 – I would not touch that … sometime fixing what ain’t really broken causes more harm than good …

  6. David said on 8th January 2009, 8:42

    Agree with Journeyer. Keep turn 10 as it is (even if I’m not happy with Anderson Bridge course, which seems to me too slow and tight).
    They should change pit entry, probably getting room in the inside of the track before the two last bends, close to the big wheel. That way they could build a longer pit entry lane, outside from the actual track, allowing the drivers to face the last two bends (challenging enough) without the risk of having a slowing car before.

  7. Adrian said on 8th January 2009, 8:43

    The only part I’d change is the pit lane entrance after the problems in the 08 race. Other than that, wait and see how the 09 spec cars cope with it.

  8. Moolander said on 8th January 2009, 9:15

    Sure, the pit lane entrance and exit should never have been accepted and need to be changed.
    However, the most important thing (and this should be the case for all city circuits) is a MANDATORY training in Monaco for all track personnel so that they can learn that removing a crashed car should not take three laps.

  9. Overtaking isnt everything. Its a red herring to chase cars that can easily over take. If you do that then the fast cars out of position whip by and within 5 laps its a procession.

    Great question Keith.

    The FIA should really forget about rules regulating cars, engineers get round efforts to slow them down every time. Id add bumps to the track not question whether existing bumps should stay. Eau Rouge has lost some of its sparkle partly because its so billiard table smooth now. Put in a few adverse cambers and ban spirit levels- just get in a few cowboys to lay the tracks basically. The lads who did my drive for starters! Id even add a bit of dust, engineers would soon enough design cars that were stable in a power slide. Well theyd probably add hoovers to the nose but you take my point.

  10. ajokay said on 8th January 2009, 9:32

    I don’t see why turn 10 can’t just be a simple left hander, seems the best option to me.

    As for the bumps… all tracks should be that bumpy.

    I’m thinking they may reduce the number of laps too, seeing how close the race got to being 2 hours long.

  11. Journeyer said on 8th January 2009, 9:57

    Ajokay said:

    I don’t see why turn 10 can’t just be a simple left hander, seems the best option to me.

    Keith says:

    The compromise of having a straight section of track with an artificial chicane inserted came about because of a lack of available room for run off where the track bends left.

    Ajokay also said:

    I’m thinking they may reduce the number of laps too, seeing how close the race got to being 2 hours long.

    Awww… I like it as it is, how it’s always going to run close to 2 hours. :D

    • ajokay said on 8th January 2009, 10:03

      Oh I loved seeing the drivers emerge from their helmets panting after 2 hours too, I just think maybe the drivers didn’t see it that way and they may ask for the race to be shortened.

      Fair play about the chicane I guess. It did pitch Kimi into the wall, so I can’t complain.

      I liked the 90 degree turns at the end of the lap too. Sure, when an entire track is just 90 degree turns it is a bit naff, but that quick sucession of them, being so narrow and precise, with the tunnel as well, I quite enjoyed it.

  12. I go with straightening the corners out so to speak, by getting rid of the artificial curbs in the corners. This will make the track flow better and hopefully improve the racing. Some friends have suggested that the walls should be the track edge in the corners as well, and no additional curbing should be needed after all this is street racing. Improving the pit entry is a must. As for the natural bumpiness of the track, this is great and makes it more exciting to watch.

  13. The only bit I’d go about changing of Singapore is the Pit Entry and Corners 1-3. There could be a bit more excitement about that first section, to encourage some more over taking, and the pit entry is just dangerous.

    Other than that, keep the chicane and keep the bumps. It made it a challenge for drivers to stay on the track, and isn’t that the what F1 is all about? Obviously, I want it to be safe, but it is supposed to be the ultimate motoring challenge – not something that could be said about Malaysia or Bahrain (unless the challenge is meant to be fighting off boredom).

  14. iceshiel said on 8th January 2009, 10:43

    I know it sounds silly but i think it might be interesting to extend the length of the starting straight.

    Let the track run all the way to Republic Avenue. After that it’s one left turn into Republic Boulevard, which will be long and straight like Raffles Boulevard. By doing that turn 5 will be an overtaking spot just like turn 7.

  15. Alianora La Canta said on 8th January 2009, 11:02

    They can’t shorten the race at Singapore unless the organisers are granted an exemption by the FIA (like Monaco). Total race distance is governed by the number of complete laps it takes to cover 305km, though due to the aforementioned exemption, Monaco is only 269km. Personally, I don’t think it needs shortening. Circuits like the Valencia city race need shortening, but the best solution for that is to make the city segment 0km and transfer the whole thing to the permanent circuit 12km away.

    There was only one modification that I felt was needed to Turn 10 and it was made before qualifying last year. Given how effective the first line of “tortoises” was at deterring chicane-cutters, the second line of them simply made it harder for drivers to do anything about mistakes. While a left-hander could work there, it wouldn’t be as interesting for drivers or spectators. At least Singapore is a track with more than one interesting corner…

    The bumps, while large, were fine, and worked especially well in the night because of the sparks generated. It’s not a comfortable circuit, but then a calender with 18 comfy circuits would be rather dull.

    Whether re-profiling the original complex is worthwhile depends on what they do with it. Those three turns are not doing what they were supposed to do but I’m not sure a better solution could be completed without running into planning permission issues.

    The pit straight is a mess and really, really needs sorting out. I can hope that the 1/2/3 reconfiguration encompasses a better pit exit, but someone needs to tell the organisers that the pit entry needs sorting out as well because it is currently an unnecessary hazard.

    As for the marshalls, their performance was sub-standard. Hopefully a year of doing F1, plus whatever other races they marshall at, will improve performance. One does wonder how the theoretical speed they must presumably have showed at some point (to be permitted to marshal, you have to do efficient work at some race…) was lost when F1 came to town.

1 2 3

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.