Malaysian race organisers concerned over Singapore

F1 Fanatic round-up

In today’s round-up: competition from Singapore is a concern for the Malaysian GP organisers.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Malaysia’s Formula One circuit loses lustre (Yahoo!)

“Having Singapore next to us for F1 does not help and our biggest competitor is the television as many people prefer to watch the race from the comfort of their homes.”

The wings of change (Renault)

??The moveable front flap was brought in to try and assist with overtaking, but in practice it didn?t really make a difference. Instead it was used as a device to optimise car balance as the tyres degraded and the fuel load reduced. That?s why the teams voted to remove adjustable front wings and try a new initiative with the rear wings with the intention of generating better overtaking opportunities.??

Will Frankfurt’s glitzy F1 IPO stall? (Reuters)

“‘The IPO is very interesting, and I am sure that it will be watched closely by Formula One fans, but also by investors and other teams, like Fiat’s Ferrari, which is allegedly also considering an IPO of its team,’ Markus Huber, a Frankfurt-based trader at the ETX Capital brokerage told Reuters.”

Win a day in the life of a McLaren engineer (The Big Bang)

“McLaren Automotive and Big Bang are offering one lucky reader and their family the chance to take part in a guided tour of the home of McLaren.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Kevin has an interesting take on the revelations in the new book on Bernie Ecclestone:

I think when you read of all the politics coming out of a book like this, (admittedly very entertaining reading), I have a much greater respect for the drivers. They live and breath in this web of Chinese whispers and backstabbing. It?s a real challenge to push all of this stuff out of your mind on concentrate on, what we all love, racing!

F1 Fanatic Google Calendar

The F1 Fanatic Google Calendar has been updated and now has all the times for each session of each of this year’s races. It’s available in a range of formats to suit different calendar programs and mobile devices:

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to ivz and Jake!

On this day in F1

Ten years ago today Michael Schumacher was faced with court proceedings from Bell Helmets who claimed he had used a rival product in violation of their contract.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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73 comments on Malaysian race organisers concerned over Singapore

  1. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 25th February 2011, 0:09

    Happy birthday to ivz and Jake!

    As for the COTD, I agree, it would be tough as a driver to concentrate on your job with all of that going on around you all the time.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 0:09

    I’m not sure what the Malaysians are worried about, since one race is in April and the other is in September. And with the rise of Tony Fernandes and Petronas’ heavy involvement in the sport through Mercedes, I don’t think they have to worry about losing funding.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 25th February 2011, 0:24

      It’s fairly clear, a portion of their audience might choose there race this year will be in Singapore.

      Anyway, looks the like the organisers are commited, the sports growing in the country, an locals will always be more likley to pick this than the Singapore. Spose they face the same troubles European race’s might well put up with as a matter of course.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 0:37

        Which is comletely offset by the way Singapore is faced with the exact same problem – spectators might decide to go to Sepang this year. Especially since Sepang is a permanent facility and has better lines of sight around the circuit. I’ve been to street circuits before, and while part of the appeal of them is the way you can hear the engine sounds growing as they echo off the walls until they’re right on top of you and the cars burst out into sight, it does wear off quite quickly. Arguably, Sepang is in a better position of the two. Especially since it’s a fantastic circuit.

        • John H said on 25th February 2011, 1:10

          It doesn’t matter. The fact that there is a choice at all is enough to sway people one way or the other if they’re going to 1 GP a year.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 25th February 2011, 1:45

            What John H said, the relative merits of each circuit are probably only really apparent to a hardcore fan.

            If you live in the reigon, an can go to but 1 race. The other is loosing your custom, hence Malaysia’s concern. Simplez ;)

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 1:51

            The other is loosing your custom, hence Malaysia’s concern.

            But Malaysia isn’t facing any problems that Singapore doesn’t have to deal with, so it evens itself out.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th February 2011, 6:50

            But Malaysia isn’t facing any problems that Singapore doesn’t have to deal with, so it evens itself out.

            That might be true, but Malaysia is certainly facing problems they did not have before the Singapore GP was on the grid.

            I suppose this might be a bit for the government to come up with funds for the roof and floodlights to hold it at night.

            Organising the concerts etc. or an original take on that would help as well, but does it make sense to do so in Malaysia?

          • There are nine races in Europe which are all within a fairly close proximity to each other, and yet they always get capacity (or near capacity) crowds all the time.

            Malaysia just isnt interested enough in F1 yet. Perhaps this year will be different with the two Lotus teams, both with heavy Malaysian funding and backing.

        • Rob Haswell said on 25th February 2011, 12:15

          No way, as someone who’s never been to either I would be far, far more inclined to go to Singapore than Malaysia.

    • Pinball said on 25th February 2011, 7:49

      I’m giving some consideration to going to the Malaysian Grand Prix next year. Tickets this year are dirt cheap. I worked out I could go to Malaysian Grand Prix for the same price (including flights, accommodation, tickets) as the Australian Grand Prix, and I live in Australia.

      You can get race tickets to Malaysia for as low as $10 Australian.

    • Charlie said on 25th February 2011, 8:25

      Perhaps they’re worried about falling ticket sales and losing buckets of money, like it says in the article? Did you bother to read it? You comment sounds glib.

      The problem with Malaysia is that the circuit is an hour’s drive out of Kuala Lumpur and the only thing next to it is the airport and no other amenities, so it’s really inconveniently placed. Add to that the declining quality of the infrastructure and you wonder why anyone bothers at all.

      Smacks of building What Bernie Wants without actually thinking about how it would work in the real world.

    • I think Singapore and Malaysia are on the same level, I don’t see why Malaysia should worry and Singapore shouldn’t.

      • As a Malaysian, I can tell you that most of us would prefer to pay a little more to drive/fly down to Singapore to watch the race. Why? Because the infrastructure here is crap. From filthy toilets to rude stewards to the lack of activity in general around the race weekend (barring the race itself), Singapore is such a livewire compared to this stick-in-the-mud.

        Pity, because in my opinion we have one of Herman Tilke’s better designed tracks.

      • Marky said on 4th March 2011, 3:43

        Same Level? You are kidding. They are world’s apart.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 0:34

    A feature article on the progress of the new Silverstone upgrade. There’s some really interesting stuff going on, like the way the pit lane has been offset at a five degree angle to make it easier for race control and fans to see what is happening. And the pit lane has been deliberately designed to minimise the amount of time the driver spends in the slow lane, the effect of which is magnified by the way the other cars will be slowing down to negotiate Vale and Club Corner; drivers going into the pits will have an extra 150m of track to accelerate down while everyone else brakes. And then there’s the split start-finish line, with the finish just 100m out of Club. It was apparently designed that way because Club can be tricky to navigate, and if two drivers are fighting for the win – which I personally doubt they will be close enough to do – then one might get over-defensive and make a mistake coming out of Club.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 25th February 2011, 3:43

      Thanks for the link. That’s really interesting how they’ve tried to minimize the pit lane time disadvantage. With the degradation of the Pirellis I wonder if we’ll see 1 more pitstop at Silverstone this year than the average race due to the pitstop disadvantage being mitigated by this layout.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 5:10

        There’s a lot riding on this working out. If Silverstone is a hit – and I like to think it was last year, because it added some more fast corners (even if it cut Bridge out, whatever challenge that corner posed was negated by downforce years ago) – then Populous might get a few more circuit design gigs. It will be hard to break Tilke’s monopoly, but I actually think they could work together rather than competing with one another.

        Because of Tilke’s experience, he should get the primary design job. His whole process involves an entire month of scouting out the location before they even come up with so much as a single design. He knows what he’s doing, and hopefully Bernie Ecclestone will bring him into the design process sooner and give him some say in the land that gets chosen (because the land is a major contributor to the elevation of the circuit). Tilke should design the circuit up to a point, and then submit drafts to the teams. The teams would provide feedback on each, and settle on a final design as one. But rather than provide the feedback to Tilke, they give it to Populous, who until this point have been compeltely blind to the process. Populous integrate the feedback from the teams into the final design and then return control back to Tilke GmbH, who then oversee construction because they’re good at getting it done on time. And then have a whole heap of resources that Populous do not. I was reading an article on the site of the USGP the other day, and Tilke employs a soil and chemical engineer full-time whose sole responsibility is in formulating the composition of the tarmac. This guy is apparently so good, he can mix up a surface that can have as much grip as a set of brand-new supersoft tyres or as little as an ice rink and everything in between. It’s hard to compete with something like that.

        • The teams?

          I don’t think it should be up to the players which field they play at…..

          Although I like Tilke and populous working together, I just don’t see it happening.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 7:30

            Tilke has been in the habit of sending preliminary data to the teams for a while now. He did it for India, and for Austin and Sochi. The influence of the teams is minimal, but significant. And it’s not like one team will have more say over the other. Basically, they are given a final draft of the circuit plan and are asked for input. They use the information given to construct a model of the circuit in their simulators, and then supply feedback based on it. Their suggestions are usually along the lines of changing the angle of a particular corner or the approach to a braking zone. They’re subtle changes and not something you would see between the final draft and the building, but the teams do have influence. For example, I believe they had turns five and six of the Jaypee Group Circuit opened up so that turns seven, eight and nine would be faster and less like a chicane.

          • Pinball said on 25th February 2011, 9:21

            I have to agree with Mike. In my opinion the teams should have absolutely no say in the track layout.

            Furthermore there seems to be a belief that only “racers” are able to design circuits. I don’t believe that for a second. This is one of the main problems with modern circuit design. There are a select privileged few who design the majority of the world’s circuits. This is why I think nearly every new circuit turns out almost the same. However there are millions of civil engineers, and architects who have the required skills, and the creativity, yet are never given the opportunity.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 11:36

            In my opinion the teams should have absolutely no say in the track layout.

            Why not? It’s not like one team will have all the say and make a circuit that will benefit them and them alone. Like I said, the changes they make are slight, like altering the angle of a bend ever so slightly.

          • Pinball said on 25th February 2011, 20:24

            Why not?

            Race teams are interested in one thing, getting their car or bike around the circuit as fast as possible. Because of this the natural instinct of any race team that has input into a circuit design is ask to have the sections that are going to compromise a perfect setup adjusted.

            A race track is meant to be a test, asking the teams for their input is like a maths teacher taking an exam to students and asking them which parts they don’t want to do.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th February 2011, 9:49

            I saw a tweet from Vicky Chandhok linking to an article of how the India track was changed after feedback from Wurz and Schumi.

            “We will be the first circuit in the world to have a faster corner into a shorter apex, which means we are widening three corners to create a shorter apex at Turns 3, 6, and 11 – this was put forth by the FIA through Charlie Whiting.

            I think this is pretty good, shows Tilke is improving on himself with a bit more competition.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 25th February 2011, 7:26

      Cheers PM, exciting stuff. Hopefully with the finish line so far back there will be the longest run down to the first corner possible on this configuration, Copse is a great first corner but the cars never really had much time to make up distance on others before going in. Will miss the battles going into Maggots, but I think the Arena section will offer just as many.

      I think it’s brilliant Silverstone will negate as much as possible the penalty of taking a pit stop, it offers more scope for extra-stop strategies, which will complement this year’s tyres.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 7:42

        Actually, it’s a split start-finish. The start and finish lines are in separate places. The finish line itself is one hundred metres out of Club, but in order to accomodate the grid, the start line it two hundred metres further down the road. The new main straight is actually shorter than the old one. At a crude estimate – using the GMaps Pedometer (Google Maps hasn’t been updated to show the new layout, so I had to guess) – the old straight is 400m long, but the new straight is only 300m. So If I’m right, the cars will be starting pratically on top of Abbey, though there’s likely to be a bit of a run-up. The cars will probably still be accelerating through Abbey and Village. The only other circuits like it – with the cars accelerating through the first corners – are Suzuka and Valencia (ironically, they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum), and even then, they still have a significant run-up. The FIA regulations dictate that the length of the main straight depends on the speed that the cars can take the first corner. Populous can get away with it at Silverstone because the new Abbey is a very fast, open corner. It doesn’t require any braking. The placement of pole should also be unique because both Abbey and Village are fast; the pole side will depend on the approach to The Loop.

        And there’s also that massive bump on the approach that should make things interesting, unless the BRDC caved to the complaints and ironed it out for this year. I also noticed a while ago that the pit exit is almost like Abu Dhabi; it dips down through a corner and then pulls back up and looks quite narrow because the angle of the exit corner is such that it will also be fast. Part of the circuit may actually hang over it.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th February 2011, 7:42

        I agree, looks great. Populous really are doing the best they can to adress all fears everyone had with circuit updates ruining the tracks the past 15 years.

        From what I heard Tilke was already reacting different in Korea and India, whil Austin has been pushing him to improve his game as well. Good to see him have competition and let us hope we will see a popular circuit done by Populous soon!

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 8:27

          I don’t think Populous set out to create circuits that were as different to Tilke as they could be. Nor do I think they set out to create circuits that would be popular with fans, or circutis that were reactions to popular demand. I think they simply set out to create the best circuits that they can, just as Hermann Tilke does.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 25th February 2011, 20:10

            I think you’re right. Tilke certainly doesn’t intend to build boring circuits, and to a certain extent his hands have been tied in terms of what the FIA will allow. The fact that he’s got a little competition who appear to have successfully altered a circuit, combined with the mandate Bernie’s supposedly given him to build more exciting circuits should make for some better racing on his upcoming circuits. We’ve yet to see what a dry race in Korea looks like, but I still have high hopes for that circuit, and both India and Austin look promising as well.

  4. AlonsoWDC (@alonsowdc) said on 25th February 2011, 1:13

    I’ve never been to a street event, but mark me down as facility when it comes to attending a race.
    Sepang is one of my favorite circuits. Probably T10 of the F1 venues I’ve seen since the early 1990s.

  5. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 25th February 2011, 2:03

    I too think Malaysia have nothing to worry, 1st both races have a good gap between them. I have some university friends there who says that they go to the GP for the last 4 years over Singapore as it’s less expensive & easy to effort for students like them.They also said that the accommodation is good as well as the service.

  6. sato113 (@sato113) said on 25th February 2011, 2:17

    get rid of singapore or at least make the straight after turn 5 til turn 7 longer. imagine last year’s race but with an overtaking opportunity for vettel…

    • Scottie (@scottie) said on 25th February 2011, 3:17

      I guess it would have been more boring… Vettel, if he got past, would just walk away as opposed to being glued to the gearbox.

      I guess it would have been nice to have a chance at all, but not too easy! :)

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th February 2011, 5:57

      I think Singapore is quite a decent street circuit. Kubica and Webber showed us last year that it is possible to overtake, and with the Pirrellis this year, it could be quite a good race even with the existing circuit layout.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 25th February 2011, 7:32

      Singapore is pretty decent, just needs a few tweaks. I think they’re getting rid of 16-17-18 which is a shame because the cars under the grandstand gimmick was quite cool, shame there were never any decent TV angles of it, which baffles me no end. If it were up to me I’d get rid of 18-19-20 and turn the final corner into a Bahrain-style Z, that would give us some overtaking I feel. The first few turns need improving too, there’s not enough run-off to turn it into a heavy braking zone, so a sharp hairpin could help create some excitement at the start. I’d get rid of that stupid Sling too, just make it a tight 100-degree corner with a little switchback.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 7:51

        think they’re getting rid of 16-17-18

        I’ve heard the same. That, and they are planning to go around the War Memorial rather than weaving around the inside of it. However, that story was reported a year ago, and I haven’t heard two words about it since. I don’t think it will happen, because the organisers need to apply for homologation, and that will take time. Unless they’ve already done so and have not said anything about it.

        which is a shame because the cars under the grandstand gimmick was quite cool,

        It is also slow and has a horrible rhythm.

        I’d get rid of that stupid Sling too, just make it a tight 100-degree corner with a little switchback.

        The corner is made that way because there is no run-off on the outside.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 25th February 2011, 20:16

          It would be interesting if they went around the outside of the war memorial. That would lengthen the straight between turns 6&7 considerably, possibly offering an overtaking spot.

  7. Jay Menon said on 25th February 2011, 3:26

    Its sad really. The track has become shabby over the years, due to the fact that it been loosing money every year.

    I think the track itself is great. One of my favorite corners in F1 is the double right hand Turn 7 -Turn 8 taken flat out!! I’ll be sitting at Grand Stand F this year right opposite 7 and 8.

    F1 has grown in popularity over the years, perviously MotoGP was more famous, we’ve had bikes round the old Batu Tiga track since the early 90s. Lot more has gone in developing talent as well.

    The problem is not with ths sport nor the organizers, its the people. People in Malaysia arent passionate about Motor Racing, we’re more inclined to football and badminton. If you had Man Utd v Chelsea played in Malaysia, it will be a sell out!

    13 years is too short a time to ignite the passion, it will take many more years for the public to actually love the sport. With the competitiveness of the current grid, I’m fortunes will turn and more people will frequent the GP.

    Im all for a night race. It will a lot better from the heat perspective!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th February 2011, 7:54

      If it’s a night race, it might need to be moved. It’s currently in the middle of the wet season, and while a wet night race would look epic, there are serious concerns over visibility. The problem is that if the circuit is shuffled back to a September date, then it’s directly competing with Singapore. And it’s not like they could swap Singapore and Sepang about so that Singapore is run in April, because they’re only ~250km apart and so subject to the same weather patterns.

      • Actually, the weather patterns are quite different. Singapore is pretty much the same all year around (hot and wet) whereas KL has distinct seasons (hot and and hotter, wet and dry). Oct. or Nov. would be best weather wise for Malyasia- Dec. or Jan. would be even better, but that’s not possible, I guess.

    • Wakenabeb said on 25th February 2011, 13:51

      Hey! Me too! I’m in F as well. It was so hard to find friends who want to go. I nearly bought just one ticket to go alone but finally managed to convince an aunt to join me. I have 3 younger brothers and none want to even come with me.

  8. manatcna said on 25th February 2011, 4:08

    We need pix of Silverstone

  9. f1yankee said on 25th February 2011, 4:34

    great comment, kevin!

  10. quick_kill said on 25th February 2011, 4:40

    i think they need to put a nearby mall or a resort near it.. or try to use the circuit as much as possible & not treat it as it is but a venue, a park, concert area, theme park.. like in Hungary.. what makes singapore great, there are malls lining the track so you could cool yourself, buy food outside(instead of eating inside) or even go to your hotel for a nap. they have so many amenities near the track.

    • Nas-T said on 25th February 2011, 5:39

      marina bay circuit is street circuit in the city…of course there are mall and other stuff around it.

    • Andy C said on 26th February 2011, 10:57

      Or like the nurburgring perhaps :-)

      for any of you not familiar with the story, google “save the ring nurburgring”

      Doing that in germany has had quite the opposite effect, with the prices being driven up for testing teams and the public on the nordschliefe

  11. dunno why Malaysia feels that? they have 4 lotus cars… sure that would bring more people on race weekends…

  12. Calum said on 25th February 2011, 8:10

    Get ready for Cristian Horner on the BBC Breakfast sofa this morning. The RBR Team Principle is talking about the new season within the next 30 mins, for sure! :P

  13. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th February 2011, 8:22

    Yesterday we remembered Spyker for their orange livery. Seems the owner has done some financial shovelling around after buying SAAB and now sells out the sportscar part!

    No wonder they did not really make F1 work, when the F1 cars made up about 1/10th of total production!

    • verstappen said on 25th February 2011, 9:52

      Victor Muller is the Collin Kolles of the car industry… In the end it will work and I do believe in his plans with Saab.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th February 2011, 11:07

        I do think this means he is getting serious about getting SAAB to work. No way he could have focussed on both at the same time.

        Will be interesting to see, weather the 2 companies will keep working together (with the Saab volumes bringing purchasing power for Spyker).

  14. Maciek said on 25th February 2011, 8:39

    Agree with others – great comment Kevin. Thinking about it that way, it’s really not very surprising that some drivers get drawn into it. I don’t mean to be starting a discussion on who, how much, where, when. Just saying: it doesn’t feel like a healthy environment, ethically speaking; especially in the Bernie, Max, Flavio years. It would sound like politics in ancient Rome mixed with Shakespearian intrigue if it had any class, but it’s more like a bad soap opera with lots of evil looks and revenge going around.

  15. Alex Bkk said on 25th February 2011, 9:34

    As a Ferrari fan I just love to reading “McLaren and Big Bang in the same sentence! :)

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