Category Archives: Singapore street circuit

Singapore street circuit

Singapore, 2012

How can Singapore’s F1 track be improved?

Singapore, 2012The Singapore Grand Prix has been one of the most successful recent additions to the F1 calendar.

Ahead of last week’s race Bernie Ecclestone and the race organisers announced a five-year extension on the original deal which will keep it on the calendar until at least 2017.

Compare that to the other track which joined the calendar in 2008, Valencia, which did not feature on the provisional 2013 F1 calendar which appeared before the race.

However the Singapore track is not without its shortcomings and the possibility of changing it has been raised.

One of the chief concerns of the race organisers is the costs involved in constructing the circuit for each race and the disruption it causes to the city. They put the total cost of hosting the race at ??75m.

There are also practical problems with the circuit, such as the difficulty of recovering stranded cars. In the five races at the track so far, the safety car has been deployed eight times.

The slow average speed around the lap means the race can fail to go the distance, as happened this year.

One part of the circuit which drivers would like to see altered is also one of few corners on the track to have earned a name: the Singapore Sling chicane at turn ten.

Sebastian Vettel explained the drivers’ objection to it during the post-qualifying press conference: “I think we’ve discussed it many times, every year actually, to find a better solution in turn ten which probably requires to take a little bit of land from the cricket club for those couple of days or maybe remove the pavement for three/four days.

“I don’t know, but if you consider the costs for this whole event, I think taking a pavement away and putting it back on shouldn’t be a big problem,” he added. “In terms of safety I think that’s one of the worst corners we have on the calendar, because you’ve got these big kerbs, big bumps and it’s a bit tricky to find a better solution right now with the space we have, but I think that’s something we need to work on.”

Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado backed the world champion’s view.

Changing the Singapore track

A straightfoward way to tackles some of the problems could be to direct the cars left instead of right at turn eight (by the red marker on the above map), rejoining the present circuit at what is currently turn 14.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Singapore, 2012This would reduce the length of track which needs to be illuminated and cut out some section of track where recovering a car is difficult without a safety car. Although it would mean losing features such as the Andersen bridge, it would cut out the drivers’ least favourite corner (pictured).

With the present track length just over 5km, cutting this much of it would bring it close to the FIA’s minimum length for F1 tracks of 3.5km. A Grand Prix would likely have over 80 laps to reach the minimum race distance.

As Singapore is a street circuit, the opportunities for change are limited by the surrounding network of roads. But there may be opportunities to increase the use of purpose-built sections, such as the start/finish area.

Although Singapore has struggled to produce good races (averaging 6.3 in Rate the Race over the past four years), it has proved a popular addition to the calendar and those who’ve been to the race seem to have enjoyed it very much.

Whatever changes they make, hopefully the organisers see fit to keep it as a proper street circuit where drivers have to cope with a bumpy surface, a twisty track and foreboding walls.

What do you like or dislike about the Singapore Grand Prix track? What needs to be changed – and how? Have your say in the comments.

Debates and polls

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Image ?? Sahara Force India F1 Team, Singapore GP/Sutton

Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Singapore, 2011

Singapore agrees new five-year F1 race deal

Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Singapore, 2011The Singapore Grand Prix is set to remain on the F1 calendar after Bernie Ecclestone and the race promoters agreed terms for a contract extension.

Ecclestone told the Singaporean newspaper Today the government will announce the deal shortly.

The F1 boss said: “Everything that was in the way of the Singapore Grand Prix continuing for another five years has been cleared.

“I’m happy that this is out of the way because Singapore has been good to F1 and the night race has also been equally good for Singapore.”

The Singapore Grand Prix was added to the F1 calendar in 2008. The new deal will see the street race remain on the calendar for a further five years beyond the end of this season.

Update: Singapore have denied a deal has been reached.

2013 F1 calendar

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Kubica downplays Singapore chances

Robert Kubica says he’s looking forward to racing on Singapore’s streets this weekend:

There are lots of bumps, kerbs, and bits of track where you have to keep some margin for mistakes because the walls are very close ?ǣ especially in the last sector. I always enjoy driving there and, although the race is very long and demanding, it?s a good track for racing.

Singapore is one of the hardest races of the entire season. The circuit layout is very bumpy and you?re fighting the car all the time. You?re continually in the corners and the only place where you get a breather for a couple of seconds is on the start-finish straight.

After this, you also have the strange timetable that means we work late, go to bed late and wake up in the afternoon. You don?t feel any difference during the race weekend itself, but each year it has felt a bit strange to come back to a normal schedule afterwards.
Robert Kubica

However he’s not sure he will be able to repeat the team’s Monaco performance, where he qualified on the front row of the grid and finished third:

I think we must be careful not to take anything for granted. It?s true that Singapore is the closest circuit to Monaco in the calendar, but Monaco was over four months ago.

I?d like the car to be as competitive and easy to drive as it was back then, because it makes it easy for me to push straight away and easier for the engineers to work on extracting the final bit of performance. But things change quickly in Formula 1 and it may not be the case.

My approach will be as usual: I will keep in mind that we are fighting in a very strong pack of cars, and lately teams like Williams have come very strong, so we need to wait and see. But I?m definitely looking forward to a good performance.
Robert Kubica

Kubica also explained the unusual steps the drivers have to take to cope with the race running at night:

The approach I took last year to the unusual schedule meant that I was going to bed very late ?ǣ about four in the morning. After I went to sleep, I would wake up about three or four in the afternoon.

But what is strange is that you don?t really feel the effects of this unusual routine ?ǣ probably because the adrenaline and concentration is so high when you are at the track. It?s only after the weekend you feel a bit strange.
Robert Kubica

Team mate Vitaly Petrov has raced at night before at Qatar in GP2.

But Singapore is the first of five races at tracks he has no prior experience of. He said:

It will be a new challenge for me. I don?t know these circuits at all so I will do the maximum to prepare for them. I have been watching videos of previous races and reading data.

We also hope that our car will be much more competitive in Singapore and for the last few races. I look forward to racing there and to the challenge that lies ahead. There are a lot of difficult corners in Singapore and, from what I saw in the videos, the track is bumpy, the car is jumping a lot and it looks easy to lock the wheels.
Vitaly Petrov

2010 Singapore Grand Prix
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Singapore Grand Prix grid

1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’47.891
2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – 1’48.204
3. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota – 1’48.348
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault – 1’48.722
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault – 1’49.054
6. Timo Glock, Toyota – 1’49.180
7. Robert Kubica, BMW – 1’49.514
8. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’49.778
9. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’48.828*
10. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota – 1’47.013
11. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’47.141
12. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1’47.177
13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’47.369
14. Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’47.413
15. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes – 1’48.231
16. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’48.340
17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari – 1’48.350
18. Romain Grosjean, Renault – 1’48.544
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes – 1’48.792
20. Nick Heidfeld, BMW – 1’49.307**

*Five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change
**Sent to the back of the grid after discovered to be running underweight in qualifying

Singapore Grand Prix TV Times

Here are the times for the BBC?s F1 coverage of this weekend?s Singapore.

Friday 25th September

10:55-12:35 – Singapore Grand Prix first practice (BBC red button and online)
14:25-16:05 – Singapore Grand Prix second practice (BBC red button and online)

Saturday 26th September

11:55-13:05 – Singapore Grand Prix third practice (BBC red button and online)
14:00-16:20 – Singapore Grand Prix qualifying (BBC One, red button and online)

Sunday 27th September

12:10-15:00 Singapore Grand Prix (BBC One, red button and online)

Please post details of coverage in your area below.

Australian GP hit by sponsor withdrawals

Several major F1 sponsors have cut their spending on the opening round of the season in Australia, facing its promoters with the prospect of losing significant amounts of money.

According to the Herald Sun BMW has axed its ??450,000 (??507,000) corporate hospitality budget for the race, joining Foster’s in cutting its spending on the race.

Race title sponsors ING has already announced it is ending its Formula 1 sponsorship at the end of 2009.

Autosport’s Dieter Rencken (subscription required) adds that moving the Grand Prix to a later start time of 5pm to suit European television audiences better has had several negative effects:

Pitched midway between Paddock Club and top line grandstand prices, a raft of corporate suites mainly situated on the runs to and from Turn 1 provide Australia’s high-rollers with civilised race experiences. Fine food and wines are served in air-conditioned comfort but in a more relaxed atmosphere than found in the stifling Paddock Club has in the past 10,000 to 15,000 booted and suited punters.

Being captains of industry they have generally accepted invitations on the basis of being able to head for Sydney, Perth, Adelaide or Brisbane by air on Sunday evening and be in their office with the kangaroos on Monday morning. No more is that possible…

Australia is not the only F1 venue facing a falling demand from spectators. Tickets sales for the Malaysian Grand Prix are 20% down on the same time last year.

Singapore has sold 60% of its 4,000 Paddock Club places since they went on sale on February 6th. Paddock Club tickets for its inaugural race last year went on sale on November 28th 2007, and 3,000 had been sold by January 2008.

Read more: 2009 Australian Grand Prix

Ten ways to pick an F1 race to visit

Which F1 race do you most want to see?
Which F1 race do you most want to see?

With the 2009 F1 season almost upon us fans will be sorting out their plans to go to a Grand Prix.

So how do you go about picking which race to go to? Here are ten ways to help make up your mind. Continue reading

Name Singapore’s turns and win F1 tickets

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

The Singapore Grand Prix organisers are asking fans to come up with names for three of the corners on the Marina Bay circuit.

The circuit’s website says:

Readers are invited to send in their suggestions from now until February 28 to win attractive prizes. Three lucky winners will each receive a three-day 2009 FORMULA 1?? SingTel Singapore Grand Prix [ticket] for the grandstand closest to the turn they?ve named, as well as a pit lane tour. The best overall contributor will also get a two-night stay in a five-star trackside hotel.

It wants names that are no longer than three words, have a local flavour and include the word ‘turn’ or ‘corner’.

What do you think would be good names for the corners? Post your suggestions below – and don’t forget to enter the competition!

More on the Singapore Grand Prix

2009 F1 tracks compared

F1 cars exceed 350kph on Monza's long straights
F1 cars exceed 350kph on Monza's long straights

After looking at the 2009 F1 cars from various angles many people have remarked on how different many of the designs are.

But if we take a look at the circuits alongside one another it seems F1 tracks are becoming increasingly similar. Continue reading

How Hermann Tilke conquered the F1 calendar, 1996-2009 (Video)

Hermann Tilke's A1 Ring was first used in 1997
Hermann Tilke's A1 Ring was first used in 1997

Yesterday’s discussion about a potential Rome Grand Prix circuit turned into a debate about Hermann Tilke’s abilities as an F1 track designer. Daniel put forward the case for the prosecution:

Why do they still get this guy to build tracks? Every track he has designed is boring. With all the new tracks that have appeared in the last five or six years, the old ones are still the most entertaining: look at Spa and Monza.

Paul responded:

Tilke is rather limited to what he can produce by (presumably) FOM/Bernie and FIA regulations [...] I really don?t see any bad track he?s produced aside from Valencia, and we only have fifty or so laps to base that upon.

Has Hermann Tilke ruined the F1 calendar? Let’s take a look at what he’s done for F1 track design in the last 14 years. Continue reading