Singapore Grand Prix preview

Two weeks on from Hamilton’s win at the Italian Grand Prix, and under the stars, the streets of Singapore provide the next battle ground for the Formula One World Championship.

Lewis Hamilton’s win in Italy has reduced Nico Rosberg’s championship lead to 22 points. But now as Formula One flies away from Europe once more, the championship enters round 14. With just six chequered flags remaining in 2014, Hamilton needs to fly around the streets of Singapore and beyond if he is to mount a challenge going into the final rounds.

For Singapore, their F1 history all began in 2008 as they became the first country ever to host a Formula One Grand Prix under the night sky. Since then the streets of Singapore have been one of the standout occasions on the F1 calendar, and has now been joined by Bahrain as Formula One’s night races.

The circuit layout around the Marina Bay area encompasses the public roads along with a permanent pit and paddock area. In order for the race to be viable, the circuits designers were issued with the task of providing a source of light to replicate daytime conditions but minimise the glare and reflections from wet surfaces. Over the course of the weekend, around 108,000 metres of power cables, 240 steel pylons and around 1,600 light projectors with a total power requirement of 3,180,000 watts will be used. These figures are from a formula1.com article produced for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.

a diagram of the Singapore Grand Prix circuit from formula1.com

a diagram of the Singapore Grand Prix circuit from formula1.com

The circuit follows the flow of the public roads around the Marina Bay area in order to create the 5.065 km track. In total, a driver will cover 308.828 km over the course of the race as he battles fast straights, tight corners and two DRS zones.

The pit straight and pit lane facilities mark the only permanent part of the circuit, whilst also carrying the first of the two DRS zones. At the start of the race, expect to see drivers venturing out into the run off area as the field squeezes through the left hander.

From here onwards, drivers will begin to form a queue for the run down to turn five.The short burst of corners between turn 2 and five can provide a daring overtake chance but if the overtake is not on, it may be better to wait it out.

On the exit of turn 5, a good launch is vital for either overtaking or defending as the driver with DRS will be looking to get the power down as early as possible to maximise the chances of getting ahead. Whereas, if the defending driver can get the better launch out of turn 5, their chances of defending will be greater.

The next major corner of the track is turn 10. The Singapore sling is one of the faster corners of the track and since is re-design for the 2013 Grand Prix, a fair less challenging corner than original. When the circuit was first designed, the Singapore sling was in no means a great corner, instead the challenge almost became just to survive the corner. Originally the corner was a chicane, where if you went over the curb you were almost guaranteeing contact with another driver or the wall. But now the corner has been reduced to simply contain a single point left-handed corner.

After this, the track briefly opens up for one more long straight which ends with a heavy breaking area perfect for overtakes. Then from this point on a stint of short straights and tight corners require careful driving. One corner in particular is turn 18, which has claimed the front wing and even the front corners of many drivers over the years as they clatter into the barrier.

But regardless of the corners, one of if not the most historic moment in the history of the Singapore Grand Prix was the Renault crash controversy with Nelson Piquet Jr all the way back in 2008. In the inaugural race, Renault ordered Nelson Piquet Jr to crash on purpose and bring out the safety car to hand the lead of the race to Fernando Alonso after he carried out an early pit stop and had started in 15th.

The controversy lead to a formal investigation by the FIA and resulted in the Renault F1 team receiving a disqualification from Formula One, which was suspended for two years pending any further comparable rule infringements. Along with former team-principal Flavio Briatore, who was suspended from all Formula One events and FIA-sanctioned events indefinitely, whilst Pat Symonds (the current Chief Technical Officer to Williams F1) received a five-year ban.

Hopefully there wont be any controversial scenarios this year or any more hot incidents between the Mercedes men for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix, which is exclusively live on tv in the UK on SkySportsF1.

Thursday 18th September:
11:00 – F1 Drivers Press Conference

Friday 19th September:
10:45 – Live Singapore F1 GP: Practice 1
14:15 – Live Singapore F1 GP: Practice 2
16:15 – F1 Team Principal Press Conference
18:30 – The F1 Show

Saturday 6th September:
10:45 – Live Singapore F1 GP: Practice 3
13:00 – Live Singapore F1 GP: Qualifying

Sunday 7th September:
11:30 – Live Singapore F1 GP: Track Parade
12:00 – Live Singapore F1 GP: Race Build Up
13:00 – Live Singapore F1 GP: The Race
15:45 – Live Singapore F1 GP: Paddock Live
18:30 – Singapore F1 GP: Highlights

As for the BBC, their tv coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend kicks into action on Saturday with highlights of qualifying and is as follows:

Saturday 5 September
17:10 – Singapore F1 GP: Qualifying highlights, BBC One

Sunday 6 September
19:00 – Singapore F1 GP: Race Highlights, BBC One