Singapore Grand Prix: A preview to the F1 Night Race

A look ahead to the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix.

Lights on and away we go! The F1 night race has come around for its annual appearance on the calendar, as the 2015 season travels east again with Singapore the destination. The race around the streets of the Marina Bay has been held since 2008, with three men taking victory but will Hamilton equal Vettel’s record of three Singapore GP wins or can the Ferrari driver get his fourth win in Singapore and third of the year.

Sebastian heads to Singapore on the back of a second place finish at his Ferrari team’s home race, the Italian Grand Prix, and while in the competitive Red Bull he took three wins in a row around the Marina Bay street circuit. But to get his fourth this weekend he will need to have the edge on form-man Hamilton and his team-mate, Rosberg, who is in dire need of a win if he is to keep a foot in the title race.

Things in Italy were not entirely to plan for Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes as the dominant team found themselves running under pressure rear left tyres on both cars and Nico’s engine packing up as the race wound down. But the FIA deemed the team had done no wrong regarding the tyres and they got away without any penalties, any repeat however could see a more strict look on things.

Hamilton will be hoping there is no repeat as he looks to match Ayrton Senna’s record of eight poles in a row and go on to claim another win in 2015. If Lewis does take pole on Saturday, his run of eight in a row will also be in one season compared to Senna’s split over two. As it stands, Hamilton has started one less race than Senna but has won one less as well. Meaning he could match two of Senna’s records with the same race starts as the Brazilian as the Brit looks to match his hero’s record of three world titles. Meaning this weekend, and this season as a whole, is big for the Brit.

Singapore GP 2014 - Hamilton - Copyright Tetsuji Sakakibara

If Lewis is to take the win on Sunday or pole on Saturday, he will need to have the edge over his rivals around the 23 corner, anti-clockwise, 5.065km street circuit held in the marina and under the look of the Marina Bay Sands.

For this year’s race, the circuit has been modified slightly in the middle sector with the right-handed turn 11 now using less of a curved corner to make a more direct run into T12, which now flows onto the left hand lane of the Anderson Bridge in order to create more overtaking into the T13 hairpin, which has also been widened by one metre.

Other than those modifications, the circuit remains the same as last year with two DRS zones along the pit straight and the long run between turn five and seven. With no other changes, the difficult turn 18 remains the same and will be a danger for the drivers this weekend as they flow under the grandstand and will come close to the barrier that has ended many of drivers races’.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 10.27.12

McLaren-Honda will be hoping to be closer to the pack this weekend after the power circuits of Spa and Monza are out of the way and the streets of Singapore should allow them to mask their power deficit. Last time out in Monza, the long straights showed McLaren were losing around two seconds on the straights to the leading Mercedes team compared to just a few tenths in the corners, which left them sitting ducks to most drivers on the grid.

Red Bull should also have a better weekend at the Marina Bay Circuit with the track suiting their usual downforce heavy and planted set-up, helping them get in contention for a podium finish or a win should a Merc slip up.

On the other hand, teams like Force India and Lotus could find themselves further back due than at Spa and Monza due to the less power-dependant nature of the streets going against their recent advantages.

Singapore GP 2009 - Copyright Andrew

For this weekend’s race Pirelli will be handing the teams the supersoft and soft tyres all will be keeping a keen eye on the pressures after the Mercedes deflate-gate from Monza. But the teams up and down the grid will be facing a different challenge as haze moves into the marina.

On Monday, the PSI rose to a year-high 222 and moved into the “very unhealthy” bandwidth and is expected to stay high all week. With the medium to high levels of haze, numerous outdoor events have had to be canceled, including a charity race against cancer scheduled for Sunday. Air traffic in the area has also been affected, with several flights having been diverted.

Singapore GP 2014 - Copyright Bryn Pinzgauer

The race is exclusively live on tv in England on Sky Sports F1, with BBC running their highlight and radio coverage, however this weekend has minimal coverage on radio due to the Rugby World Cup.

Thursday September 17
11:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live (Sky Sports F1)
20:45 – Paddock Uncut (Sky Sports F1)

Friday September 1
10:45 – Singapore GP Practice One – (Sky Sports F1)
10:55 – Singapore GP Practice One – (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
14:15 – Singapore GP Practice Two – (Sky Sports F1)
16:15 – Team Principals’ Press Conference – (Sky Sports F1)
18:30 – The F1 Show – (Sky Sports F1)

Saturday September 19
10:45 – Singapore GP Practice Three – (Sky Sports F1)
13:00 – Singapore GP Qualifying – (Sky Sports F1)
17:10 – Singapore GP Qualifying – Highlights (BBC1)
19:30 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook (Sky Sports F1)

Sunday September 20
11:30 – The 2015 Singapore GP – Track Parade – (Sky Sports F1)
12:00 – The 2015 Singapore GP – Pit lane – (Sky Sports F1)
12:30 – The 2015 Singapore GP – Race – (Sky Sports F1)
13:00 – The 2015 Singapore GP – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)
15:30 – The 2015 Singapore GP – Paddock Live – (Sky Sports F1)
17:00 – The 2015 Singapore GP – Highlights – (BBC1)
18:00 – The 2015 Singapore GP – Highlights – (Sky Sports F1)
19:00 – Ted’s Race Notebook – (Sky Sports F1)