Really different from anything we've seen before - Theissen

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The Singapore race weekend, which kicked off today with the Friday free practice sessions, impresses all those involved. "It's really different from anything we have seen before," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen.

Over the course of a lap of the "Marina Bay Circuit", Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have to negotiate a total of 23 turns. The track features two bridges and even runs under one of the grandstands. In the background, the metropolis' skyscrapers make for an impressive backdrop, and the fact that the race is held under floodlight definitely turns the new street circuit into a unique novelty on the Formula One calendar.

"It is a spectacular setting with the skyscrapers and the high rise parts," says Theissen. "In terms of the track characteristics, however, it's a bit different from what I expected. When I was here in March I walked the track and it looked much quicker in certain areas, and there were also some difficult areas. But the track has been modified significantly and now it looks like there are quite a few narrow corners."

According to Theissen, the 5.067-kilometre circuit also meets high standards when it comes to safety. "Safety has definitely improved - at the expense of overtaking opportunities. If you go beyond the track, you can feel the hype here in Singapore. There is no doubt in my mind that this race will be the highlight of the season."

Source BMW Sauber