Panasonic Toyota Racing travels to south-east Asia and Formula 1's only night race, the Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Sessions in Singapore take place at night, with qualifying beginning at 10pm and the race at 8pm local time so over a thousand lighting projectors are used to ensure full visibility.
The team got its first experience of a Grand Prix under lights last year, when Timo Glock finished fourth after Jarno Trulli's podium challenge ended with hydraulics trouble. This weekend Jarno and Timo will have an upgraded TF109 at their disposal following the introduction of the team's final new package of the season, which features updates to the front wing and the rear end, including the rear wing. The drivers will put these improvements, as well as the soft and super soft Bridgestone Potenza tyres, to the test when practice begins on Friday. After missing out on the top eight in the Italian Grand Prix, the team is determined to start the final flyaway leg of the season with a return to the points under lights in Singapore this weekend.
Jarno Trulli (Car 9): "Singapore is a unique race for us as the only night race and it is quite an interesting experience. I hope we can be competitive there, especially as we have some improvements to the car. The team has pushed hard all season to introduce new parts and it's great to have upgrades even as the season is coming to a close. It's not possible to predict exactly how we will perform until we have driven the track again but I am optimistic we can be competitive again in Singapore. I was really unlucky last year when a technical problem prevented me finishing on the podium. It was a really tough race on a heavy fuel load, especially in hot conditions and over the bumps, so it was frustrating not to get a result. This year I am determined to make up for that. To be honest I would rather race in daylight because the light levels change around the track but a night race is good for the spectators and there was a nice atmosphere last year so I am looking forward to this weekend."
Timo Glock (Car 10): "I really enjoy racing at night because it is a great show for the fans and last year was just an unbelievable event. You need to get used to driving under lights but for me the visibility was fine, it's just a very strange thing is to be arriving at the track early in the afternoon and leaving again at 4am. I like the Singapore track; it is good fun to be driving past some famous buildings at night and the chicane at turn 10 is a nice challenge because you cannot afford to make any mistake. It's a typical street circuit and last year it was pretty bumpy which made it tough for the drivers, but they have worked on that. I had a great race there a year ago so I hope we can repeat that kind of result. It's hard to know what to expect considering we have some improvements on the car this weekend but I hope we will make a step forward. We are still pushing as hard as ever so I can't wait to get back on track."
Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis: "Singapore last year was a complete success and I was very impressed. The place is fantastic and the new experience of a night race was a great one for everyone involved. It was an unforgettable event. The circuit itself is high downforce and the drivers play a key part because you have a lot of corners, 23, and it is extremely important for a driver to find the right rhythm without touching the barriers. Another factor to consider with Singapore is that it is extremely hard on brakes so we have to be careful in that sense. But the main characteristic we discovered last year was that the track was incredibly bumpy, which made it a priority to set-up the suspension to deal with the bumps. There has been some resurfacing so we will see if that reduces the problem. We will bring some upgrades to our car for this race and in fact Singapore will be the last package of improvements to the TF109. These will be validated on Friday and we expect them to help us make a step forward."