Singapore GP - Preview

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

Formula One touches down in Singapore this weekend for the 14th round of the season. This year’s tantalizingly close championship battle will continue in the beautiful scenery of floodlight and skyscrapers.

The Singapore GP was the first street circuit for F1 in Asia and was the inaugural night race. The first qualifying and race was dominated by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, but a safety car period triggered by Nelson Piquet and a failure during the pit stop for the 11-time GP-winner gave Fernando Alonso the chance to cross the finish line first. That first race provided the last big scandal in F1 when it emerged a year later that Nelson Piquet was ordered to crash on purpose to catapult his team-mate to the head of the line.

The race under artificial lights starts at 8 pm local time meaning that the event starts in standard time for European Grand Prix. The circuit is located just about 137km from the equator which means drivers have to cope with extreme temperatures in the tropical climate.

Sebastian Vettel is the record-time polesitter and winner with his four poles and triumphs. Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton both scored two-two race wins, while Nico Rosberg proved to be the fastest in the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix.

The growing country

The Singapore Republic which is sometimes referred to as the Lion City or Garden City is a sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia. It is located close to the equator on the Malay Peninsula. The territory of the city-state lies on one main island, but it has 62 other islets. Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Singapore’s role in Asia has significantly grown over the past years: it is considered as the city with best investment potential, it has the third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial centre, third-largest oil refining and trading centre and the second-busiest container port. The country has also been identified as a tax haven. The currency is the Singapore dollar.

It has a population of 5.6 million habitants. 74.3 perc cent of that is Chinese, 13.3 Malay and 9.1 Indian. It has a variety of religions: Buddhism with 33.2 per cent, Christianity with 18.8 per cent, 14.0 Islam, 10.0 Taoism and 5.0 Hinduism.

There are five different official languages: English, Malay, Huayu, Mandarin and Tamil.

Track characteristics

The track is the 13th longest on the year, however it is the longest in terms of lap time. Only 47 per cent of the lap is spent on full throttle which shows a very different challenge compared to the previous venue of Monza where drivers drove for 75 per cent of the lap while applying full throttle. The longest period of uninterrupted full throttle is just 9s.

Sebastian Vettel grabbed the pole position in yesterday’s qualifying session with a mesmerizingly quick lap of 1:39. 491 which was an all-time record. The previous fastest time of 1:42.584 was recorded by the reigning world champion Nico Rosberg in 2016.

The distance from the first row down to the first corner is only 200m which is much shorter than the 730-meter-long distance on the Barcelona race track.

The longest straight is 832m which runs from turn five to turn 7, there is a small bow which is called turn 6. This section is the only real opportunity for overtaking. The Singapore GP is a record-holder in terms of gear changes. Due to the start-stop nature of the circuit, drivers change gears 80 times during a lap which adds 4880 changes over the complete race distance.
The fuel consumption is very high because of the intense acceleration actions. The internal combustion engines burn 1.9 litres of fuel per lap.