Following a two-year absence from the F1 schedule, the field has returned to the Marina Bay Circuit which gives place to Round 17 of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Singapore Grand Prix. F1Technical’s Balázs Szabó picks out a few vital facts ahead of the first of six-race closing sequence of ‘flyaway’ races.
Slowly a fixture – Singapore has established itself as a fixture on the calendar. The event joined the calendar in 2008 and has been an ever-present race since. Today’s race will be the 13th Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.
The fast Dane – The record for the fastest ever race lap is held by Kevin Magnussen. The Dane went fastest with a lap time of 1m41.905 with Haas in 2018. The fastest ever lap was recorded by Lewis Hamilton who clocked in a 1m36.015 to take pole position for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix.
Long track – The Marina Bay Circuit is a track that features extreme temperatures, unforgiving walls and a bumpy surface. The 5.063km circuit consists of 23 corners. Drivers have to complete 61 laps to cover the entire race distance of 308.706km.
The dominant team - Mercedes is the most successful constructor in Singapore with four victories of which three were clinched by Lewis Hamilton and the fourth one by Nico Rosberg. With three triumphs apiece, Red Bull and Ferrari occupy the second place on this list with Renault and McLaren have taken victory once respectively.
German success - Sebastian Vettel ist the most succesful driver when it comes to wins earned in the Singapore Grand Prix history. The four-time world champion has won five times - three times with Red Bull and twice with Ferrari. The German is followed by Lewis Hamilton, who has won on four occasions at the Marina Bay Circuit.
Fernando Alonso is the only other repeat winner in Singapore. He took the victory in the first ever Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 in controversial conditions. Driving at Ferrari, the Spaniard claimed his second victory on the Marina Bay Circuit in 2010 following an epic battle with Sebastian Vettel.
Unknown territory - A number of drivers will make their Singapore debut this weekend, with Nicholas Latifi, Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda, and Mick Schumacher all getting their first taste of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The Stewards – The group of the three international race stewards consists of Gerd Ennser, Matthew Selley and Derek Warwick. They are joined by Nish Shetty, the national steward.
Changes to the track - The circuit has been resurfaced in a number of areas, most significantly full-width sections the length of the pit straight to shortly after T1, from T5 to just before the braking point for T7, from T12 to T13, from the braking point for T14 to just after the corner, and from before T15 through to T19.
Overtaking aid - There will be three DRS zones in Singapore. The first detection point will be at the exit of T4 and the first activation point will be 48m after T5. The second detection point will be 102m before T13 with activation 78m after T13. The third detection point will be 180m before the apex of T22, and the activation point will be 43m after apex of T23.
Vettel at both ends - The smallest winning margin in Singapore F1 Grand Prix history came in 2010 when Alonso beat Vettel by just 0.239s. Coincidentally the biggest winning margin at the venue involved the same two drivers and came in 2013 when Vettel finished 32.627s ahead of Alonso.
Artificially lit – Singapore became the first ever night race of Formula One. The late starting time was chosen to accommodate to the time zone difference between Western countries and Singapore. Although many doubted the success of the event and some feared that visibility would make driving dangerous, it has never become a problem. Fitted along the track are 1,600 lighting projectors, each consisting of a projector with internal reflectors that project the light beams at different angles to prevent it from blinding the drivers. As a result, the track is 4 times more brightly lit than a stadium.
Huge preparation – As the Singapore Grand Prix is a street cicuit, organizers have to commence their preparations long before the event kick off. To withstand high speeds generated by the Formula One cars, the manholes at the Marina Bay Street Circuit have to be welded shut before each race.
Very high – Since 2014, the safety car or the virtual safety car was deployed at least once in every race. Their deployment could have huge influence on race strategies as pitting in normal conditions takes 27 seconds while that time drops to only 16 seconds under safety car conditions and 20 seconds under virtual safety car conditions.
Track position is vital – Starting from the first row is usually key around the tricky layout of the Marina Bay Circuit. Eight of the twelve races have been won by the driver starting from the pole position. On the four other occasions when other than the pole-sitter won at Singapore, some kind of an incident happened to the fastest driver of the qualifying session. In 2008, Felipe Massa was robbed the victory after his team released him from the tyre change with the fuel hose attached. In 2012, Lewis Hamilton retired with a gearbox issue while leading. In 2017, Sebastian Vettel was involved in a first corner incident with Kimi Räikkönen and Max Verstappen which ended the race for all of them.