Singapore Grand Prix Formula One preview
Red Bull Racing
- TEAM NOTICE BOARD
- SINGAPORE GP
Sebastian Vettel: “Singapore is one of the highlights on the calendar, because the atmosphere of a night race is amazing. I also like it because the track is really great to race on – which is partly to do with the fact that we race anticlockwise there. Singapore is a fascinating city to visit and everything seems to be extremely clean and tidy. We all stay on European time for the weekend and because the race doesn’t start until 8pm, most of the drivers tend to get up around 2pm – it’s pretty unusual.”
Mark Webber: “We’ve had some good results in Singapore. It’s a very, very challenging circuit and one that the car should work well on. We’ve been solid on street circuits this year, so that gives us some confidence that the car will be towards the sharp end again. I like going to Singapore, it’s clean and it’s safe. Everyone embraces the event, but I also love the fact that we have a lot of Australians attending, especially from the West Coast as it’s an easy flight from there. That’s quite unique.”
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2012 Singapore Grand Prix preview
Marina Bay facts & stats
Starting at 8pm (local time), two hours after darkness has fallen over the city-state, the Singapore Grand Prix is the only night race on the 2012 Formula 1 calendar. To enable visibility, the 5.073km Marina Bay circuit is lit up by 1,500 halogen lamps, giving a luminosity of 3,000 lux – as bright as daylight.
The track is the third and final street circuit of the year, following on from Monaco and Valencia, and runs in an anti-clockwise direction. The cars negotiate its tight and twisty confines – 14 left-handers, nine right-handers – in maximum downforce trim and the key to a quick lap is to have good traction and a neutral car balance.
The Singapore Grand Prix is the longest race of the year, taking close to two hours to complete its 61 laps. That makes it physically tough for the drivers, who have to cope with the 30-degree heat and 70 per cent Tropical humidity while wrestling their cars around the busy, stop-start layout. As a result, they expect to lose up to three kilos’ fluid loss during the race.
Lewis has won the Singapore Grand Prix once – in 2009 – and Jenson has achieved a best result of second, in 2011. Both drivers will be hoping to return to the podium this year.
Race distance 61 laps (192.208 miles/309.316km)
Start time 20:00 (local)/12:00 BST
Circuit length 3.152 miles/5.073 km
2011 winner Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 61 laps in 1hr59m06.757s (155.810km/h)
2011 pole Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 1m44.381s (174.962km/h)
Lap record Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari F2008) 1m45.599s (172.740km/h)
McLaren at the Singapore Grand Prix
Wins 1 (2009)
Poles 1 (2009)
Fastest Laps 1 (2011)
Car 3: Jenson Button
Age 32 (January 19 1980)
2012 points 101 (6th)
Singapore record 2011 Q3 R2; 2010 Q4 R4; 2009 Q11 R5; 2008 Q12 R9
Car 3: Jenson Button
- Age 32 (January 19 1980)
- GPs 221
- Wins 14
- Poles 8
- FLs 7
- 2012 points 101 (6th)
Singapore record 2011 Q3 R2; 2010 Q4 R4; 2009 Q11 R5; 2008 Q12 R9
“I didn’t spend too much time looking back at my non-finish in Monza. Obviously, it was disappointing not to be able to help the team to a one-two finish, but these things happen. What’s more encouraging is that we have strong pace on a range of very different circuits – and, hopefully, we can continue to push that momentum in Singapore next weekend.
“The Marina Bay track is unique – there are a couple of long straights, so it’s very fast, but all the corners are generally taken in second or third gear, so you’re trying to find the best set-up compromise – particularly as you need good end-of-straight speed for overtaking into Turn Seven. That’s the best opportunity for passing as it also comes at the end of the DRS zone.
“Every lap is a great challenge: I had a really enjoyable race at Singapore last year. My car was completely dialled in and I was able to push to chase down Sebastian [Vettel] during the closing laps. This year, I hope we’ll once again have a package that will enable us to fight at the front.”
Car 4: Lewis Hamilton
- Age 27 (January 7 1985)
- GPs 103
- Wins 20
- Poles 23
- FLs 11
- 2012 points 142 (2nd)
Singapore record 2011 Q4 R5; 2010 Q3 R-; 2009 Q1 R1; 2008 Q2 R3
“We’re now inching closer to the finishing line – and this is where it starts to get exciting! After winning the last three races of the European season, the whole team starts the long haul around the world for the final series of flyaways that will determine the outcome of this year’s world championship.
“After winning in Hungary and Monza, I head to Singapore full of positivity and optimism that we can take the title fight to Fernando [Alonso]. I enjoy the Marina Bay circuit in the same way that I like racing at the Hungaroring – it’s a darty track that requires you to really be on top of the car to get the best from it. It requires more finesse, though: most of the braking zones are approached at very high speed, and the walls are never far away. Factor in the heat and humidity and it’s a very challenging weekend.
“Although I had a fantastic win there back in 2009, I’ve not had the greatest of results in Singapore recently. I got a puncture and retired after tangling with Mark Webber in 2010 and I was delayed after touching wheels with Felipe [Massa] last year.
“Both those races were unlucky for me – I think I need a better roll of the dice this time around!”
Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Since its arrival on the Formula 1 calendar back in 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix has become one of the season’s ‘destination’ races – one of the most important events of the year for fans, guests and teams alike.
“The Marina Bay circuit’s unique nighttime atmosphere, and the crackling tension that comes from staging a grand prix on the edge of darkness, makes it one of the most best races of the season. It’s a showcase event for our sport.
“And it’s a race that race perfectly symbolises modern Formula 1: it’s a brave departure from tradition that boldly works. It manages to retain all the traditional elements that makes a grand prix so magical, but the fusion of its oriental setting, glittering skyline and demanding high-speed course make it feel more like you’re watching a Hollywood movie than an international sport. And that’s fantastic.
“We at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes travel to Singapore with considerable momentum after winning the last three grands prix. Both Jenson and Lewis’s recent performances have given our engineers and designers the conviction to keep pushing development through the season. And, make no mistake, there’ll be no let-up with the aggressive development of MP4-27 until the end of the year.
“This season is far from over. We are continuing to refine and improve our car and have both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships within our sights. Every race from now on will be an important marker, and I’m optimistic that we can once again score good points in Singapore next weekend.”
The Singapore Grand Prix is a relatively new addition to the Formula 1 calendar. Here’s how Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has defined three days in the history of F1’s only night race:
1. September 28 2008
Lewis drives a mature race to finish on the podium in the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix. He comes home third, 5.9s behind race winner Fernando Alonso and 3s behind second-placed Nico Rosberg. With Felipe Massa failing to score, Lewis extends his lead in the world championship to seven points with just three races remaining.
2. September 27 2009
A more emphatic victory would be hard to find. Lewis dominates the race from pole position, coming home 10s ahead of Timo Glock. Nico Rosberg is Lewis’s biggest threat in the race, until the Williams driver is penalised for a pitlane exit infringement.
3. September 25 2011
Jenson’s fourth consecutive podium. He pushes race winner Sebastian Vettel all the way, coming home 1.7s behind the German in second place. Lewis completes a good day for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, coming home fifth in the second MP4-26.
Scuderia Ferrari – Shell
The Singapore Grand Prix is coming up fast! Everyone knows the Marina Bay Street Circuit means a hot, humid night race. What you may not know is this physically challenging race is a milestone for Shell Motorsport – it marks 500 races in technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari.
500 races is a staggering amount but even more impressive still are the results – 12 Drivers’ Championships and 10 Constructors’ Championships, including no less than 163 Grand Prix victories!
Shell was on board when Enzo Ferrari established the legendary company Ferrari S.p.A in 1947. Since then Shell and Scuderia Ferrari have been through a lot together and like all the best relationships it’s always been passionate!
500 Races. 1 film to mark the occasion.
Having entered 500 races together and amassed reels of exclusive footage, we decided to make a film out of all the best bits. With interviews from a whole host of heroes including John Surtees, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and José Froilan Gonzalez (the first man to win a Formula One race for Ferrari) it’s well worth a look. Watch the trailer
Developed on the track. Ready for the road.
Working with Scuderia Ferrari under the extreme conditions that only Formula One™ presents, helps us to continually develop Shell V-Power and Shell Helix. This proves that our collaboration really is about more than just track success. Ultimately it’s about bringing Formula One technology to the road.
Given that some of our breakthrough discoveries have been developed from the trackside, it seems only right to turn our attention there. Keep a look out for our team who will be wearing a special one-off uniform to celebrate 500 races in technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari.
Simulated environment. Real challenge.
You should also look out for the Shell Professional Simulator which Fernando Alonso demonstrated yesterday. Formula One fans can witness first hand the very technical challenge that Shell and Ferrari face as Fernando negotiates the tight, twisty streets of the Marina Bay Circuit.
Fernando is himself a huge fan of the Shell Professional Simulator Experience describing it as “One of the most realistic of its category in the world.” Our virtual car is modelled on data from the Scuderia Ferrari F2012. The simulator itself combines a genuine, licensed Ferrari 2009 Formula One chassis and steering wheel with a 2-metre high, 180° screen displaying laser-scanned track imagery accurate to within 5mm of the actual circuit.
It’s so much like driving a real car that after the recent ban on in-season testing, it is an ideal way for drivers to continue testing off-season! Not only does it measure the effects of fuel and oil compositions but it also provides drivers with an authentic way to improve their lap times.
Fernando also spoke about an on-track session last year “I tested standard Shell V-Power in a Formula One car against my race fuel. One of the most interesting learnings was how the fuels were similar but the car got slightly better pick-up with the race fuel. This is an indication of the work Shell does to find a subtle advantage for us and at a track such as Singapore, this is so important.”
We couldn’t agree more!
Coincidentally there are many similarities between the partnership’s 500th race and the first one back in 1950 at Monaco. Both races demand mastery of a tight street circuit, total precision and absolute commitment from the driver. Of course that’s not to mention the soaring temperatures and endless gear changes that test stamina and focus to the nth degree.
Start your engines…
Fernando and Felipe have an important challenge ahead of them.
Not only is the Singapore unusually demanding but more importantly it marks Shell’s 500 races in technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari. So with all that in mind we wish them the very best of luck!
The Shell Motorsport Team
Venue: Marina Bay Street Circuit
- Date: 23 September 2012
- Lap length: 5.073km
- Race distance: 309.316km
- Race laps: 61
- First F1 race: 2008
- Last year’s winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing)
- Lap Record: 1:45.599 – K Räikkönen (Scuderia Ferrari, 2008)
- Most wins: Fernando Alonso (2)
- 46% full throttle per lap
- 31°C average high temperature in September
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
2012 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, MARINA BAY, 21-23 SEPTEMBER, PREVIEW
The next race on the Formula One calendar is one of the most spectacular of the season. As the sport’s only night race, the Singapore Grand Prix provides a fantastic show under the lights around the 5.073 km Marina Bay Circuit, and has quickly become a firm favourite with fans, teams and drivers.
- The Safety Car has been deployed at least once in every Singapore Grand Prix since the inaugural race in 2008
- The circuit features nine corners taken below 100 kph, more than Monaco, and 15 different braking events
- The drivers change gear 80 times per lap – 50% higher than the season average and nearly double that of Monza
Singapore is a one-off in lots of ways, with the city, racing at night and the circuit itself. It’s a brilliantly unusual race. At first sight, everything seems more relaxed because the action happens at night, but of course it’s not like that at all. The reality is that you have to work hard to stay on European time and in the right bio-rhythms, so that you can perform perfectly in the race – because it’s unusual to be competing at this time of day. The nice thing is that the circuit is very technically demanding and it’s very tricky to get a perfect lap.
After a reasonably encouraging weekend in Monza, we have good expectations for another promising performance. I’m looking forward to the night race.
The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the season and it’s such a fun weekend. The city is fantastic, and I finished second in the race here in 2008 which was a great experience and has given me some really nice memories of this event. It’s always seems strange to be driving at night, going to bed at 5am and then waking up in the afternoon but it’s surprising how easy it is to adapt. I really enjoy the Marina Bay track, it’s a street circuit with a difference and with the intense heat and humidity, the sheer number of corners and racing under the lights, it really is a challenge.
With the conclusion of the European races, we now enter a very intense countdown to the end of the season with seven flyaway races in just two and a half months. The first of these weekends is in Singapore for one of our favourite races of the season in the unique conditions that a night race brings. Now in its fifth year, the routine of the weekend with working late at night and on a European schedule has become well-practiced and everyone at the team loves visiting the lively city of Singapore. On track, we concluded our successful Young Driver Test at Magny Cours yesterday, and we have a lot of useful information which is now being studied at our factories at Brackley and Brixworth to help bring improvements to the car for the final seven races of the season.
This year’s Singapore Grand Prix marks the beginning of the final ‘flyaway’ phase of the 2012 season, which will comprise seven races in nine weeks. This will be the fifth edition of the Singapore Grand Prix, which embodies the attractions of modern Formula One in a very special way: a spectacular city-centre race, where fans can get close to the action and which is run at night in a unique atmosphere for Formula One.
In spite of relatively slow speeds, the circuit is a tough challenge for the drivers and cars. There are a total of 23 corners, including 10 in the final sector alone, and the drivers will change gear almost 5,000 times during the race. At over 100 seconds, the lap time is the longest of the year and only Monaco has a lower average speed. However, last year’s race in Singapore featured nearly three times as many overtaking moves as the race in Monaco. The demands of Singapore, with a lot of relatively slow corners, are completely different to those of Monza, with its straights and selection of high-speed curves. We have been hard at work since the last race, with Sam Bird and Brendon Hartley testing developments over three days at the Young Driver Test in Magny Cours in order to further improve our car performance.
Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Räikkönen: “Third in the championship is good, but second is just one point away…”•
On what was one of the team’s most difficult weekends in terms of pace, Kimi Räikkönen’s strong run to fifth place in Monza moved the Flying Finn into third position in the Drivers’ Championship, just one point off second spot. More to come? We asked the man himself…
Are you looking forward to the Singapore Grand Prix?
I really like going to Singapore. It’s a great place to be, I love the local food and I don’t mind the unusual times we run in the car. I have some unfinished business after my two GPs there so far, as I have never scored a point. That doesn’t mean I’m not quick there as I’ve been told I still hold the lap record from 2008. I crashed while fighting for fifth place that year and finished down in tenth in 2009, so I want better this time.
What difference does it make racing at night?
In the first two years of this GP, I was a little bit surprised by how people were talking so much about the different timing. When they switch on the lights, it’s exactly the same as racing in the day time. I think everybody in F1 enjoys the night race in Singapore. It’s worked out really well as it’s a buzzing city and lots of people turn up. Apart from one or two dark spots in the run-off areas the circuit is very well lit, so there is not a big difference to racing in the day.
Regardless of being at night, it’s another street race; what effect does this have?
Monaco was not that good for us, but Valencia was one of the best weekends so far. Obviously, there is no reason why Singapore should be any different compared to Valencia. Like at every street circuit, it’s very difficult to pass other cars there, so starting the race as high as possible on the grid is a very important factor to get a good result.
How do you think the circuit will suit the E20?
Everybody will bring updates to this race so we’ll have to see what difference that makes. It’s a case of trying to get the maximum from our package and working on achieving the best balance. If we get everything right we should do okay.
What’s your target?
Obviously, the podium is a target again. We have had six podiums so far and scored as many points as the top guys in last few races. We have managed to get everything out of our package. Hopefully we are able to carry on in the next races, too.
Any worries about the weather?
Every year they say that it will rain in Singapore when the evening comes. Well, we’ll see when we’re there. It’s no use to worry about it. It will be the same for everybody, anyway.
Monza was a tough race for the team?
We didn’t have enough speed in the car. We were thinking that sixth or seventh would be a realistic finishing position so fifth was probably the maximum we could have achieved. Our speed down the straights wasn’t so good, which made it quite tricky to defend from cars behind. When you look at it like that it’s not a bad result.
You’re up to third in the Drivers’ Championship. How high up the order can you go?
We’ve lost some points to Fernando [Alonso] which is not so good, but we still managed a decent result in Italy and it’s good to be up to third in the Championship. It’s impossible to say how this season will turn out, but we’re very close to second. We’ll see what happens in the next few races.
Romain Grosjean: “The support I have from the team is amazing”•
After a weekend on the sidelines in Italy, Romain is back in the hot seat for the Singapore Grand Prix and keen to put his learning experience from Monza into practice…
Obviously watching the race from the pit wall in Monza was not ideal; do you feel you gained anything from that experience?
I think for me, the main thing about Monza was being in the garage and feeling the support I had from the team. It was really nice and I think that’s something a driver needs. We’re a family here and it meant a lot to me. Apart from that, being on the pit wall with the engineers and looking at the data is always useful. You get another perspective on how the cars are performing, where the differences are, what can be improved and so on.
I can still learn a lot from Kimi too; he has a huge amount of experience. As a team-mate he is both challenging and fantastic; challenging because he is so quick and has abilities I have yet to develop, but fantastic because he is also a great example to follow in the way he can switch his mind set so quickly during a race weekend to be entirely focused on the job. Apart from actually being in the car, I think the weekend in Monza was the best preparation I could have for Singapore.
The last few races have been a bit of a mixed bag for you it seems; what will be the key to hitting top form over the rest of the season?
I would say that since Hockenheim I haven’t really had the same connection with the car as I had previously. At the start of the season I felt very comfortable and by the time we got to Valencia the sensation I had in the car was just amazing. Whether it’s the tyres, the setup or something in my driving style I’m not 100% sure; we need to go through everything and find out. The grids are so close this year that any tiny thing can mean the difference between being at the front and sitting in the midfield. I’m determined to find that synergy with the car again in Singapore and carry it through the rest of the season.
Kimi has now moved up to P3 in the Drivers’ Championship; will this affect your approach if you are racing alongside him at any stage?
I wouldn’t say that for the rest of the season I’m here just to play a supporting role; if I have the opportunity to reach the podium, or even a win, then I will take it. Of course, I want the team to achieve the best results it can and if you look at the points difference between me and Kimi it would be foolish to think only of my own results. Let’s hope we can have a fantastic end to the season for me, Kimi and the team.
What are your thoughts heading to Singapore?
Singapore is a pretty special race with it being held at night; it makes a great show for the fans. It’s a pretty cool city. I haven’t got much experience of the circuit so far; my first race here was back in 2009 and that was a difficult weekend, but I’m looking forward to getting back in the car, learning the track a bit better and putting everything in place for the rest of the season. It’s another circuit, another race and a chance for me to get back out there and do my best. I want to qualify well, be as close to possible to Kimi in terms of performance and score points for the team in the Constructors’ Championship.
You’ve always seemed to go pretty well at street circuits; looking at the layout here, do you think this is a track that should suit both yourself and the car?
I think so yes. It’s a very high downforce track and that seems to suit us best as we saw in Budapest. In terms of the tyres I think we should be looking good too; it’s always an interesting race, so I’m looking forward to it.
Eric Boullier: “We’ll push like hell”
The final two European races of the season have been tough going for Lotus F1 Team, with one car exiting the Belgian Grand Prix in an incident which left driver Romain Grosjean banned for the subsequent race in Italy; a race where the team weren’t able to display the pace they hitherto have done so this season. No cause for alarm says Team Principal Eric Boullier.
Monza looked like a tough race for the team…
It’s been the toughest so far, yes, but we were expecting it. The whole weekend was about damage limitation and Kimi has once again extracted 100% from the car. As a result, we were not really disappointed with fifth position, as it was the best result we could hope for. Actually, it felt quite strange not to head to the podium at the end of the race, which says a lot about our mindset at present! Things change so quickly in Formula 1. One year ago, we would have been very happy with 5th. This year, we’re talking about the toughest race of the season…
Will the team be able to clinch another podium this weekend?
There’s no reason to think that a podium will be out of reach. We’ve been quite competitive on twisty circuits this year and Singapore shares a lot of Monaco and Valencia’s characteristics. Romain loves that type of circuit, while Kimi has always been quick in Singapore; even if he hasn’t had the best of luck during the races themselves. It will be an interesting weekend.
Will you use the aerodynamic device that was supposed to be raced in Belgium?
No. It would not suit the track’s characteristics. This system should be back in Japan. That said, we have a few upgrades scheduled for Singapore and they should bring some extra performance. Also, I’m very happy with how we’ve improved our pitstops this season. We broke our all-time record in Monza with 2.44 seconds, but most importantly all of our pitstops were consistent. This was not by chance; the whole team put a lot of effort in and, as you know, such a step forward can have a massive impact on the outcome of a race.
How is Romain?
He’s in good spirits. Monza was tough for him, but there are also some positives to take from this experience. For example, Romain has followed Kimi’s weekend quite closely and I’m sure that he has noticed a few useful tricks. Now, the situation is back to normal and I hope we can put this story behind us.
Were you happy with Jérôme’s showing in Italy?
Replacing Romain at such a short notice was always going to be difficult – as it would have been for any driver – but Jérôme gave it his best shot and I was impressed by his pace, especially on the option tyre during the second part of the race. At that moment, his lap times were really competitive. Unfortunately he lost his KERS on lap 6 and this had a big impact on his race. Our simulations showed that he lost around 25 seconds because of that.
The team lost third position in the Constructors’ Championship; is that a worry?
Not really. We’ve always said that fourth was our goal this year but looking at our pace, it would be legitimate to try and have a go at third if we can. The pack is so tight that anything is possible. We just need to score points – consistently and with both cars – until the end of the season.
Can Kimi have a go at the Drivers’ title?
Of course he can. He’s currently third, one point away from Lewis Hamilton. Anything can happen. We’re not naive though, and we know that his chances are slim. However, we’ll push like hell as long as there is a mathematical chance of winning it.
James Allison: “Singapore really is an entirely different kettle of fish”
Spa may not have delivered the performance that the team wanted, and the characteristics of Monza may have made it unlikely for our cars to be seen fighting at the front, but Singapore is rather different and should play back into the hands of the E20, says Technical Director James Allison.
The team struggled for pace in Monza; why was this?
We weren’t as competitive at Monza as we have been for most of this season, but I don’t think this represents the beginning of any bad trend; it just reflects something of the particular nature of Monza. In common with Spa, the tyre allocation from Pirelli was conservative on two fronts; namely the combination of a harder compound rubber than we would have anticipated and a construction which is different from that used at the other tracks we’ve visited. Combine those two factors and we weren’t able to play our usual trump card, which has been better tyre management in the race. Both Monza and Spa could be comfortably completed with a one stop strategy, or even conceivably with no stops if the rules allowed it. This means we couldn’t enjoy our traditional advantage. Happily the tyre allocation reverts to the previous policy from Singapore onwards.
Is Singapore a different kettle of fish?
Singapore really is an entirely different kettle of fish. We go from minimum downforce to maximum downforce in two weeks, we use the soft and super soft instead of hard and medium, the track has low power dependency and is high downforce. It couldn’t be more different.
We think of bumps and kerbs when we think of Singapore; how’s the E20 in these conditions?
The E20 is pretty good over the bumps and kerbs; it has been all year so we’re quite lucky in that respect. At a bumpy circuit you make more of a compromise towards the mechanical setup over the aero setup of the car than you do at a smooth circuit. Singapore’s bumpiness was extreme in the initial years, but it has been considerably improved in subsequent seasons.
Is there anything new and exciting for the car?
We have a new floor and a new rear wing. The new rear wing operates at the same downforce level as our Monaco spec rear wing, but with a better DRS delta. This means that this wing has better DRS switching from its maximum drag to its reduced drag settings. We believe we’ve been able to produce a rear wing which is at the higher end of the downforce spectrum but still able to allow the lion’s share of the DRS potential which is more difficult to achieve at high downforce levels. It will be interesting to see how it works on track.
How do you rate Jérôme’s performance as a super-sub in Monza?
In very difficult circumstances he acquitted himself well. He would have preferred to have been closer to Kimi in qualifying, but no-one who has had to step in at the last moment has shone in F1 under the current regime of no – or next to no – in season testing. He did as well as anyone could have done; he didn’t damage the car all weekend – in itself a good thing – and would have looked much more impressive had his KERS not failed very early on.
There have been some alternator issues of late; are there steps the team can take to mitigate against any potential woes?
We continue to play our part in helping Renault Sport resolve any issues as painlessly as possible. We don’t need to tell them that it’s an area which needs addressing, as it’s something they know with absolute urgency. We are also prepared to bend over backwards if there are any changes needed on the car.
The team completed its fastest-ever in race pitstop in Monza; can they get any quicker?
Our data gave a time of 2.44 seconds – I think the television feed gave 2.6 seconds – but either way they are pretty good times. It’s only a matter of time before someone cracks a sub two-second stop in a race; let’s hope that team is us. It’s definitely do-able as it’s happened in practice.
Are you afraid of the dark? And is the E20?
No, we’re both comfortable in less than optimal lighting conditions.
Tech Talk: Singapore
Maximum downforce here, especially with so many low speed corners and frequent traction demands.
Brakes are under constant use. Although none of the braking demands are individually massive, it’s the relentless nature of continually braking which means they never have an opportunity to cool. This affects the discs, pads and even the brake callipers themselves.
There are several high kerbs around the circuit, requiring good suspension compliance. The continual braking demands also call for a softer car; a requirement balanced against wanting to run the car as low as possible without wearing the plank too much.
Pirelli’s softest allocation of the soft and super soft compounds are nominated here. With 23 corners, the tyres have to perform very well under traction and braking. One of the biggest causes of tyre wear is wheelspin so rear suspension will be set up to give maximum longitudinal grip. Singapore is a long 61-lap race that normally goes up to the two-hour limit, which puts further stress on the tyres; particularly as the cars carry one of the heaviest fuel loads of the year. One factor in favour of the tyres is that – being a night race – the track temperature drops from a peak of around 50 deg C in the day to closer to 30 deg during running times.
Maximum downforce levels as understeer could prove costly with the walls so close.
With an average speed of under 170kph, engine maps are designed to target driveability through the lower revs. Of the 23 corners, ten are taken in second or first, seven in third and only one is taken in fourth gear, which means that the engine is working at between 8,000rpm and 13,000rpm for the majority of the corner apexes and exits.
Circuit Guide: Marina Bay Street Circuit
APPROACHING TURNS 1 + 2
Approaching turns 1+2 is the second fastest part of the track, with speeds of around 290kph reached before the Sheares corner. This is followed by hard braking to around 90kph at turn 3.
TURN 7 (MEMORIAL CORNER)
The fastest part of the track with speeds of around 298kph reached before the approach to this sharp left hander.
TURNS 13 + 18
Two of the slowest parts of the track with speeds of around 80kph and extensive kerb use for the quickest line.
Another slow corner at 85kph.
During the event, 108,423 metres of power cables, 240 steel pylons and around 1,600 light projectors with a total power requirement of 3,180,000 watts will be used. With an illumination measurement of around 3000 lux, the lighting will be four times brighter than the lights at most sports stadiums.
The rubber kerbs used on many the corner apexes have been replaced with fabricated steel versions for this year.
After hearing about Alex Zanardi’s gold medals at the Paralympic games during the week of the Italian Grand Prix, Kimi, Jérôme and the whole team at Monza wanted to pass on their congratulations to a true hero of the motorsport community.
The popular Italian took victory in the H4 handcycling time trial by more than 27 seconds and none were more impressed by his achievement than our very own Kimi Räikkönen and Jérôme D’Ambrosio, who had these words for Alex:
“It’s really something special when people like Alex can achieve such great things after a life-changing incident like he had. I have a lot of respect for that, so big congratulations to him”
“When I found out the news I thought it was fantastic; there are really no words to describe the courage and the willpower of the athletes in the Paralympics. Alex’s motivation and competitive spirit is a real example to all of us. Huge congratulations to him, it’s an amazing achievement.”
While the team were at Monza preparing for his return to the Formula 1 grid as stand-in for Romain Grosjean, Jérôme D’Ambrosio was occupied with some preparation of his own; designing a new helmet!
“My Grandparents are Italian, so coming to Monza is like a second home race for me after Spa. It was a big weekend for me, so the new helmet was to celebrate that and also to show my Italian side with the national colours in the design. Hopefully it looked good out on track!”
Thanks for Everything ‘Prof’
The team at Enstone was deeply saddened by the news that former Formula 1 FIA Medical Delegate Professor Sid Watkins has passed away at the age of 84. ‘The Prof’ was an instrumental figure in the improvement of motorsport safety and a widely respected figure throughout the motorsport community.
On hearing the news, Team Principal Eric Boullier expressed his feelings of utmost respect for a true legend of the sport:
“I rarely had the pleasure of meeting Sid Watkins, but anyone connected with Formula 1 – or indeed motorsport in general – will know what an impact he has had on the sport. Drivers of many past and future generations owe him a lot; his passion and dedication have changed the face of safety in motorsport and saved a lot of lives in the process. We have lost a true great of Formula 1; I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to his family at this difficult time”
The Drivers’ A-Z
Kimi famously only had a total of 23 car races in his life before he made his F1 debut. He won 13 of them.
Toques Blanches Lyonnaises:
A very famous group of French chefs of which Romain is a member.
Our History: Singapore Grand Prix
Lotus F1 Team made its Singapore Grand Prix debut in 2008 in the guise of Renault F1 Team.
The team has achieved one Singapore Grand Prix victory to date with Fernando Alonso (Renault) in 2008.
The team also clinched a third place finish in the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix; again taken by Fernando Alonso (Renault).
Finally, the team has set one fastest lap during Singapore Grands Prix thanks to Fernando Alonso (Renault) in 2009.
Kimi has not had the best of luck in Singapore, with a DNF (2008) and a tenth place finish (2009) to show from his two outings at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. He did however post the fastest lap of the race in the former of these two appearances; setting a time of 1:45.599 which has remained unbeaten since.
Romain has prior experience of the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Formula 1 – having competed in the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix for none other than Lotus F1 Team (at the time known as Renault) – but the Frenchman will be looking for a better weekend this time around having made an early exit from that race thanks to a spin.
In Numbers: The Marina Bay Street Circuit
Highest g-force experienced for 3 seconds at T22/23
% of the lap spent braking
Total straight per lap (%)
% of lap at full throttle
Lowest apex speed (kmh) at T13
Gear changes per lap
Highest apex speed (kmh) at T6
Distance in metres from start line to first corner
Top speed (kmh)
Longest full throttle burst (metres) between T5 and T7
Sahara Force India F1 Team
2012 Singapore Grand Prix Preview
- Sahara Force India looks forward to the Singapore Grand Prix.
- To watch Nico Hulkenberg’s video preview of Singapore, click on the following link: http://goo.gl/mLRj8
Singapore GP: Vijay’s Vision
Dr Mallya looks back on the European season and sets his sights on a strong showing in Singapore.
Eighth place brought some useful points in Italy, but is it really a case of ‘what might have been’?
If Paul had started where he should have started I’m sure he would have finished higher up the order. It was very unfortunate what happened to Nico during qualifying, where he couldn’t set a time. Given the pace of the cars I would have expected him to qualify somewhere close to Paul, so we could potentially have had both well inside the top ten. It was not to be.
Nevertheless a solid drive by Paul into eighth?
Given the fact that we were on a one-stop, we had to also keep in mind that the tyres needed to be conserved. Eighth was a result, but with a better starting position we could have come away with more.
After Spa, Sauber looked within reach, but they scored well in Italy. How do you view the situation?
There have been various moments where they’ve drawn away and we seemingly can’t catch them, but all it takes is a podium finish that brings in a lot of points, and if we get a couple of them, we could still chase them down.
On the other hand you have increased the advantage over Williams, albeit by only three points.
Two years ago Williams got us by one point in Brazil, so every point does matter!
How do you view the rest of the season?
As I’ve said before, we haven’t had our fair share of luck yet this season. Take the case of Spa – it was probably as close as we’ve had to a podium finish, but once again, it was not to be. But I’m an optimist and I don’t give up! It’s tough, Williams are strong, Sauber are strong. And look at what’s happening with Lotus. A lot of teams that were regarded as midfield teams last year are now pushing the big boys pretty hard.
Are you looking forward to Singapore?
In Singapore the atmosphere is brilliant. It’s a night race, of course, and more significantly for me there are a lot of people of Indian origin in Singapore, so they relate a lot to Sahara Force India, which is always nice. When I was living there, Singapore was very different to what it is now. It’s a lot more exciting, there are a lot more things to do, and it’s a lot more tourist friendly. Singapore should be a strong race for us because the track has always suited our car.
Nico on Singapore
Nico Hulkenberg talks about the most demanding race of the year.
Nico, tell us about racing at night in Singapore and the challenges it presents…
I took part in the 2010 race and thought it was a mega experience. The whole atmosphere in the paddock and working at night is fun because it makes a nice change. We stay on European time so the body keeps its rhythm, although it does feel strange to be going to bed when the sun is rising.
What about the track itself?
It’s a very long lap with some tricky bumps and kerbs, and you need to get close to the walls if you want to be quick. So getting the perfect lap is not easy. It’s anti-clockwise, too, although it’s not as demanding on the neck as somewhere like Interlagos because most of the corners are low to medium speed.
What about the physical challenge generally?
For me Singapore is the toughest race of the year – physically and mentally. I think it’s because there are 23 corners on the track and it’s one of the longest races of the year – always close to the two hour limit. So you certainly feel it after the race because of the high temperatures and humidity.
Paul on Singapore
Paul Di Resta explains his preparation for night racing in Singapore.
What are your expectations for Singapore this year?
I had a good race there last year and we’ve seen already that the car has been strong on street circuits this year. So I’m hoping that we will go well there, optimise the set-up and pick up some good points. I think it’s a track everybody enjoys and it’s an interesting race because of the unusual schedule.
Does it still feel different to be racing under artificial lights?
They do such a good job that you don’t really notice. It’s almost better than if you are driving during the day with cloud cover. It’s just something you get used to really quickly. The other thing is you arrive there and stay on European time, and the night becomes your day so you don’t really suffer with jet lag.
Is it easy to stay on European time?
It’s not something I find difficult. The important thing is making sure you choose the right flight to arrive in Singapore at the right time of day. You also have to make sure the hotel staff don’t tap on your door in the morning at 9am because you need to be sleeping for another five hours! I always go to bed at 6am and wake up at 2pm, that’s my routine.
Sauber F1 Team
Preview – Singapore Grand Prix
14th of 20 Rounds of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 21.-23.09.2012
Boosted by an excellent result at the final round of the European season, the Sauber F1 Team is on the move to Asia. In Monza the Swiss outfit secured its third podium in the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship with Sergio Pérez finishing second. The team scored 20 championship points in Italy with Kamui Kobayashi contributing two points when taking the chequered flag in ninth. During the forthcoming chain of Grands Prix in Asia, the Sauber C31-Ferrari will receive some updates on a race-by-race basis.
On the weekend of the 21st to 23rd September it will be the fifth time Formula One will race at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore. From the word go in 2008 the spectacular night race established itself as a true asset to the world championship. With its 23 corners the five kilometre track requires a high downforce level and is tough on brakes and tyres. For the drivers it is extremely demanding as well. High humidity and an ambient temperature of more than 30 degrees even at night creates a physical challenge, while the winding circuit with no run-off areas doesn’t forgive the slightest driver error.
Kamui Kobayashi (car number 14):
“After our great result in Monza, everybody in the team is very motivated. Singapore is a truly special event. As a night race it has established itself as a real highlight. Personally I like the place. Also it’s not too far from my home country, and there are always a lot of Japanese fans. The track is quite demanding with a lot of corners, and mostly slow ones. In the past this kind of track didn’t really suit our car, but with this year’s Sauber C31 things have changed. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be competitive there.”
Sergio Pérez (car number 15):
“The Singapore Grand Prix is a very special race on an extraordinary track with an unique schedule. You race at night and you live at night. Also it will be the first round back in Asia after quite a while. The amount of travelling is increasing a lot now. I generally like street circuits and the one in Singapore is physically quite demanding, but I feel prepared for that. Also for our car it should be an okay track to race on. I am very much looking forward to it and I want to get in another good result for the team at that very prestigious race.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“Singapore is a street circuit with lots of corners and short straights. Therefore overtaking is difficult, which makes qualifying particularly important. Good traction is crucial on this stop-and-go track with mainly low speed and just a couple of medium speed corners. In some places the surface is very bumpy – something to bear in mind when setting up the car. You have to keep an eye on the brakes, because they have very little time to cool down between corners. The track surface is not very rough. Pirelli will allocate the supersoft and the soft compounds, which should work well in qualifying, but I don’t expect any chance of a one-stop strategy in the race. Concerning strategy: one thing we have to consider is that the chance of a safety car period is very high on this track. This means we have to bear in mind the tyre requirements and, at the same time, be ready at any moment to change our strategy in case of a safety car deployment. Out of the seven upcoming races I expect this one to be the most difficult for our C31, but we will have our next aero update in Singapore, which should help to compensate for this and still put us in a position for a strong race.”
Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit / 5.073 km
61 laps / 309.316 km
Qualifying 21:00 and Race 20:00 hrs local time (13:00/12:00 hrs UTC)
13.09.1986 Amagasaki (JP)
26.01.1990 Guadalajara (MX)
Height / Weight
1.68 m / 62 kg
1.73 m / 64 kg
Sao Paulo 2009 (9th)
Melbourne 2011, (7th/disqualified)
Best race result
4th (Hockenheim 2012)
2nd (Sepang and Monza 2012)
2nd (Spa 2012)
5th (Spa 2012)
1 (Shanghai 2012)
1 (Monaco 2012)
35 (currently 12th)
65 (currently 9th)
Points in total
The Sauber F1 Team is currently 6th in the Constructors’ Championship (100 points).
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Singapore GP Preview
- When: Friday 21 to Sunday 23 September, 2012
- Where: Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore
- Round: 14 of 20
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: The night race through the streets of Singapore is a special event and one that the team looks forward to. It’s a long and physically demanding race for both driver and car. As overtaking is difficult qualifying position becomes even more important. With the longest pitlane of the season, which is taken at 60kph, as opposed to the normal 100kph, one tends to perform the least pitstops possible. Pirelli are bringing the soft and super-soft tyres to this race, a combination that was last used in both Monaco and Canada. The circuit is extremely severe on brakes and due to the hot ambient temperatures we will be required to open the bodywork for engine cooling. Aero wise we run near the maximum down-force level and from a set-up perspective you have to be mindful of the harsh kerbs. Finally the weather is difficult to track in Singapore and heavy rain is always a possibility.
Pastor Maldonado: This is my second time at Singapore which is a great city with a great atmosphere. The race is unique because it takes place at night and you have to adapt to the temperature change and of course the time difference because we stay on European time all week. The track requires high downforce which is good for us and it’s similar to Barcelona in terms of aerodynamics so this should be a track where we can show the potential of our car.
Bruno Senna: Singapore should suit our car because it’s a high downforce and load circuit and that’s where the car feels at home the most. Of course it’s hard to judge where we will be as others teams are improving all the time, but if we can score points in Monza then we should be looking to get further into the top ten in Singapore. I had a good performance there last year as well so that always gives you a boost before a race.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: The Marina Bay circuit has a low average speed of just 170kph due to the high amount of corners so the emphasis is on giving the drivers driveability through the lower rev ranges (between 8,000rpm and 13,000rpm) and a responsive engine on the short links between the right angled turns. Engine maps need to give good traction, so this is a race we’ll work particularly closely with the chassis engineers to get a neutral set up.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re bringing the P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft to Singapore: the same combination we took last year, which is well suited to the characteristics of a street circuit. Singapore is quite unusual for a street race though because it’s hot and humid with high speeds, heavy braking areas, and lots of corners: all of which test the tyres in terms of traction and braking. Because it’s a long race the cars carry a very heavy fuel load. That puts a lot of energy through the tyres at the start of the race, so it’s vital to manage the first stint well. Tyre strategy will as always be a key ingredient – the race was won with a three-stopper last year – but it’s interesting to note that there’s been a safety car period at every Singapore Grand Prix held so far, and that is sure to have a big effect on the race plan for every team.
HRT F1 Team
Singapore Grand Prix Preview
- 21st-23rd of September
- Marina Bay Street Circuit – 61 laps – 5.073 km
- Madrid, Thursday the 13th of September 2012
With the European part of the season completed the Formula 1 World Championship heads east for a swing of five Asian races that begins with the Singapore Grand Prix on the weekend of the 21st to the 23rd of September. This event stands out because of its singularity as it is the only nocturnal Grand Prix on the calendar and the European time zone is respected meaning that teams work at night and rest throughout the day. After a special weekend in Italy, the objective of HRT Formula 1 Team is to maintain the reliability that led both cars to cross the finish line in Monza and progress with the upgrades which will be introduced to the car in Singapore. After a positive debut at the Italian Grand Prix, Ma Qing Hua will step into the F112 once again for the first free practice session, replacing Narain Karthikeyan and joining Pedro de la Rosa.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit has hosted the Singapore Grand Prix since 2008. It’s a slow, bumpy and narrow anti-clockwise track and is also a very physically demanding test for the drivers given the high temperatures and humidity. Pirelli has elected its supersoft and soft tyres for this Grand Prix.
Pedro de la Rosa: “I’ve never raced at Singapore but I know the circuit because of my simulator work as a test driver for McLaren. It’s a spectacular track and probably the toughest circuit on the brakes in the entire Championship besides being a very physically demanding race because of the heat and humidity. We should have a good performance as there are many slow corners and it is quite similar to Monaco. Besides, we’ve got an aero upgrade which should help us to cut down the gap to our rivals. I have to make the most of the practice session to adapt to the circuit but I’m up for the challenge”.
Narain Karthikeyan: “Singapore has a spectacular atmosphere as the race takes place under artificial lighting. The Marina Bay Street Circuit is bumpy and very complicated. You can’t make any mistakes as it is a street circuit. Besides, it’s also very demanding physically because of the high temperatures and humidity. I arrive here extremely motivated and in good form after a good weekend in Italy and we’ve also brought upgrades which we hope will help us improve our race pace a little bit more”.
Ma Qing Hua: “”I’m very happy to drive the F112 for a second time in a row and I really appreciate the opportunity HRT is giving me. It will be very exciting to drive a F1 around the streets of Singapore. It’s a very demanding track for all of us, but it will be even more of a challenge for me as this is only the second time I will be driving the car at a race weekend. But I am looking forward to it and the laps that I added to my tally at the last Grand Prix in Monza have given me plenty of confidence. I have prepared myself in the simulator as well as doing some specific exercises to be used to driving at night. This is yet again another step in my career and I look forward to getting more experience at the wheel of a Formula 1 car as well as doing my best to help the team to prepare for the race”.
Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: “I don’t personally know the Marina Bay Street Circuit but I’m really looking forward to getting to know it since everyone says it’s one of the most beautiful races in the Championship. But also because in Singapore we’re incorporating the second major upgrade to the car of the season which we hope will help us take another step forward. Ma will step into the car once more for the first free practice session and the objective is for him to continue learning and improving as he did in Monza, where we were very happy with his work and performance. Pedro and Narain come on the back of a good race in Italy and we hope that with the upgrades they can get even closer to our rivals”.
Marussia F1 Team
- What we’re saying about the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix
- Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore
- 21-23 September 2012
All you need to know >>> Race date 23 September…Laps 61…Circuit length 5.073 km…Race distance 309.316 km…23 corners, 9 right-handers, 14 left…Circuit direction anti-clockwise…Lap record 1:45.599 (Kimi Raikkonen – 2008)…The only night race on the calendar, joining in 2008…Timo Glock’s favourite racetrack… Circuit hallmarks – uses public roads around Marina Bay, powerful lighting replicates daylight conditions, circuit characteristics reminiscent of Monaco – the short straights and numerous first and second-gear corners require a very high level of downforce to give good braking stability and traction, hard circuit on the brakes as there are so many braking zones and so few straights, requires the drivers to focus during the whole lap as any mistake can be crucial…Tyre nomination Pirelli PZero Yellow Soft and PZero Red SuperSoft same as Monaco…
The Marussia F1 Team said “Arriverderci” to Europe in Italy last weekend and will embark on the first of no fewer than seven long-haul rounds of the Formula 1 World Championship next weekend in Singapore. The sport’s only night-race is Timo Glock’s favourite Grand Prix on the calendar, while Charles Pic will race at the flood-lit street circuit for the very first time.
Timo Glock, Driver #24
“Singapore is a very special circuit, as the only night race on the calendar. I have great memories from this race as I finished on the points in the first year and on the podium in 2009. Every year it’s great to come back and without doubt it is my favourite race on the calendar. Over the last races we had some real potential in our package, so I’m looking forward to showing more of that and hopefully we can have a good result there. The next part of the season will be a tough challenge for the team, so I hope we can continue to make good progress to reward all the hard work throughout the team.”
Charles Pic, Driver #25
“I am really looking forward to my first night race at this fantastic circuit, and actually, my first visit to Singapore. I have heard so many great things about this race, from the experience of racing under the lights to the fantastic city, so I’m arriving nice and early to get the measure of everything. We are back into unknown territory for me, which I’m really excited about. The early part of the season and Canada were the same for me, but I am happy with the way I have been acclimatising to new circuits and getting up to speed quite quickly. Singapore adds another dimension due to the transition to European hours, but it’s all part of the learning experience, which has been going very well for me. It will be a busy phase for us now and I am really looking forward to the challenge of continuing to make good progress at this later stage of the season.”
John Booth, Team Principal
“It is sad to leave the European venues behind for another season, however we are embarking on a very exciting and challenging period in the calendar. Never before has the sport had so many races in so many continents in such a short space of time and there are even three more back to back races amongst them. Singapore is a very special race and the atmosphere and spectacle are truly unique. The whole team looks forward to going there, even though the conditions are quite challenging for the race team and drivers with the fierce heat and humidity. Timo loves this race and it will be Charles first experience of it, so it will be quite interesting to see what they each bring to it after our recent steps forward, which will be aided by further developments for this race. Far from running out of time in this final phase, we are encouraged by our current level of progress at this stage of the season and optimistic about what we can go on to achieve from here in terms of our targets.”
The Singapore Grand Prix from a tyre point of view: Singapore, 21-23 September 2012
P ZERO YELLOW AND P ZERO RED UNDER THE LIGHTS OF SINGAPORE
What’s the story?
Pirelli’s P Zero Yellow soft tyres and P Zero Red supersoft have been nominated for the Marina Bay circuit in Singapore, the only race of the year that takes place at night. This produces some unusual variables, with the Formula One paddock living on European time (as every session takes place six hours later than it does usually) and ambient and track temperatures that tend to fall, rather than rise, during the course of the grand prix. One constant is the humidity, which tends to remain within 75% to 90% throughout the weekend. Marina Bay is a street circuit where traction is critical as it contains the second-highest number of corners (23) seen all year. The asphalt tends to be bumpy and slippery, and grip is further compromised by street furniture such as manhole covers and painted white lines. Nonetheless, the cars manage to generate up to 4.3g under braking despite the lack of adhesion.
With 61 5.073-kilometre laps, which are run anti-clockwise, the race tends to come close to the full two-hour time limit, so coupled with the heat, humidity and constant bumps, this makes it a very physical experience for the drivers as well as tough on the cars and tyres. In the opening sequence of corners from turns one to three for example, there is a double change in direction that places particularly heavy demands on the tyres.
The driver tends to leave the braking as late as possible, turning in and decelerating at the same time. This subjects the tyre to both longitudinal and lateral forces at the same time, working the structure hard. The integrity of the construction though guarantees the driver optimal precision and perfect adhesion to the racing line: vital in the tight confines of Singapore, where mistakes rarely go unpunished.
Pirelli’s motorsport director says:
Paul Hembery: “Personally speaking I love the Singapore Grand Prix: it makes for an amazing spectacle at night with a great atmosphere and a fantastic challenge for our tyres. Due to the unusual circumstances in which the race is run, under more than a thousand spotlights, the teams and drivers have to think very hard about strategy – as track conditions and evolution are somewhat different than you would find in a normal daytime race. One factor that could certainly come into play is safety cars: during every single Singapore Grand Prix that has been held so far since 2008 the safety car has come out at some point. This means that strategies have to be flexible as well as effective in order to quickly take advantage of any potential neutralisation. While the humidity is constantly high, it hasn’t yet rained in any Singapore Grand Prix so this should be the same again this year and we are likely to see the ultimate performance offered by the two softest slick compounds in our Formula One range. Last year’s race was won with a three-stop strategy by Sebastian Vettel, but Lewis Hamilton finished fifth after stopping four times and taking a drive-through penalty as well. As average speeds are not very high, degradation should not be an issue if wheelspin is controlled out of the slower corners, which can lead to overheating.”
The men behind the steering wheel say:
Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham): “Singapore is a very cool race. It’s an amazing place to have a grand prix and it must be incredible for the fans, watching the cars running flat out through the streets at night. In the cockpit it’s really no different to a normal street race: the lights are so good we don’t have any problems with visibility. But I’ve seen the TV images from above the track and the overhead shots from the helicopters with the whole circuit lit up, which are pretty hardcore!
From a technical point of view one of the keys to set-up in Singapore track is finding good braking stability and maximum traction. It’s a high downforce track that is hard on brake temperatures and still pretty bumpy, especially around turns 13 and 14, even after it was resurfaced in 2010. We’ll have the soft and supersoft Pirelli P Zero tyre compounds in Singapore, just like we did in Monaco, and while it will be hotter in Singapore than it was in Monte Carlo it’s likely to be similar in terms of degradation. All year tyre management has been key to performance and I think hotter track temperatures and the nature of the track might suit us. It did in Monaco, so hopefully we can have a similar race in Singapore as we did back in May.”
Pirelli’s test driver says:
Jaime Alguersuari: “Singapore has high thermal degradation because of the high temperatures, but the main thing that everyone notices is the humidity, which is one of the factors that makes it such a tough race for the drivers. Soft and supersoft is a very good choice for this track: it’s nice to get back to the softer compounds after the recent races on the harder ones, as you get so much performance from them. The feeling in Singapore is a little bit like Monte Carlo but actually more fun as there are more opportunities to overtake. I don’t think you could try a one-stop strategy like Monaco though: instead I think we will see two stops. Having said that, the actual tyre degradation itself is low and that is because there is not so much energy going through them, because while there are lot of corners they are all quite slow.”
Technical tyre notes:
- The cars start the Singapore Grand Prix with the heaviest fuel load of the year, which affects tyre wear at the beginning of the race in particular. As well as being a long race, fuel consumption per kilometre is one of the highest of the year due to the stop-start nature of the circuit. Around half the lap is spent on full throttle, but there are also several braking areas.
- One of the toughest corners for the tyres is Singapore Sling, which comes after the longest straight of the lap. Although it’s not the fastest corner the drivers use the kerbs to carry more speed, with the tyres hitting the kerbing hard at around 130kph.
- An important factor affecting the race strategy is the time needed to make a pit stop. Singapore has one of the highest pit stop times of the year, due to a lower pit lane speed limit than most races (60kph) and a 404-metre pit lane.
The tyre choices so far:
|PZero Red||PZero Yellow||PZero White||PZero Silver|
Pirelli in Singapore:
- Pirelli Singapore is the centre for all of Pirelli’s operations in the Asia Pacific region, with the company’s biggest factory planned for China and managed from Singapore. A new plant alongside the existing one in Yangzhou has brought production to 10 million units per year, making this the main production plant for all the Asia- Pacific markets.
- Pirelli offers its full range of premium road car tyres through an extensive dealership network in Singapore, ranging from the P Zero family of Ultra High Performance tyres to the Cinturato P1, which is designed to combine maximum durability with environmentally friendly technology.
- Pirelli is also represented in the support races for the Singapore Grand Prix. The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will conclude its five-round Asia Pacific series this year in Marina Bay. Around 32 570-horsepower Ferraris are expected to take the start on identical Pirelli tyres. The GP2 Series also supports the Singapore Grand Prix for the first time.
Other news from Pirelli:
Pirelli has been names world leader in the Autoparts and Tyres section of the Dow Jones Sustainability World and Dow Jones Sustainability Europe Indices for the sixth consecutive year, with a score of 86 points compared with a sector average score of 53.
Pirelli tyres were in action once more last week at the young driver test in Magny-Cours, France, with Ferrari, Force India and Mercedes taking part. The three-day test was affected by rain on the final day, meaning that the young drivers had the opportunity to sample the full range of Pirelli tyres in a wide variety of conditions.
A further development test for Pirelli’s Formula One, GP2 and GP3 tyres took place last week in Barcelona, Spain. Jaime Alguersuari, Giacomo Ricci and Ben Hanley were the drivers at the test, which concentrated on the 2013 tyre range.
Peugeot Italy driver Paolo Andreucci won the latest round of the Italian Rally Championship, Rally San Martino di Castrozza, last weekend. The Italian used Pirelli’s RX rally tyres, which performed effectively in a wide range of temperatures on the all-asphalt event. Pirelli also won the Prime Rally Yalta, a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, with Yagiz Avci in a Ford Fiesta S2000.
Renault Sport F1
Singapore Grand Prix Technical Feature
The Formula 1 World Championship lands in Singapore this week for the 14th race of the 2012 season.
The challenge of racing at night and negotiating the tricky 23-turn street track, poses unique difficulties. With the vast majority of turns taken at low speed, a neutral set-up is critical to the perfect lap and the perfect race. As Renault Sport F1 engine engineer for Red Bull Racing David Mart explains, the role of the engine engineer is a crucial piece of a larger puzzle that sees everyone aiming to maximise their own areas to give the driver exactly the set-up he wants from his car.
The work between engine supplier and team begins even before arriving at the track. In the days leading up to the race, simulations and dyno tests carried out at Viry Châtillon produce huge volumes of data that is collated and sent to the individual teams to help them take an initial decision on set-up.
“The initial information that we collate at the factory goes into a brief report, which outlines operation for the event. It is sent the week before the race and includes data from the simulations we run at the factory,” David divulges. “It takes input from laps we did the previous year and from data for the current car at the other circuits this year. This allows us to predict fuel consumption and the effect of engine performance for the track layout.
“You will also predict engine temperatures from data you’ve collected and thus what cooling levels you think the car needs to start on. There are different blanking options on different panels of the car and that allows you various options going into the sessions to cool the engine and gearbox. Also the gear ratios will be predicted. All these baseline settings are then tested during the practice sessions at the track.”
From these practice sessions onward, there are numerous briefing and de-briefing sessions over the weekend, during which any alterations are discussed and any planned changes proposed.
“The actual briefings are broken up between everyone involved. It will start with the driver and then their engineers and performance engineers will relate their findings, and the relevant engineers will discuss aerodynamics and then we’ll look at the engine, gearbox and KERS. We’ll decide if the cooling levels are adequate and if we need to make a change, and obviously we’ll get a better idea on fuel consumption and be able to amend our predictions.”
With the ban on in-season testing, the quality of simulation work has reached such a high level that teams arrive at tracks with a pretty clear idea of what needs to be done and what set-ups need to be tried. As David explains, there are rarely many calls for any major amendments.
“It is very rare that you will deviate from what has been established in simulations as being the optimum for the track. It is usually just fine tuning.
This is where the relationship between the chassis engineers and engine engineers needs to be seamless as each relies on the other to feed information to get the maximum from their own specific area. As David explains, this is key to getting the most from the weekend.
“Some of the jobs that the chassis engineers do and that we as engine engineers do, interlink. We both react to driver feedback as to how the weekend and the direction of set-up has developed. On the engine side we’ll work on pedal maps, improving response in the provision of power.
“We also react to changes to the set-up such as a shift in aerodynamics. We have to be constantly aware of set-up changes, because that will affect how the power needs to be delivered. For instance, if a big change is made in terms of downforce levels, and the guys are looking for longer at full throttle or higher top speeds, then we might need to look at ratios, how the engine behaves in cruise at the end of the straight and then throttle maps to ensure that we are taking advantage of the increased window we’ve been afforded by a set-up change from an engine perspective. It is an iterative process until we arrive at the perfect set-up for the driver that allows him to put together his perfect lap.”
Mark’s Singapore Preview
Mark is confident that he and Red Bull Racing can have a strong race in Singapore this weekend. After the high speed nature of Monza two weeks ago, the 5.073km Marina Bay circuit marks a return to maximum downforce for the RB8 and Mark hopes it will coincide with a return to race-winning competitiveness for Red Bull Racing.
“It’s good to be here in Singapore,” says Mark. “It’s a race I enjoy and we’re going back to a set-up configuration that should play to the RB8’s strengths. I see this race as a re-set for the team and I think that will be reflected in the pecking order on the grid. McLaren have been on a bit of a run recently, but I don’t expect them to have it all their own way here.”
Mark has a good track record around Marina Bay, having finished third for the last two years. It was also at this race, in 2008, that he registered one of the most bizarre retirements of all time, when static electricity from a tramline caused his gearbox to fail.
“This is one of the toughest races of the year for the cars and the drivers,” says Mark. “It’s hot and humid, and it’s long – all of the races have gone close to the two-hour cut-off. The speeds are relatively slow, but it’s technically demanding and tough on brakes because the temperatures are high. If you get a result here, you deserve it.”
Mark currently lies 47 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso. With 125 points still on the board this season, there’s plenty of time for him to close the gap. But the Singapore Grand Prix would be an ideal moment to make inroads on the title leader.
“After the last couple of races some members of the press have been writing us off,” says Mark. “But you’ve got to remember that we’re still leading the constructors’ championship and the upcoming races will suit us better. I had a very consistent start to the season, taking four consecutive top four places, and people would kill for those fourth places between now and the end of the season. I hope to finish the year like I started it, with a win or two thrown in.”
Let’s hope one of those wins can be in Singapore this weekend!