Sep 21

Formula One teams Singapore Grand Prix free practice report

Singapore Grand Prix Formula One free practice report

SingaporeGPToday’s report from Formula One teams & drivers at Marina Bay Street Circuit.



Formula One teams Singapore Grand Prix free practice results
Pos. Driver Team Time Gap Laps
01 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 1.48.340   27
02 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 1.48.651 +0.311 24
03 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.48.896 +0.556 26
04 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 1.48.964 +0.624 26
05 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1.49.086 +0.746 28
06 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 1.49.300 +0.960 30
07 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 1.49.339 +0.999 32
08 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG 1.49.790 +1.450 32
09 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.50.039 +1.699 28
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 1.50.161 +1.821 24
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes AMG 1.50.263 +1.923 23
12 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 1.50.345 +2.005 24
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 1.50.636 +2.296 32
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 1.50.791 +2.451 26
15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 1.51.122 +2.782 28
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1.51.450 +3.110 21
17 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 1.51.452 +3.112 11
18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 1.52.009 +3.669 31
19 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 1.52.218 +3.878 29
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 1.52.576 +4.236 27
21 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 1.52.863 +4.523 27
22 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 1.52.936 +4.596 26
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1 Cosworth 1.54.448 +6.108 26
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1 Cosworth 1.54.514 +6.174 30
Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing


Car 1, Sebastian Vettel

“This is a tough circuit for drivers and cars. Overall we can be happy with today, but let’s see what we do tomorrow, it’s still Friday and today’s results are not so conclusive as some drivers got stuck in traffic etc. Most important is that the car seemed to work on either tyre, so we go from there. The kerbs have been changed this year, which is an improvement.”

Car 2, Mark Webber

“The second session was useful today. I had a good feeling with the car and we seem to be more competitive here. We need to keep chipping away, also because the track will change a bit by tomorrow, so we need to be ready for that, but a solid start. I think we can be strong on Sunday, we need to execute a clean Saturday first, but so far so good.”


  • First Practice Session
  • Position: 1, Best Time: 1:50.566, Laps: 24
  • Second Practice Session
  • Position: 1, Best Time: 1:48.340, Laps: 27


  • First Practice Session
  • Position: 6, Best Time: 1:51.655, Laps: 19
  • Second Practice Session
  • Position: 4, Best Time: 1:48.964, Laps: 26



Racing in Formula One is truly a team effort and as such our championship challenge bears the signature of every department of Red Bull Racing, from reception to race track. This race we look at the work of the guys who build our little world at the races…

The Garage Technicians (Truckies)

People think: They roll a few tool boxes into the garage, connect up some air hoses and turn the lights on.

What they actually do is: Build up the whole garage area at every race from empty shell to fully functional race bays, and then tear it all down and send it on to the next race. “We’re the early crew”, says Senior Garage Technician Mark Simpson. “Some of us started work here on Monday, followed by others who arrived to work on Tuesday.” The technicians’ first job is to unpack all the sea and air freight containers into which the garage equipment has been packed. They then get busy building up all the structures and installing all the equipment the team needs to run a race weekend. “We can pretty much get the garage up and functional in one day, with power, light, air lines etc,” Mark explains. “We are told which garage we will be in by the promoters and because it’s based on your championship finish from the previous year we’ve been lucky enough to be in the same garages for the past couple of seasons. We put together a plan of where everything goes. We try to keep it as uniform as possible as it makes things smoother for everyone if things are in the same place at each event. It’s not always possible but then everyone gets a garage plan and they get acclimatised pretty quickly.” The final build of the facility isn’t the end of the working weekend for the techs though. “We also have roles on the car for the race weekend,” says Mark. “That includes work as tyre technicians and doing the fuel. Everyone’s got a role.” Once the flag falls at the end of the race, however, it’s back to their regular job, this time pulling the whole thing apart. “Strip down is much quicker, as the whole team is there,” Mark concludes. “We can have it all pulled down and packed away in about five hours. Then it’s off to the next one, where we do it all again.”

source: Red Bull Racing, redbullracing.com

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes


“Not a bad place from which to start” 

Marina Bay circuit, Friday September 21


  • MP4-27A-03
  • FP1 1m51.459s (+0.893s) 17 laps 3rd
  • FP2 1m48.651s (+0.311s) 24 laps 2nd

“I don’t feel like I’ve found my flow yet – the track surface wasn’t very grippy in either session because of the morning’s rain.

“I’m not entirely happy with the balance either – not everything we tried changing today was successful – but we’ve still got a few ideas for tomorrow and that’s a positive.

“There’s still a lot of work to do – but, if we can fine-tune the balance, we should be competitive.”


  • MP4-27A-04
  • FP1 1m50.566s (+0.049s) 15 laps 2nd
  • FP2 1m49.086s (+0.746s) 28 laps 5th

“Our car has quite a nice balance but we still need to make some further set-up changes. It’s tough in these temperatures, especially on the long runs, but to be honest I think everyone’s struggling a bit too.

“In FP2, I ran a bit wide at the final corner on my fastest lap and probably lost about half a second. Still, it’s great to be able to throw the car around on a high-downforce circuit.

“My race pace didn’t feel great from inside the cockpit, but my engineers tell me it was quite promising. The track should also rubber-in by tomorrow, so tyre degradation should be less of an issue.

“We’re in the top five, but it’ll be a very tight battle for pole position tomorrow. We’re looking at set-up and balance to improve our long-run pace, but today’s performance isn’t a bad place from which to start.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Despite extensive resurfacing, the Marina Bay circuit is still an extremely tough challenge for any Formula 1 driver. While it’s pleasing to see both our drivers routinely running towards the top of the timesheets in both free practice sessions, there’s still a considerable amount of work to do to finesse our car’s set-up for the remainder of the weekend.

“Like all street circuits, however, the track will rubber-in overnight, and we should find ourselves in a better position for what’s likely to be an extremely closely matched qualifying session.

“This is a good starting position for the rest of the weekend – let’s hope we can maintain our momentum.”

source: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, mclaren.com

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Singapore Grand Prix

 Marina Bay, 21st September 2012
First session Second session
Driver Pos. Time Laps Pos. Time Laps Chassis  F. Alonso 4th 1.51.525 20 3rd 1.48.896 26 295
F. Massa 16th 1.53.080 17 9th 1.50.039 28 294
First session: air 31/33 °C, track 30/32 °C.
Second session: air 30/29 °C, track 31/30 °C.

A very busy day of free practice for Scuderia Ferrari here at Singapore’s exciting Marina Bay street circuit. The first sessionbegan on a damp track, but from then on there was no more rain in the area, so the second session went off normally. Thetwo F2012s completed a total of 91 laps, almost equally divided between the two drivers with Fernando completing 46 andFelipe doing one less.

Fernando Alonso: “We tried various new components on the car: some seem to be positive, others less so, but maybe inthe case of the latter, we need to spend a bit more time for them to be developed as well as possible. Overall, I would saytoday was positive, even if the first impression is that we are not as competitive as we were in Monza, two weeks ago. Westill lack a bit of performance on tracks like this one, where you need maximum aerodynamic downforce. From what wesaw today, there’s a significant difference between the two types of tyre, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to get aclear picture of the situation on this front. Maybe today’s difference has been somewhat exaggerated by the evolution ofthe track surface. Testing the tyres over a long distance is very complicated on a track like this, because of the traffic,therefore it’s difficult to make a direct comparison to our main competitors. I am reasonably sure that, on Sunday, we willsee rather significant degradation and it will be important to manage that as well as possible.”

Felipe Massa “It wasn’t an easy day for me. The car wasn’t right all day and I also suffered particularly badly with tyredegradation in both sessions. At the end of the second session, we found something that wasn’t working properly, but thatdoesn’t explain all my problems. We must find out what happened so we can fix it for the rest of the weekend. We havereasonably clear ideas about the direction to go in when it comes to set-up: one thing’s certain, there’s a lot of work todo.”

Pat Fry: “We had a full programme to get through during the three hours of free practice and, despite the track conditionsnot being ideal at the start of the first session, we managed to complete practically everything, which is always important.We split the work between the two drivers: Fernando concentrated mainly on evaluating some new components, whileFelipe looked more at finding the best balance on the car. It was the same when it came to analysing tyre behaviour, withthe drivers tackling different tasks, so as to gather as much data as possible. Fernando started his long run on theSupersoft, while Felipe started on the Soft. There were various updates to try, mainly on the aero side: some lived up to ourexpectations, others less so. Now we must study the data carefully to decide which will be the best combination forqualifying and the race. There’s definitely a lot to do to get the car right. As for qualifying, it will be important to preparefor the single quick lap as well as possible, while as far as the race is concerned, tyre degradation will be one of the crucialfactors. On Friday, it’s always hard to say where we are compared to the others, but it’s clear our main rivals seem verystrong, both on a single lap and on a long run. Having said that, we all know it’s Sunday that matters.”

source: Scuderia Ferrari, ferrari.com

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team 


The first two practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix took place this evening around the Marina Bay circuit.

  • After a heavy late afternoon shower, intermediate and wet tyres were used for the start of the first practice session
  • Once the track had dried out, the team evaluated the Pirelli super soft and soft tyres available for this weekend
  • Nico and Michael completed a total of 102 laps in the two sessions today, just over 517 km

Drivers Car No. Chassis No. Practice One Practice Two

  • Nico Rosberg 8 F1 W03 / 07 26 laps 1:53.227 P18 32 laps 1:49.790 P8
  • Michael Schumacher 7 F1 W03 / 09 21 laps 1:52.986 P14 23 laps 1:50.263 P11
  • Weather Humid
  • Temperatures Air: 28-29°C Track: 25-29°C

Nico Rosberg

That was a busy day for us as we needed to learn a lot about our new updates. It always takes some time to understand how things really work on the car, and there is a lot that we can take away from today to study overnight. In general, I feel we have made some progress but it is too early to make any predictions of how the weekend might go from here.

Michael Schumacher

We had two productive sessions today, however I have not yet understood the real picture. We will definitely need to have a good look at the data this evening and extract the true performances shown. We were running the new parts today and the car felt reasonable, although at the end of the second session, we had a little brake issue and had to stop. Now we will have to work hard in front of our computers to find out what our chances will be this weekend.

Ross Brawn

Today was our first outing with our new bodywork and exhaust package at a race weekend, and everything ran reliably. It’s clear that getting the tyres to work at their best in the hot and humid conditions is going to be a real challenge for everyone this weekend. We need to make some progress in that area as consistency and degradation of the tyres will be key to having a good race, so that will be a strong focus for what we do overnight. We had a slight brake issue with Michael’s car at the end of the second session which is why we stopped a little early, otherwise the cars ran well, and we have a lot of good information to look through this evening.

Norbert Haug

This was a challenging Friday test day for the team. We had new parts on the cars and our engineers will now go through the data in order to learn about areas for improvement for the rest of the weekend.

source: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, mercedes-gp.com

Lotus F1 Team

Hard Day’s Night – Singapore GP

Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean took to the streets of Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first practice sessions of the Singapore Grand Prix. The first session, held between 18:00 and 19:30 local time, started wet with the track drying over the duration. The second session, from 21:30 to 23:00, was dry throughout. Kimi ended the day with the twelfth fastest time ; Romain with the tenth.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes

A wet start to the first session meant we only ran with our updated rear wing at the end of proceedings on Kimi’s car.

Pirelli’s wet, intermediate and soft compound tyres were used by both cars in FP1.

Pirelli’s soft and super soft tyres were used in the drier second session.

What we learned today :

We didn’t gain sufficient data in the first session to run with the new rear wing for the rest of the day.

There is quite a bit of difference in single lap pace between the two tyre compounds.

  • Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05
  • Free practice 1 : P12, 1:52.716, 16 laps
  • Free practice 2 : P12, 1:50.345, 24 laps

Kimi :

“It wasn’t the easiest of days for us today. We don’t have enough grip for some reason, and we seem to be lacking downforce. It’s the same on both tyres ; a little bit better when the tyres are new, but still not quite the pace we want. I think we can improve for tomorrow but we have to find two seconds to get to the front. I don’t think we’ll find that much time ; but I think we should improve from Friday as we usually do.”

  • Romain Grosjean, E20-03
  • Free practice 1 : P15, 1:53.028, 20 laps
  • Free practice 2 : P10, 1:50.161, 24 laps

Romain :

“It feels good to be back on track. Our position on the time sheets in the morning was not what we’d have liked and even after FP2 we know there is more performance to be found. The car is basically the same as what we ran in Monaco and Budapest where we were very competitive but we’ve struggled a bit for grip today. The good thing is we understand what we need to do, the team has been working hard to make improvements and I’m sure we’ll be stronger tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director :

“We didn’t learn too much in the first session, but we did get some quick laps on the intermediate tyres. In the second session we evaluated the two tyre compounds, completing long runs on both. There’s quite a bit of single lap pace difference between the two of them. It’s fairly clear which tyre will be the preferred one for qualifying but not so clear at the moment which tyre is the better prospect for the race. We’ll be looking closely at lap times and degradation levels overnight.”

source: Lotus F1 Team, lotusrenaultgp.com

Sahara Force India F1 Team

Sahara Force India F1 Team

2012 Singapore Grand Prix, Free Practice Report

Sahara Force India saw both its cars inside the top eight in both practice sessions for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg (VJM05/03)

  • FP1: P7 1:51.658 24 laps
  • FP2: P7 1:49.339 30 laps

Nico: “It’s been a positive Friday overall and I think we are looking competitive here. The rain at the start of the first session didn’t really have an impact on us and we still had plenty of time to get through the programme. I think in terms of race preparation we can be happy because we focussed on long runs and have lots of information going into tomorrow.”

Paul Di Resta (VJM05/02)

  • FP1: P8 1:51.943 21 laps
  • FP2: P6 1:49.300 30 laps

Paul: “I think you always need time to get up to speed on any street circuit so it was useful to have some trouble-free sessions and get the laps under my belt. The balance we have with the car is already looking good, but there’s always room to improve things overnight. So I think we’re in decent shape and the data collected should leave us well prepared for Sunday’s race.”

Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer

“It has been a typical Friday with all our usual systems checks and procedures. We also made sure to get both cars doing long runs on both tyre compounds, which will hopefully pay dividends on Sunday night. The general balance of the car was good right from the first few runs and our pace looks competitive on low and high fuel. So a very productive day, the drivers seem happy and we have lots of data to study in order to improve further ahead of qualifying.”

source: Sahara Force India F1 Team, forceindiaf1.com

Sauber F1 Team logo

Sauber F1 Team

  • Singapore GP – Practice – Friday, 21.09.2012
  • Weather: 29-28°C air, 29-25° track, 77-70% humidity

The spectacular Singapore street circuit is regarded as less favorable for the Sauber C31-Ferrari, but the development of this year’s car isn’t over yet. The team and both drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Pérez, were pretty busy in free practice trying different components. Kamui also had the springs changed on his C31 in the first session, during which it became dark in Singapore. In the second 90 minutes of free practice at night both drivers worked intensively on the set up of their cars and were using both tyre compounds provided by Pirelli – the soft and the supersoft. Neither driver was happy with the balance of their respective car on Friday. Now the data work begins.

Sergio Pérez:

  • Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056)
  • 1st Practice: 10th / 1:52.296 min (19 laps) / 2nd Practice: 15th / 1:51.122 min (28 laps)

“For me it was a difficult day because I was never really happy with the balance of the car. It felt inconsistent and a bit unpredictable. We now have to analyse the data carefully and find a way to improve the car.“

Kamui Kobayashi:

  • Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056)
  • 1st Practice: 13th / 1:52.839 min (23 laps) / 2nd Practice: 16th / 1:51.450 min (21 laps)

“The first session when we were evaluating parts was quite positive but in general our performance was rather weak today. I had way too much oversteer. It is great to go racing in Singapore again but it is important that we improve the balance and set-up because you really need confidence in the car here.“

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:

“Despite the rain affecting the first session and the red flag affecting the second session massively, we were able to complete our programme. However, the problem is that we are significantly too slow. There seems to be a major problem, but we don’t quite understand what it is. We will certainly have a long night analysing all the data. First we have to understand what’s wrong, and then we will have to find the right measures to cure it.”

source: Sauber F1 Team, sauberf1team.com

Scuderia Toro Rosso logo

Scuderia Toro Rosso


Daniel Ricciardo (STR7-04)

  • First Practice Session
  • Best lap: 1:52.275, pos. 9th, 24 laps
  • Second Practice Session
  • Best lap: 1:50.791, pos. 14th, 26 laps

“This is not your run of the mill circuit, with the night and the atmosphere at what is a unique venue. It’s great to have a change and myself and Jean-Eric had a chat after the first session and both agreed we were having fun! I felt the first session went better than the second and the changes we made before FP2 meant we did not seem to keep up with track evolution. We therefore need to think what we can do to get closer to the top ten like we were in the first session. But trying things out, whether they work or not, is what Friday is about. As for the tyres, the Supersoft is naturally faster and by quite a bit, while the Soft logically proved more consistent over a long run.” 

Jean-Eric Vergne (STR7-03)

  • First Practice Session
  • Best lap: 1:53.189, pos. 17th, 25 laps
  • Second Practice Session
  • Best lap: 1:52.009, pos. 18th, 31 laps

“This is definitely the hardest new circuit I have come across so far this season, with so many corners and the fact it’s really hot. I really enjoyed this whole experience of racing on a street circuit at night, but at first I was making a lot of mistakes on what is a very long lap. But I am getting used to it, I brought the car back in one piece and I know I will improve tomorrow. Overall, the car did not feel too bad, so I think if we can improve it a bit and I learn my way round a bit better, there should be more to come for the rest of the weekend.”

Laurent Mekies (Chief Engineer): “A very different challenge to our last race in Monza, the lowest downforce track of the year and the Singapore layout was always going to be more challenging for us. We had a full programme to get through today, which required doing a lot of laps, partly to allow our drivers, especially Jean-Eric on his first visit here, to get into the rhythm of this difficult circuit. We also needed to find the best compromise in terms of car balance on short and long runs. We still have plenty of work to do, because although there were moments today when our performance was reasonable, we were not able to reproduce that consistently. We have to understand the reasons for that so we can move forward. On the positive side, both cars ran reliably and neither of our guys made any mistakes and we know how tough this track can be for the drivers. We evaluated a couple of new elements on the car and we have to look at all the data with the aim of upping our overall performance, especially in race trim for Sunday.”

source: Scuderia Toro Rosso, tororosso.com

Williams F1



  • Aero evaluations
  • Tyre runs and set-up work
  • Longer runs in FP2

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: After the track had dried from the earlier thunder storm ahead of FP1, we managed to get some decent set-up work completed on the soft tyre. Our FP2 programme was somewhat curtailed when Bruno hit the wall whilst on a hot lap on the supersoft tyre. Despite this, we extracted enough feedback and data in the session for both our qualifying and race preparation.

Pastor Maldonado: It was a good day as we completed our plan. We lost one run in FP1 due to the weather, as the track was still wet, but I’m happy we were able to get all the data we needed. We need to work on our performance but the consistency of the car looks good. It’s difficult to say where we are at this stage as we don’t know what everyone else is doing and this track can be quite unpredictable. The track is also improving all the time so we’ll see tomorrow. You have to change your approach in Singapore but I really enjoy it. It’s both physically and mentally challenging for drivers, but it is an amazing circuit to drive.

Bruno Senna: It wasn’t an ideal day but I was still able to learn a lot about the car and we have a good idea on the direction we will take tomorrow. I made a mistake in FP2 and touched the wall which damaged the car. I was trying to push hard and on a track like this unfortunately that means you can end up in the wall. There isn’t too much damage so we need to work hard to be 100 per cent ready for tomorrow. We are aiming for the top ten but the grid is looking very tight so we are going to have to push very hard. It’s going to be important to qualifying as far forward as possible at this circuit but the competition is strong.

source: Williams F1, williamsf1.com

Team Caterham logo

Team Caterham

coming soon

source: Team Caterham, caterhamf1.com

HRT F1 Team logo

HRT F1 Team

Free Practice sessions at the Singapore Grand Prix

  • Marina Bay Street Circuit
  • Friday, 21st of September 2012
  • Weather: Clear skies – Air 32ºC, Track 33ºC


  • Pedro de la Rosa F112-02 #22 23rd (21 laps) 1:56.656
  • Ma Qing Hua F112-03 #2324th(20 laps) 1:58.053


  • Pedro de la Rosa F112-02 #2223rd (26 laps)1:54.448
  • Narain Karthikeyan F112-03 #2324th (30 laps)1:54.514

The first free practice sessions of the spectacular Singapore Grand Prix which took place today at the Marina Bay Street Circuit served as a learning curve for HRT Formula 1 Team. A learning curve both for the team, which has brought a new floor to this Grand Prix, and drivers Pedro de la Rosa, Narain Karthikeyan and Ma Qing Hua, who drove for the first time at the 5.073 km street circuit.

The tough conditions with extreme heat and humidity were another factor worth keeping in mind throughout the 180 minutes of practice, that the team made the most of to carry out multiple aero, set-up, mechanical and tyre tests. All three drivers did a great job on the track and now it’s time to analyze all the data gathered and decide on the optimum set-up for tomorrow’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race.

Pedro de la Rosa: “In the first session we focused mainly on learning the circuit. It’s just as I expected, although tougher physically, especially in the first session. The second session was a bit easier, and as I already knew the circuit, we decided to set up the new floor. Now we must analyze the data to fully understand how it worked and how the different tests we carried out went, especially with different heights on the rear. From there we’ll be able to evaluate the magnitude of the improvement and how much we can extract from it”.

Narain Karthikeyan: “The objective was to adapt to the track because street circuits are always tricky and the important thing was to do laps and gain confidence. The track is very demanding physically, not just because of the heat, but because it’s very stop and go. We must be happy with how the session went overall because we did a good job but tomorrow we must take another step forward with the car to progress. And I’m also happy with the trust and support Tata Tea shows in me, with them present on my helmet and drink bottle from this race on”.

Ma Qing Hua: “It was fantastic to drive the F112 once again and do it at such a spectacular track. We did a good session and I learned a lot. We took it calmly as the conditions of the track, which was wet, weren’t easy. We went out on intermediate tyres and the team wanted me to be comfortable and adapt to the track before switching to softs. I improved my times lap by lap and it was also the first time I’d driven a Formula 1 car in wet conditions, on a street circuit at night time so I’m happy with the result”. 

Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: “The day started with rain and it wasn’t easy. Besides, none of the three drivers had raced at the Marina Bay Street Circuit before and we incorporated an aero upgrade so it was a day for learning and they did a good job. Ma, once again, fulfilled his role and took another step in his learning process, which is very positive. Now we must analyze the data before drawing conclusions. With the difficulties that all these factors presents the important thing was to finish the day with no incidents and we did just that”.

source: HRT F1 Team, hispaniaf1team.com

Marussia F1 Team logo

Marussia F1 Team


Free Practice 1 & 2 for the Singapore Grand Prix

  • Singapore Grand Prix
  • Marina Bay Circuit
  • GLOCK FP1 P19 1:54.908 20 laps FP2 P19 1:52.218 29 laps
  • PIC FP1 P21 1:55.335 22 laps FP2 P21 1:52.863 27 laps

The Marussia F1 Team’s Timo Glock simply loves the Singapore Grand Prix – and it shows! On the opening day of Free Practice at the Marina Bay Circuit today, the German – who has a 2nd and a 4th position to his credit at this circuit – led the race at the back of the pack throughout both sessions, ending the day 0.35s clear of the team’s nearest competitors.

Charles Pic was not fazed by yet another all-new circuit, nor by his first experience of night-race conditions to boot. He quickly found his rhythm and gradually set about bringing his lap time into line with that of his team-mate.

The day (night) began in wet conditions after a downpour left the track damp and drying in the 30˚C ambient temperature and fierce 70%+ humidity. Consequently the drivers began Free Practice 1 on the Pirelli Cinturato Intermediate tyre before progressing through the evaluation of the P-Zero Yellow Soft and Red Supersoft when the conditions became more favourable.

The team’s objectives for today were initially for Charles to acclimatise to a new circuit while Timo stepped through a number of aero evaluations. Both drivers used new development drum and duct brake parts designed to effect the required degree of cooling for this track, and some new rear suspension components were also brought into play to further benefit the handling issues which Timo experienced mid-season.

Timo Glock #24

“A sweaty start, not to put too fine a point on it. That’s normal for Singapore though and the hot conditions are very tough for everyone. It’s just great to be back again and huge fun to drive here. I love every lap. We got through the programme quite well today. In FP2 we did quite an important test which we still have to analyse and have a think about where we go with it, because we seem to have made good progress with the car. Other than that we did some long runs with the tyres and I think that will be the key point over the weekend – to just keep the tyres alive as long as possible. It’s not easy to get the lap together in qualifying but I’ll do my best and also I think there is still a little more to come from the car. We’ll see what we can do.”

Charles Pic #25

“Again, I’m very pleased to have adjusted well to what is a new circuit for me and also today has been my first time running in night-race conditions, so a lot to take in. This morning I made that my focus but I was quickly up to speed and able to work on the technical programme very soon. The heat and humidity are not easy for anyone in the team – it’s tough. Generally I am quite happy with where we are on only day one – especially in respect of our competitors – and there is certainly room for further improvement through the weekend. I have to say this track is one of the ones I have been most looking forward to in my debut season and so far I love it! The atmosphere already is quite electric because of the unique setting, so I can’t wait to see it build for the race.”

John Booth, Team Principal

 “A very positive start to our Singapore Grand Prix weekend. As expected Timo seems to be in his element here and the car is working very well with the new components introduced for this weekend. Charles seems to acclimatise so well to the tracks he’s facing for the first time and this one is not easy, with the night-time schedule, the lights and the extreme heat and humidity. The rain this morning didn’t make life easy as it hampered the start of our programme. Having said that, rain is good preparation for more rain and if we do encounter the wet conditions that have been mooted for later in the weekend, we will at least have had some preparation. Timo displacing all of our immediate competitors today has demonstrated another step forward and it was good to see Charles sitting between Kovalainen and Petrov after such a short amount of familiarisation with this track.”

source: Marussia F1 Team, marussiavirginracing.com

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High fuel and different strategies for Singapore

Formula One drivers took to the track at night for the first time this year, during the first two free practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix. With the race being one of the most specialised and tough encounters of the year, the task of collecting data on both the P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft tyres was more important than ever on different fuel loads.

The cars will start the race with the heaviest fuel load of the year – up to 160 kilogrammes – and keep going for nearly two hours, meaning that the balance of the car alters drastically over the course of the grand prix. This has a big effect on the way that each car uses its tyres, so today was all about running for as long as possible on Pirelli’s two softest (and fastest) compounds, nominated for this weekend. At the end of the second free practice session most of the front-running teams concentrated on high fuel loads with the supersoft tyre: the configuration that they are likely to start the race with.

Unlike most circuits, ambient and track temperatures remained the same: in the region of 28 degrees centigrade throughout the second session, where Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the weekend so far with a benchmark of 1m48.340s on the supersoft. Vettel went more than three-tenths of a second quicker than the runner-up in the second session, McLaren’s Jenson Button.

High ambient temperatures and constant humidity in Singapore lead to a significant degree of thermal degradation, so the art of managing the tyres consists of bringing them up to temperature quickly and then maintaining them within the correct operating window without overheating the rubber, particularly in the many traction and braking areas.

Before the start of the first free practice session there was some heavy rain, which left the circuit damp when the cars first took to the track. Most drivers went out on Pirelli’s Cinturato Green intermediate tyres (with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso quickest of them) while some drivers also used the Cinturato Blue full wet tyre to assess the amount of water on the track. Subsequently, the circuit dried enough for the P Zero Yellow soft tyres to come out. Nobody used the supersoft tyres in the first session, with Vettel going fastest on a time of 1m50.566s, less than a tenth of a second faster than McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

The P Zero Red supersoft tyre made its first appearance of the weekend just under half an hour into the second free practice session, on the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, after all the drivers started on the soft tyre before progressively moving onto the supersoft. The session was interrupted briefly halfway through for the Williams of Bruno Senna to be retrieved after it hit a barrier at turn 19.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “As always, Singapore has got off to a spectacular start, with the complexity of this race being added to by a damp surface at the beginning of the first free practice session. Nonetheless we saw a lot of running over the course of the evening, with plenty of data accumulated on a wide variety of fuel loads. From what we can see so far we would expect between two and three pit stops during the race, but a lot will depend on safety cars, which have traditionally been a factor in Singapore, as well as driving styles. The time difference between the soft and supersoft is around 1.5 seconds per lap, while the degradation per lap is around 0.3 seconds for the supersoft and 0.1 seconds for the soft. This opens up lots of different possibilities in terms of strategy. We’ve also seen a number of upgrades from teams here, which will only add to the closeness of the competition. Some teams might try something different when it comes to strategy such as starting on the harder tyre, for example, in order to run a longer first stint on heavy fuel. Already, we’ve seen lots of different programmes during free practice, which suggests that the teams are keeping a very open mind when it comes to their tactics.”

Pirelli numbers of the day:

Sets used overall:

Soft: 50

Supersoft: 24

Intermediate: 22

Wet: 7

Highest number of laps per compound:

Soft: 24

Supersoft: 19

Intermediate: 9

Wet: 2

Longest runs per compound:

Soft: 14 (Rosberg)

Supersoft: 14 (Di Resta, Hamilton, Hulkenberg)

Intermediate: 8 (Vettel)

Wet: 0

Pirelli facts of the day:

The track asphalt in Singapore, made up of the city streets, has been resurfaced since last year between turns five and seven as well as on the approach to and the apex of turn 13. The new tarmac offers better grip, as well as revised kerbs that are designed to be kinder to the cars.

Singapore is well known as an endurance test for the drivers as well as the cars and tyres. The amount of fluid lost during the hot and humid race means that the drivers lose between two and three kilograms over the course of the race: nearly a third of the weight of a Formula One wheel and tyre.

source: Pirelli, pirelli.com

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source: Cosworth, www.cosworth.com/f1