The European leg of the race calendar takes us through the summer but come September, all eyes are on the greatest night race of them all, the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix. Here are the Singapore Grand Prix fast facts:
- Circuit – The Marina Bay Street Circuit
- Number of laps – 61
- Circuit length – 5.065 km (3.147 mi)
- Race distance – 308.828 km (191.896 mi)
- Lap record – 1m 50.041s (Daniel Ricciardo, 2015)
- Most successful driver – Sebastian Vettel (GER) 4 wins – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
Vettel Takes The Chequered Flag in 2015 for Ferrari…
…but not before some high-speed high-jinx from a spectator who managed to get onto the track during the race and was narrowly missed by Vettel and ex-Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo as they sped past him around the spectacular Marina Bay Street Circuit. He was later arrested (the spectator, not Sebastian Vettel) and served six weeks in jail. The latter went on to win from pole, beating Ricciardo into second place by a slim 1.4 seconds with Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen making up the podium.
The Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix – A Short History
The first street circuit in Asia, the inaugural F1 night race and one of the most exciting and testing racetracks in the world, the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix has been a fixture on the F1 calendar since 2008 and the list of winners – albeit not very long – reads like a who’s who of the finest driving talent of the last decade:
|2008||Fernando Alonso (SPA)||Renault|
|2009||Lewis Hamilton (GBR)||McLaren-Mercedes|
|2010||Fernando Alonso (SPA)||Ferrari|
|2011||Sebastian Vettel (GER)||Red Bull-Renault|
|2012||Sebastian Vettel (GER)||Red Bull-Renault|
|2013||Sebastian Vettel (GER)||Red Bull-Renault|
|2014||Lewis Hamilton (GBR)||Mercedes|
|2015||Sebastian Vettel (GER)||Ferrari|
Marina Bay Street Circuit
The Marina Bay Street Circuit has remained ostensibly the same since 2008 save for minor modifications to turns 1, 2, 3 and 10 in 2009. More changes to turn 10, the ‘Singapore Sling’ chicane, in 2013 included drivers having to navigate a sweeping left-hander before powering towards the Anderson Bridge but it remains a twisty track which is ‘the slowest in Formula One running at normal race distance above 305 kilometres (190 mi)’.
Since it’s a street circuit, the surfaces are pretty bumpy and coupled with the heavy braking zones, the artificial light, the intense humidity and the fact that the cars are driven to their absolute limits just centimetres in some cases from the walls, the drivers are put to the ultimate test of skill, focus and concentration.
The 5km racetrack around the iconic hotel complex was first used in 2008 and one of the reasons the race is held at 8pm, aside from the fact that in-car temperatures can reach a staggeringly hot 60°C (140°F) during the day, is that it fits in with the European TV schedules and with the world’s eyes on this small city-state, the powers that be are determined to have a party!
‘We envision [the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix] to be a national festival, and one that presents many opportunities for participation for everyone, both visitors and Singaporeans alike’
Mr S Iswaran, Minister of State for Trade & Industry
Talking of parties, Singapore 2016 is going to be a big one! Headlining the entertainment is none other than Australian pop queen Kylie Minogue and legendary rock band Queen fronted by Adam Lambert as well as American a capella group Pentatonix, British indie rockers Bastille and 70s disco icons KC and the Sunshine Band. More acts are to be confirmed over the summer months but this is a seriously strong line-up of musical stars to go with the seriously strong line-up of world-class drivers.
The 2016 F1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix
So what’s going to happen this year? That story is yet to be told but what we do know is this – with Lewis and Nico slugging it out for world domination and with the Ferraris of Vettel and Räikkönen getting faster, it’s going to be a nail-biting race full of literal and metaphorical twists and turns. Don’t forget Red Bull with the youngest ever F1 winner and prodigious young talent Max Verstappen in their ranks and the dark horses of Sergio Perez for Force India, Valtteri Bottas for Williams and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson for what’s going to be the best Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix yet!