Reports

Singapore F1 Grand Prix

2017 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – SET UP

The Singapore Grand Prix celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. First run in 2008, the race takes place at night and sees the cars run through downtown Singapore under floodlights. It’s a breathtaking spectacle. But motor racing isn’t new to the city-state; there was a non-championship Singapore Grand Prix on the Thomson Road street circuit between 1961 and ’73

NEED TO KNOW

Race title 2017 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix
Circuit name Marina Bay Circuit
First race 2008

TRAVEL

City Singapore
Time zone CET+6 / BST+7
Population 4.5 million
Surprising fact Singapore is one of only three city-states in the world, the others being Monaco and Vatican City
Local speciality There are many culinary delights in Singapore, one of which is carrot cake. However, this hawker staple is neither a cake nor made of carrot. It’s a white radish omelette, in which a gnocchi-like dough made from grated turnip, rice and tapioca flour is stir-fried with scrambled eggs and lots of garlic. Travel writers have described it as Singapore’s answer to a kebab, but no-one seems able to shed light on why it’s called carrot cake
Weather Hot and humid. Temperatures hover around 30 degrees in the day, with 80 per cent humidity. Thunderstorms occur regularly, but there has yet to be a wet Singapore Grand Prix

Track

Track length 5.065km / 3.148 miles
2016 pole position Nico Rosberg - 1:42.584s
2016 winner Nico Rosberg, 61 laps - 1:55:48.950s
2016 fastest lap Daniel Ricciardo - 1:47.187s (lap 49)
Lap record 1:47.187s (Daniel Ricciardo, 2016)
Tyre choice Purple Ultrasoft | Red Supersoft | Yellow Soft
Distance to Turn One 200m / 0.124 miles
Longest straight 832m / 0.517 miles (on the approach to Turn Seven)
Top speed 305kmh / 190mph (on the approach to Turn One)
Full throttle 47 percent
Brake wear High. There are 16 braking events around the lap and few straights along which to cool the brakes
Fuel consumption 1.9kg per lap, which is relatively high and comes as a result of the stop-start nature of the track
ERS demands Medium. There are lots of demands on the ERS, but plenty of opportunities to harvest energy under braking
Gear changes 80 per lap / 4880 per race (highest of the season)

RACE

Laps 61 laps
Start time 20:00hrs local / 13:00hrs BST / 14:00hrs CET
Grid advantage It’s a short dash to Turn One, but there’s a definite grip advantage on the racing line. With that in mind, pole position is located on the outside of the track
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns One and Seven
Don't put the kettle on... Qualifying is always spectacular under the lights and the start of the race is crucial because overtaking is difficult. A lot can be won and lost in the opening 200 metres/0.124 miles. The firework display as the cars take the chequered flag is something not to be missed either
Pitlane length/Pitstops 420m/0.261 miles (It’s a long and slow pitlane at Marina Bay, with a speed limit of just 60km/h/37mph. It takes 29s to make a stop, which is the longest of the season)
Safety Car 100 per cent. There has been at least one Safety Car period in every Singapore Grand Prix. It’s something that teams factor into their race strategies
Watch out for... Rain. This is the 10th Singapore Grand Prix and there has yet to be a wet race. Question marks about how the artificial lights affect visibility in spray will only be answered when there’s a wet race. Also, look out for the right-left chicane at Turns 20/21. The cars accelerate onto the start finish straight from here and the drivers are eager to get the power down early

THE DRIVERS

FERNANDO ALONSO

“We knew the double-header of Spa and Monza would be difficult for us, but three DNFs out of four was still really disappointing. Still, we showed better pace than we anticipated, even though we could convert that into points. 

“We’ve now put the European season behind us and we turn our attention to the fly-aways which signal the final chapter of the season. Singapore is a great place to start, as it’s one of the circuits on the calendar that suits our package better than others, and gives us a real chance for a more positive result. 

“Singapore is a bit like the Monaco of the East. It’s a glamorous street circuit right in the centre of the city and the atmosphere is incredible. It’s tough – hot and humid, and hard on the cars and drivers. It’s really fun though: bumpy, tight and challenging, but exhilarating when you get it right. You need a car with good traction on the slower corners and a high downforce set-up, so we definitely have a better chance there – we just need to make sure we also have the reliability.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

“I’ve never raced in Singapore, but I’ve experienced the whole weekend alongside the team over the past couple of years. Living on European time and going to bed at 6am is surreal, and it’s part of what makes this grand prix one of the really special ones. Singapore is such a cool place and I’m looking forward to exploring more of the city this year. 

“Of the grands prix I haven’t yet done, Singapore is one of the races that I’ve been most excited about all year. It’s a completely different experience to the other races and I think the whole atmosphere will feel pretty unique – racing under the floodlights in the middle of the city sounds really cool. The grands prix here have been some of the longest on the calendar, so it’ll take a lot of stamina in the high temperatures and humidity, but I feel well prepared. 

“We’ve had a tough couple of races as a team, but from my side I’ve also been encouraged by the performances we’ve put in across the course of each weekend. In every session we’ve been able to take away positives – even if we haven’t managed to get the cars to the end of the race or finish with a good result. I’m pretty sure we’re due some better luck, so I hope in Singapore we’ll be able to maximise the strengths of our package over the whole weekend, and finish the all-important race day on a high on Sunday afternoon.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“The whole team looks forward to Singapore each year – it’s a flagship event and an Asian jewel in the crown. The combination of the humidity, operating at unusual times during the day and night while working to the European schedule, the floodlights, high walls and gruelling track layout all makes for a truly unique grand prix, and an epic weekend of racing for fans in the middle of this great city. 

“It’s a fantastic spectacle for fans, teams and partners alike, who all love to experience the best of Singapore and enjoy everything the city and grand prix organisers have to offer. It’s also a weekend that produces some of the best racing on the calendar, and never fails to throw up some drama. 

“We’re also keen to move on from the last couple of weekends, and focus firmly on the future. Singapore is one of the best chances of the year in terms of matching our package to the characteristics of this gruelling street circuit. We’ve worked hard to try to avoid incurring any penalties which could halt our progress there, and we hope that following Stoffel’s retirement in Monza we won’t have to use any new power unit elements, although this is yet to be officially confirmed. 

“Celebrating 10 years of the Singapore Grand Prix is a great achievement and we’d like to congratulate the organisers for reaching this milestone, at what is an incredibly impressive venue that teams and fans alike love returning to each year. For McLaren Honda, this year’s race offers us everything to play for, and we’re looking forward to fighting as close to our front-running competitors as possible.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Although Italy marked the end of the European season, our F1 campaign continues to ramp up as we head to Singapore for the final run of fly-away races. 

“With a typically tropical climate, the hot and humid conditions in Singapore are tough for both the drivers and team members. Despite this, the Singapore Grand Prix remains one of the favourites for the F1 paddock, with the city’s skyline providing a spectacular backdrop to the race. 

“We had a disappointing result last time out at the Italian Grand Prix, however, it was still positive that we had good pace on such a power-hungry track. 

“In stark contrast to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with so many tight, slow corners, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is less reliant on outright power and plays more to our strengths as we saw at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this season. 

“The car’s overall balance between power unit and chassis will be the key to a good weekend, so our engineers are hard at work preparing the ideal set-up. Hopefully we can provide the drivers with a good package so they can be in the hunt for much-needed points.”

2017 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE

“A CIRCUIT WHERE WE CAN SHOW OUR STRENGTHS”

Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed a pair of trouble-free and consistent practice sessions around the streets of Marina Bay this evening.

On his very first visit to the track, Stoffel immediately got down to business, running a handful of reconnaissance laps using a prototype halo before properly kicking off his FP1 programme.

He was quickly up to speed, running without problem throughout both sessions, and ended the day sixth fastest after setting a best time of 1m42.788s during this evening’s nighttime FP2 session.

Fernando also enjoyed two smooth sessions, he led the way in first practice, before ending up immediately behind Stoffel in seventh at the end of FP2.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-02
FP1 1:43.759s (+1.270s) 19 laps 8th
FP2 1:42.788s (+1.936s) 32 laps 7th
FP3 1:42.383 (+0.554s) 11 laps 4th

“Our performance today was good; basically in line with what we were expecting around here. We knew that, at this track, we were going to be more competitive than we were at Spa and Monza.

“We got both cars into the top 10 today, and I hope we can achieve that tomorrow in qualifying and then again in Sunday’s race.

“We need those points: we’re ninth in the constructors’ championship, so every opportunity we get to score points, we need to grab with both hands.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-03
FP1 1:44.340s (+1.851s) 25 laps 11th
FP2 1:42.501s (+1.649s) 34 laps 6th
FP3 1:42.439 (+0.610s) 13 laps 5th

“For me, it’s been a very positive Friday, finishing sixth in FP2 despite having never driven around here before.

“I was discovering this track for the first time during FP1, and I got to grips with it quite quickly today.

“On paper, it looks like it’s been a particularly good day, but the two Ferraris didn’t appear to have an ideal session and ended FP2 behind us. They probably have something more in hand for tomorrow., but hopefully, we can still translate today’s pace into qualifying tomorrow.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“Watching Formula 1 cars around the darkened streets of Singapore is always spectacular, and it was especially pleasing to finish this evening’s FP2 session with both cars comfortably inside the top 10.

“Both drivers were relatively satisfied with the balance of their cars, and we have a solid basis for making progress overnight ahead of tomorrow’s critical qualifying session. A good grid position will be essential ahead of this long and difficult race on Sunday.

“Of particular note is Stoffel’s performance: he drove exceptionally well today. He’s never driven at this track before, was immediately on the pace, didn’t make any mistakes, and ended the day an impressive sixth fastest today. That’s extremely impressive.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“The Singapore Grand Prix weekend started under a typical tropical climate. Despite the hot and humid conditions, all the members of the team did a good job, completing the practice programme as scheduled.

“It is still Friday, so I know it is too early to talk about our position. However, we were satisfied with good laps which both of our drivers showed today. We also think we have some more room to improve the set-up of the car for tomorrow's FP3.

“This is a circuit where our car can show its strengths. And also considering we have two talented drivers with us, we are hoping to have a positive result in tomorrow's qualifying.”

2017 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

“PUSHING THE LIMITS AT THE SHARP END OF THE FIELD”

The McLaren Honda team will start tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix from eighth (Fernando) and ninth (Stoffel) positions on the grid.

Armed with a competitive and highly drivable package, both drivers were comfortably inside the top 10 during both of today’s hour-long sessions, but slightly lost out during the Q3 shootout as faster rivals were able to stretch their advantage.

Nonetheless, the team is hopeful of scoring world championship points tomorrow.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-02
Q1 1:42.068s (3rd) Option tyre
Q2 1:41.442s (9th) Option tyre
Q3 1:41.179s (8th) Option tyre

“The first target of having both cars in Q3 has been achieved, so 50 per cent of the job is done. Now our second target is to get both cars in the points tomorrow, which I think is possible from these starting positions.

“Race pace here is always a bit of a question mark; it’s difficult to read. Yesterday’s long runs were not long enough and, added to the difficulty of overtaking on this track, positions will be more or less set after the first lap.

“That means we need to concentrate on making a good start and having a clean first corner. After that. I’ll keep focussed and not make any mistakes. It is a very demanding race but hopefully we can bring some points home.

“The first six cars are too far away in terms of race pace, so our aim will be to defend our positions and possibly climb up to seventh.

“I hope we can complete the job tomorrow.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-03
Q1 1:42.222s (5th) Option tyre
Q2 1:41.227s (6th) Option tyre
Q3 1:41.398s (9th) Option tyre

“We came into the weekend more or less expecting to get both cars into Q3, and we achieved that today.

“We were always on the pace throughout Q1 and Q2, but perhaps we lacked that little bit extra in Q3 compared to our rivals. But nonetheless it’s been a smooth and solid effort from the whole team.

“While today is a good starting point, tomorrow is where it really matters. I might be hoping for quite a few Safety Cars in the race, but I still think we can conclude the weekend on a high.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“This is a track that we knew would play to the strengths of our package, so it was pleasing to see our drivers pushing the limits right up at the sharp end of the field.

“Getting two cars into the top 10 today sets us up well for what is always a difficult, demanding and unpredictable race. We hope to come away from it tomorrow with more valuable world championship points.

“Fernando and Stoffel have both driven outstandingly well all weekend, and it was a joy to watch them attacking this difficult and uncompromising street circuit. Likewise, the whole team has performed at an extremely high level throughout this busy Singapore GP week - whether that’s been in the sweltering pit garage, the hospitality suite or back at the factory. 

“When these things come together, it’s worth emphasising that, as a race team, we operate as a singular unit, and it’s days like today that remind us what we can achieve together when we have the merest sniff of a competitive package.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Both drivers started the day well with a solid performance in FP3, leaving us feeling positive about our car heading into qualifying this afternoon. Fernando and Stoffel then maintained their momentum, and were both able to successfully go through into Q3.

“Although we knew this was a circuit more suited to our package, it is still good that we were able to show some competitiveness and secure top 10 grid slots for the race. Despite this, we can still see a gap to the frontrunners so we will continue to make further improvements.

“We think we have decent race pace, but it’s very difficult to overtake at this track, so if we can get away well at the start we can hopefully be in the fight for points.”

2017 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – RACE

“STOFFEL DROVE INCREDIBLY WELL”

Stoffel Vandoorne finished seventh and brought home six valuable world championship points for McLaren Honda at the end of a long and chaotic Singapore Grand Prix.

The race was started in rainy conditions, which contributed to a Turn One accident that left a fast-starting Fernando Alonso with significant damage to his car. Despite soldiering on for a couple of laps, the car was too badly damaged to continue and Fernando was forced to retire.  

Stoffel took avoiding action to miss the first-lap crash, but was able to consolidate his position inside the top 10. He always looked competitive on-track whether running in the wet or dry, and was set to challenge for the top six until being delayed during a slow pit-stop on lap 27.  

Seventh was a solid reward for both his and the team’s efforts all weekend.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-02
Started 8th
Finished DNF (18 laps - Accident damage)
Fastest lap 2:13.579s (lap 6)
Pit stops None

“My start was brilliant. The car did an amazing launch and I managed to gain several positions, up to third place, but after that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wasn’t aware of what was happening on the inside, all I know is that at Turn One some cars crashed and hit us. In that situation, you are just a passenger, there’s nothing you can do. 

“Unfortunately, that hit was too much for our car. From the cockpit you don’t understand how much damage there is, but the car didn’t feel great, it had a lot of oversteer so I asked the team what was the damage but they were not completely sure because they’d lost the telemetry. At the end, we had some electrical problems and we had to stop.

“These things sometimes happen in motor racing and unfortunately it happened to us today. We had so much hope for this race, and in wet conditions we are very strong so the disappointment is even bigger.

“Despite my disappointment this evening, it’s actually been a positive and fun weekend - the team has done an outstanding job and I’ll be hoping for better luck in Sepang in a fortnight’s time.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-03
Started 9th
Finished 7th
Fastest lap 1:46.722s (lap 57) +1.714s (6th)
Pit stops Two - lap 12 (3.261s) and lap 27 (9.306s) Wet > Intermediate > Option

“That was definitely an eventful race!

“To race under the rain at the beginning was definitely not easy, so my main focus was just to stay out of trouble, which we managed to do. From that point on, I just managed my own race.

“I think seventh place was really the best it was going to get for me today. Sixth was perhaps on the cards at one point, but it didn’t work out at my second pit-stop. After that, i just focused on getting everything I could from the car and maximising the performance.

“Getting a couple of points means we finish our weekend on a high.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“When the heavens opened shortly before the start, we knew this was going to be an exciting and unpredictable Singapore Grand Prix - and so it proved to be.

“Through it all, Stoffel finished a magnificent seventh, battling throughout and really maximising the potential of our car whether he was running Full Wets, Intermediates or Option tyres.

“We think sixth was within our reach had he not been delayed at his second pit-stop. The front jack failed to engage properly, which meant the left-front wheel wasn’t lifted off the floor properly, which resulted in a slow removal. That delay meant he wasn’t able to close on [Jolyon] Palmer despite a spirited chase.

“It was a phenomenally disappointing day for Fernando. He’d made a brilliant start in the wet conditions but was harpooned by Verstappen’s car at Turn One. It was a significant impact, one which tore open the bodywork, damaged the floor and, ultimately, holed an exhaust.

“We were able to assess the initial damage as he passed through the pits behind the Safety Car, but, at racing speeds, it became immediately apparent that he couldn’t continue. We had to retire the car shortly afterwards.

“Despite failing to get one car to the finish through no fault of our own, this was a positive day for the whole team. We may not be as competitive around the fast sweeps of Malaysia, but this result will serve to remind us all that we can race hard at the front whenever the slightest opportunity presents itself.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“The heavy rain that began just before the start made today’s race enormously difficult for us.   

“Although Fernando made a great start, he was involved in an unfortunate incident at Turn One and ultimately retired on lap eight due to the inflicted damage. I think he would have been able to race with the frontrunners if he had continued, so it was very disappointing for everyone in the team.

“Stoffel’s pace was competitive and he drove incredibly well, including overtaking his rivals on a track that is notoriously hard to pass on. He eventually crossed the line in seventh, his best result of the season, taking more precious points for the team. He did a great job today.   

“Although we had the package to finish today’s race in a better position without incident, it was still a positive step forward for the team that we were able to bring one car home in the top 10.”