The longest race in the F1 calendar at almost two hours, one of the hardest on brakes, with a 100% record of a safety car, a long slow pit stop and a choice of the softest tyres which cannot do the 308km marathon in one stop, the Singapore Grand Prix is always a strategy challenge.
But now, with a new ban on team radios due to come into force this weekend, it makes it even more fascinating. Messages from engineers to drivers about strategy are permitted, but drivers are no longer allowed coaching when looking after the tyres and the brakes and getting the start procedure right, which opens up some big question marks.
Track Length : 5.073 kilometres.
Race Distance : 61 laps (309.316 kilometres).
Corners : 23 corners in total. Street circuit around Singapore’s Marina Bay area.
Aerodynamic Setup : High downforce.
Top Speed : 305km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 290km/h without.
Full Throttle : 45.5% of the lap time (low).
Time Spent Braking : 21% of lap.
Number Of Brake Zones : 16.
Brake Wear : Very high. Toughest race of season for brakes as no cooling opportunities.
Total Time Needed For Pit stop : 29 seconds (very high).
Lap Record : 1:48.574 - S Vettel (2013).
The night race featured just one zone in 2011 and 2012, but moved to two from 2013; the first area is situated on the long stretch from Turns 5 to 7, known as Raffles Boulevard, with the second on the start-finish straight.
Separate detection points control the two zones – the first just after Turn 4 and the second before Turn 22.
Pirelli tyre choice for Singapore: soft and supersoft. This has been a popular combination this season and has appeared at Monaco, Canada, Austria and Germany. The Singapore lap is long and the great challenge is to look after the rear tyres; it is 15% harder on the rear tyres than Monaco, for example. This means that this combination of the softest tyres in the range will give less mileage and suffer more degradation than in Monaco, which could be done as a one stop race. In Singapore you have to stop twice ,but timing is everything.
Because the track is lined with walls, making it difficult for marshals to clear debris, the chance of a Safety Car at Singapore is 100% ! There has been at least one Safety Car at every Singapore GP so far with an average of 6 laps spent under Safety Car.
The start is particularly crucial at Singapore as it’s very hard to overtake on this circuit and the field spread is significant, so gaining places on the run down to Turn 1 is vital. The undercut is a very useful tactic here to gain places; you pit before the cars ahead of you, use the performance of the new tyres versus old and then gain places when they pit. Kimi Raikkonen did it very effectively last season on his way to a podium.
The race on the Marina Bay Circuit is also one of the longest and toughest of the year for the cars and drivers. The race can last up to two hours and with high temperatures , humidity and constant braking and turning, it is a real marathon.
Plus we're getting a new FIA mandated radio ban on driver coaching and car situation. Some drivers may be pushing to the limit and not know it so this should be a very interesting race indeed. As for the 2 championship leaders, it will be interesting to see how Rosberg will handle this race without having so much information on Hamilton's status all the time.
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