Friday, September 18, 2015

SINGAPORE GP 2015 PREVIEW

The Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race on the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The event takes place in Singapore on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and was the inaugural F1 night race and the first street circuit in Asia. Spaniard Fernando Alonso won the first edition of the grand prix, driving for the Renault F1 team. The Singapore Grand Prix will remain on the F1 calendar through at least 2017, after race organizers signed a contract extension with Formula One Management on the eve of the 2012 event. 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.

TRACK CHARACTERISTICS

Track Length : 5.073 kilometres.
Race Distance : 61 laps (309.316 kilometres).
Corners : 23 corners in total.
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).

WEATHER FORECAST

Temperatures are traditionally scorching hot at Marina Bay and the temperature this weekend is forecast to stay around the 32/33 degrees Celsius mark. The lingering haze may well hamper visibility and alter the conditions throughout the weekend. There are also rain showers and even thunderstorms predicted for the weekend, which could turn an already-tricky street circuit into one of the biggest challenges of the season.

On Monday the Pollutant Standards Index in Singapore exceeded 200. This level which is described as “very unhealthy”, and the elderly, pregnant women and children are advised to do as little outdoor activity as possible when the air quality is this poor. Since then conditions have gradually improved. At 6pm on Thursday the PSI range for Singapore was between 68 and 85, which is considered “moderate”. Eastward winds may further improve conditions over the coming days.

According to Singapore’s National Environment Agency, “The 24-hour PSI for the next 24 hours is expected to be in the high end of the Moderate range and the low end of the Unhealthy range.” The weather pattern at the track will be typical for the region: daytime temperatures will peak at 30C and will only drop by a few degrees at nightfall, when the track action begins.

DRS

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.


TYRES

The two softest tyres in the range - P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft - have been nominated for this street circuit, which has a number of unusual aspects to it. Being a night race, with all the practice and qualifying sessions held at night too, the way that track temperature evolves is considerably different to more conventional grands prix - and this has a significant effect on the way that the tyres are used.

Singapore has the highest number of corners of any circuit on the Formula One calendar (23), creating more work for the tyres. Coupled with the 80% humidity, two-hour race time, and the fact that it's the second-slowest lap of the year after Monaco (which limits cooling and airflow through the car) this makes Marina Bay the most physically challenging circuit of all for the drivers.
All these corners mean that traction and braking are the two most vital aspects of the Marina Bay circuit. Like most street circuits, the surface in Singapore is quite bumpy, and this certainly doesn't help. With very little run-off area, mistakes rarely go unpunished: requiring a high degree of precision from the tyre. The left-rear is the tyre that is worked hardest, while the cars run very high downforce.

Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 1.8 - 2.2 seconds per lap.

SAFETY CAR

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.

CONCLUSION

Lewis Hamilton is in ominous form right now. Eleven poles from 12 races is an incredible record, especially when his main contender is title rival and team-mate Nico Rosberg. Hamilton's 53-point lead has been built on the back of dominant drives in Belgium and Italy. The reigning world champion will have extra incentive this weekend - a win will move him level on career victories with boyhood idol Ayrton Senna (41) in exactly the same amount of race starts (161).

Last year's strategy and how the race was won: Lewis Hamilton won the 61-lap race using a three-stop strategy. He started on the supersoft, pitted for supersoft again on lap 15, supersoft again on lap 31, and soft on lap 52. There was a wide variety of strategies used throughout the field.

This will be THE race where Lewis Hamilton can hammer his advantage over Nico Rosberg with another win. Rosberg is not only 53 points behind but had to take his fourth engine of the season. After this he will have a penalty if he has to change engine again. Plus the knowledge that Lewis is on a qualifying roll will pressure Rosberg to make mistakes as he has nothing to lose to try to overdo himself.

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