Fabio Leimer and the Racing Engineering team arrive in Singapore with the young Swiss driver leading the 2013 GP2 Championship by 6 points and the Spanish team in second place in the Team Championship with just two more race weekends to go.
This will be the second time the GP2 teams have raced on this demanding 5.067 Km street circuit. Pirelli has nominated the P Zero Yellow soft compound and the P Zero Red supersoft compound. While overall tyre wear is generally low in Singapore, there is a high level of thermal degradation due to the high ambient temperatures. Drivers can also experience extremely high levels of humidity on the Marina Bay circuit, testing both man and machine.
Featuring 23 corners, Marina Bay has the second-highest number of corners of the year, but as only two of these are taken at high speed this means that less lateral energy is put through the tyres compared to other twisty circuits.
Below Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering, looks forward to Singapore:
Thomas, the last race weekend in Monza was a very successful one for Racing Engineering and its drivers. Please talk us through it and the great results of Fabio and Julian.
Monza has been a very positive weekend for the team and both drivers. Fabio qualified in P2, only 3 hundredths from pole position. He then won Race 1 while Julian finished in P5 so that was a brilliant Saturday. On reversed-grid Race 2, Julian achieved third place and Fabio sixth getting two extra points for the fastest lap. Overall, the team and drivers did an excellent job in Monza and underlined the strong performance of our cars on this tight and challenging GP2 field.
While Monza is a high-speed track, this week's event takes place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. What are the main differences comparing these two events?
The Singapore circuit is very different to Monza in many respects. The main one is that the Singapore track is a real street circuit, with some very low speed corners, with limited visibility on most of them and the run-off areas are very limited due to the barriers on each side… The average speed on a qualifying lap in Monza is about 227km/ against an approximately 152km/h average in Singapore, which means that the cars are set-up in a very different way, with other compromises to be made. Singapore always holds some surprises given the particular track layout and the heat, but also there is the ever present risk of rain. What will be the main factors to have an eye on for engineers and drivers this weekend?
The 2012 Singapore GP2 round was quite exciting with a lot of action on track and it might be the same again this week. Here the heat and humidity are adding a physical challenge to the drivers - and the teams!. The rain has already fallen on the track this afternoon during the installation, it is very typical here and we can have some intense showers, not just a few drops…and that's quite unpredictable, unfortunately! There was an impressive chicane but it has been removed this year in favour of a different type of corner, mostly for safety reason due to some front suspension failures in the past. Qualifying will be one of the key points with the aim to start as far in the front as possible and then, tyre management as well as strategy and reactivity will be the race’s major points to look after.
Fabio arrives at Singapore leading the championship and can look back on two podium finishes in Singapore in 2012. We are sure the Racing Engineering crew is working hard to repeat this or get an even better result in 2013, but what are the expectations for both drivers and the team in general?
Following the very strong results at Monza and the positive results we had last year in Singapore, the team is working with the goal of getting pole position and win the race but, obviously, it will be a very tough challenge and 12 other teams will fight for it as well. The Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore doesn't leave any room for mistakes so racing here will spice up this very interesting end of the championship battle even more.