Night scene on Singapore city streets

Night scene on Singapore city streets

Singapore 2009 preview Round 14 of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship takes place at the Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit. Situated in the heart of downtown Singapore, the tight circuit passes various famous landmarks...

Singapore 2009 preview

Round 14 of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship takes place at the Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit. Situated in the heart of downtown Singapore, the tight circuit passes various famous landmarks including Saint Andrew's Cathedral, City Hall, the Supreme Court and the Esplanade Bridge. This will be the second night race held at the Marina Bay Circuit after the inaugural event in 2008.

Another night race in Singapore.
Photo by xpb.cc.

The track is made up of public roads and features 23 corners, two of which will be taken at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Running in an anti-clockwise direction it is the only circuit which crosses two bridges and travels under a grandstand. Over 1,500 light projectors, will be used to illuminate the track. A maximum down force track, it varies in width from three-lane highways to narrow barricaded straights.

A few changes have been made to the circuit, the pit exit has been realigned to join the track after the first corner, and most notably, an extra driver egress point has been created on the left side between the now famous turns 17 and 18.

The Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit is a challenging drivers circuit and there is little room for mistakes, like the street circuits of Monaco and Valencia, the concrete walls will await any driver who makes a slight mistake.

Lewis Hamilton: "Last year's inaugural Singapore Grand Prix was a real example of how to host a new Formula 1 race - fantastic facilities, slick organization and a unique and interesting track that was not only fun and demanding but also really forced you to push to the limit and take a few risks to get the best from the car".

The championship

Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and the Brawn GP team are still in command of the drivers and constructors championship, followed by Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. The championship will decided among these four drivers, and Jenson Button is still the favorite for the 2009 title. Vettel and Webber have to give it their all this weekend and have score points, if they fail to do so, their championship ambitions will be over.

But Red Bull faces a real problem, sofar Webber has used 7 out of the 8 allocated engines, and Vetter will run his last engine this weekend in Singapore. Vettel's position is precarious, he has only one engine left which he must use in 4 races, and will face a ten-place grid penalty if he has to replace his last engine. Button and Barrichello both have 2 engines for the remaining 4 races.

Brawn GP (146 points)

Ross Brawn: The team and our drivers performed extremely well in Monza to achieve a one-two finish at the last race and we will be hoping to carry that momentum through to Singapore. We have a significant aerodynamic upgrade for the BGP 001 for this weekend which should bring another good step in performance for the final races of the season."

Brawn GP still in the lead of the championship.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Jenson Button: (80 points) "I spent some time at the factory last week driving the circuit on our simulator which helps with the track layout, gears and downforce levels so we are well prepared and looking forward to arriving in Singapore and getting the weekend underway."

Rubens Barrichello: (66 points) "It's a very slow track so you need a high downforce aerodynamic configuration on the car and with so many corners, you have to maintain your concentration at all times. I've had a great time over the last month with two victories so we've got some good momentum behind us going into the final four races of the season. I can't wait to get back in the car and get on with the challenge."

Red Bull Racing (105,5 points)

Christian Horner: "There are a couple of tracks that suit our car and the last three tracks haven't been good for us. I hope that when we go back to lower-downforce circuits with faster corners then we will be able to raise our game again. We will attack every race weekend and we will not give up until it is over!"

Sebastian Vettel: (54 points) "I will fight to the last breath and minute. Being a 'couple' of points behind, I know it's not going to be easy, but we will see. I think any of the top four - or three - has a clear chance. For some, the chances are bigger, for some smaller. Scoring the maximum points is the target, and regarding the championship, we will see what happens"

Mark Webber: (51,5 points) "We're hoping for a change in fortune in Singapore - the street circuits haven't been a happy hunting ground for us so far this year. It's certainly not going to be a piece of cake, but we're doing our absolute utmost to get back towards the front again. We'll also have upgrades for this race - I think everyone will at this stage of the season."

McLaren (47 points)

Martin Whitmarsh: "Our pace in recent grands prix increasingly shows that we have developed MP4-24 into a pretty decent all-round competitor and we remain confident for the Singapore Grand Prix. For this race, we are introducing our last major upgrade package of the season before fully devoting our efforts and resources towards next year's car.

Lewis Hamilton: (27 points) "I remember my race in Singapore last year was all about damage limitation - I was driving with one eye on the world championship and wasn't going to take too many risks. I was happy to finish on the podium. This year, it's very different - I know I'm out of the title hunt and I want to attack these last four races, pushing for as many victories as I can."

Heikki Kovalainen: (20 points) "We really seem to have discovered the sweet- spot of this year's car. I've had points finished in every race since the Nurburgring, and we've got some interesting new upgrades in the system that are planned for the Singapore race. Of course, racing at night is what really makes this event unique."

Vijay Mallya wants to continue the success they had in Belgium and Italy.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Force India (13 points)

Vijay Mallya: I'd hope we could be again in Q3 and racing for points. We have a new upgrade coming, which features some modifications to the bodywork, the diffuser and the front wing. Every upgrade we've introduced so far this year has really given us a step forward so I am hopeful that we will be able to maintain our recent run of form."

Adrian Sutil: (5 points) "My goal will be to be focused from the start of the weekend, do some solid work in practice and qualify well as a good grid position is very important here. For sure it's then to get some more points. I feel we can definitely add to the total."

Vitantonio Liuzzi: (no points) "For sure Singapore will be much tougher. We've been working in the simulator to get to know it better, but it will be a much tougher event. We'll have to see how the car is there because it's a completely different circuit, with really high downforce, so everything can change."

Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit

Circuit length:                   5.067 km

Direction: Anti-clockwise
Total number of race laps: 61
Total race distance: 308.950 km
Full throttle percentage: 33%
Top speed: 297 km/h
Longest section with full throttle: 9 sec/650 meter
Gear changes per lap: 76
Tyre wear: Medium
Brake wear: Very high
Downforce level: Very high
Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 2008, 1:45.599
Speed limits in the pit lane: 60 km/h during practice sessions;
100 km/h during qualifying and race

Last year's results:

Race:
1 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:57:16.304
2 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota +2.957 secs
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +5.917 secs

Qualifying:
1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:44.801
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:45.465
3 Kimi R?ikk?nen Ferrari 1:45.617

After the Renault crash-gate affair, Formula One has to do everything to restore part of the credibility they have lost last Monday during the meeting of the WMSC in Paris. And Singapore is an unique circuit that could do just that. Glamorous, tight corners, concrete walls and floodlights illuminating the circuit for the second night race ever in Formula One. All the ingredients are there and it is now up to the drivers and organization to put on a high octane show for the spectators.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Ross Brawn , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Vitantonio Liuzzi , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , McLaren , Force India , Williams , Brawn GP