Round fifteen of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship takes competitors to Singapore, as the final phase of flyaway races begins. Despite being one of the most recent additions to the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Singapore Grand Prix has swiftly established a reputation for drama and spectacle. It joined the championship in 2008 with the unique distinction of being Formula One’s first-ever night race and it is the only street circuit grand prix in Asia.
Run through the roads that surround the island state’s Marina Bay area, the event proved immediately popular with teams as its ‘night race’ schedule allows personnel to remain on ‘European time’, despite Singapore’s sixhour time difference from Formula One’s European heartland. The event’s two previous winners, Fernando Alonso (2008) and Lewis Hamilton (2009), both head to this year’s race among the favourites for victory and in the thick of the fight for the drivers’ title. Red Bull’s Mark Webber, however, leads the drivers’ championship with 187 points; although all five leading drivers are covered by less than one win in terms of points.
With three teams – Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull Racing – having won grands prix this season and five drivers having shared victory spoils, both championships are delicately poised: the constructors’ tussle is even closer than the drivers’ contest: Red Bull Racing head McLaren by just 350 points to 347.
CHANGES TO THE CIRCUIT SINCE 2009
• The track has been resurfaced in various places, the most important being around turn 5 and on the approach to turn 7.
• The first and third apex kerbs at turn 10 have been moved slightly in order to ‘point’ cars further left on the exit of the
chicane. The former has been moved right by one metre and the latter left by two metres.
• The kerb on the exit of turn 10 has been moved closer to the wall to prevent cars from being able to mount it.
• The wall on the exit of turn 21 has been moved slightly closer to the track to cover half of the drain covers.
• A new track cleaning machine has been brought in to help prevent any repetition of the dust problems encountered in 2009.
FAST FACTS: SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
• Providing sufficient lighting for a Formula One night race is a considerable technical challenge. An Italian company took on the task of lighting the track, equipping the circuit with 1500 projectors powered by 12 twin-power generators. The level of light required is 3,000 lux – or four times greater than that needed to light a traditional sports stadium.
• The projectors, which line only one side of the circuit, to prevent drivers becoming disorientated in the event of spinning, are mounted on aluminium frames 10 metres above the track. These frames are supported by 240 steel pylons placed at 32-metre intervals behind the barriers. More than 108,000 metres of cable is needed to connect and power the projectors.
• A ‘Singapore Grand Prix’ was held eight times between 1966 and 1973 on the city’s Thomson Road Circuit. It was held for Formula Two cars and run to Australian Formula Two rules. The last Singapore Grand Prix before the modern World Championship event was won by Australian ex-Formula One driver and Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan, driving a March.
• The Singapore Grand Prix can trace its origins to the Orient Year Grand Prix of 1961, that was renamed the Malaysian Grand Prix in 1962. With the declaration of Singaporean independence from Malaysia in 1965, the event was renamed once more, to become the Singapore Grand Prix.
• McLaren, uniquely, can claim to be a multiple winner of the Singapore Grand Prix. In addition to Lewis Hamilton’s 2009 win, driving a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24, New Zealander Graeme Lawrence, 1970 Tasman Series champion, won the 1969 race at the Thomson Road circuit, driving a McLaren-Ford.
Length of lap: 5.793km
Lap record: 1:45.599 (Kimi Räikkönen, 2008, Ferrari)
Start line/finish line offset: 0.137km
Total number of race laps: 61
Total race distance: 309.316km
Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice sessions; 100km/h during qualifying and race