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The toughest race of the year to manage from the pit wall: Singapore GP insight
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Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Sep 2013   |  10:18 pm GMT  |  125 comments

The Singapore Grand Prix is an iconic race, F1’s first night race and it produces lovely TV pictures.

But this race is probably the most difficult to manage for the strategy team and the race engineers on the pit-wall. This is due to it being a very long and stressful race, the very likely deployment of the safety car at any time and the management of the tyres, with the large penalty associated with an additional pit stop. There can often be a heavy weather front to deal with. It is not one for the faint hearted!

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.

Strategy wise it was a two stop race last season, largely because of two safety car periods. But with low pit lane speed limits (60km/h) and a 400 metre pit lane, it is one of the slowest pitstops of the year, so teams try to do the minimum number.

Another strategy consideration is the fuel: as the track is at sea level, the air pressure is higher, the air is more dense and this means that the fuel consumption is higher. The stop and start nature of the track further adds to this. So the cars start heavier than at many places with around 155 kilos of fuel on board -10 kg more than the average. This adds to the punishment of the tyres in the early stages of the race.

The track has undergone one significant modification; the chicane at Turn 10 has been removed, so the corner is now faster. This takes away the impact of the kerbs and slightly improves tyre life as it takes away a traction event from a low speed.


Track characteristics

Marina Bay, Singapore – 5.073 kilometres. Race distance – 61 laps = 309.316 kilometres. 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). Total fuel needed for race distance – 155 kilos (average/high). Fuel consumption – 2.26 kg per lap (average)

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)

Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried): 0.37 seconds (high)


Form Guide

The Singapore Grand Prix is the 13th round of 19 in the 2013 FIA F1 World Championship.

This time last year Sebastian Vettel won the race and it was only his second win of the season. This year he already has six wins from 12 starts and has a strong grip on the world championship table. Mercedes has three wins, Ferrari two and Lotus one. McLaren has yet to score a podium finish in 2013.

As far as drivers’ and teams’ form at Singapore is concerned; Sebastian Vettel has won the race for the last two years; Fernando Alonso won the race in 2008 with Renault and 2010 with Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton won the 2009 edition for McLaren. Hamilton was on pole last year.

Weather Forecast

The weather forecast for the weekend is for high temperatures, around 31 degrees, with the possibility of rain. It has rained most evenings in the week before the event. However in five previous events rain hasn’t affected the actual race, so we must surely be due a wet race soon, given the nature of the weather in Singapore.


Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Singapore: medium (white markings) and supersoft (red markings). This is the first time this combination of tyres has been seen since Pirelli switched the compounds from the Hungarian GP onwards.

In Singapore the great challenge is to look after the rear tyres, which get damaged by the constant stopping and starting at the circuit’s 23 corners. With a very long pit lane, stops are slow and so teams want to make as few stops as possible. It’s quite an aggressive track and the risk here is overheating the rear tyres, leading to thermal degradation and a steep drop off in performance. The track temperatures at night, when it is dark, are significantly lower than in the FP1 and FP3 practice sessions, which take place in the early evening, so the tyres behave differently. The reduced track temperature helps manage the degradation, but in race conditions the high fuel load increases it again!

It is also one of the hardest races of the season for the brakes, not because of big stops from high to low speeds, but because of the frequent brake use and no straights to cool the brakes. This places an extra strain on the tyres as the red hot brakes inside the wheels cook the tyres from the inside, so tyre management is difficult.

Pirelli is bringing the medium and supersoft this year, a more conservative choice than in 2012. Last year with the soft and supersoft tyres the gap in performance between the two compounds was greater than expected. In qualifying it was as much as 1.6 seconds on some cars. In the race, many teams found that the soft tyres were not working to the optimum; they were designed to be more resistant to high temperatures, but didn’t perform grip wise on the slippery surface.


Number and likely timing of pit stops

Last year the teams looked set to stop three times, but with the intervention of two safety cars, that was dropped to two stops. The second safety car really spoiled the excitement of the race.

For the last two years Force India’s Paul Di Resta had got some excellent results through race strategy. Last year he was fourth, while in 2011 he got a sixth place finish from 10th on the grid by saving a new set of the harder compound tyre from qualifying to start the race on and then doing a two stop strategy with a middle stint on supersofts.

By making one less stop than his rivals he was able to get track position for the closing stint. This is a tactic we could see Force India or Lotus trying this year. However, the more conservative choice of medium and supersoft may mean that all the main players will be able to do the race on just two stops.

A strategy of stopping around lap 17 for new mediums and then again on lap 39 for new mediums looks like a competitive plan at this stage.

The time needed for a pit stop in Singapore is very long, which helps cars able to make one less stop. A safety car is likely to feature at some point and this can change the game, allowing cars which lost ground to close up and, if deployed around the time of pit stops, can change the order significantly.

Five or six laps behind a safety car also moves teams into a window of making one less stop, by extending the tyre life.

Chance of a Safety Car

The chance of a Safety Car at Singapore is very high. There has been at least one Safety Car at every Singapore GP so far with an average of 6 laps spent under Safety Car. Last year there were two safety car periods.


Recent start performance

Starts are a critical part of the race and strategy can be badly compromised by a poor start, while good starts can make strategists change their plans in the hope of a good result.

As far as 2013 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season on aggregate as follows:

Gained:

+18 Van der Garde*****


+16 Massa



+15 Perez


+15 Gutierrez


+14 Maldonado


+13 Sutil***


+12 Di Resta


+8 Button


+7 Alonso


+4 Vettel


+4 Pic


Held position
Bottas
Chilton

Lost

:
-1 Hulkenberg**

-4 Raikkonen

*******
-6 Hamilton


-7 Bianchi******

-8 Ricciardo



-10 Grosjean
-10 Rosberg

-14 Vergne ****


-16 Webber*



*Webber dropped from second to seventh after a clutch problem in Australia
** Hulkenberg did not start in Australia *** Sutil suffered puncture from contact with Massa in Bahrain ****Vergne retired following collision. *****Van der Garde and Maldonado made contact in Monaco. ******Bianchi started from pit lane in Monaco after stalling *******Raikkonen crashed into Perez at the first corner at Monza


Pit Stop League Table

Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution by the mechanics and we have seen tyre stops carried out in just over two seconds by F1 teams. From Singapore onwards teams must use a new type of wheel nut for safety reasons and this slows the stops down slightly.

The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their fastest time in the Italian Grand Prix, from the car entering the pit lane to leaving it.

1. Mercedes 24.079 secs
2. Red Bull 24.205s
3. Ferrari 24.208s
4. Toro Rosso 24.319s
5. McLaren 24.450s
6. Williams 24.665s
7. Sauber 24.668s
8. Lotus 24.764s
9. Marussia 25.541s
10. Caterham 25.569s
11. Force India 26.873s


The UBS Race Strategy Briefing is written by James Allen with input and data from some of the F1 team strategists, from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan and from Pirelli.

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125 Comments
  1. ant says:

    Ambitious guess

    qualifying..
    1.Vet
    2.Mas
    3.Alo
    4.Rai
    5.Gro
    6.Ham
    7.Web
    8.Ros
    9.Hulk
    10.Mal

    Race
    1.Rai
    2.Alo
    3.Mas
    4.Vet
    5.Web
    6.Ham
    7.Gro
    8.Di
    9.Ros
    10.Sut

  2. Do you think Massa’s announced departure at the end of the season will have a negative effect on his approach and determination to compete for a top grid place.

  3. goferet says:

    In many ways, the Singapore Grand Prix holds many records for apart from being the first night F1 race, I also believe it is the smallest geographical country to have ever held a race.

    And am not sure if the F1 personnel have ever got used to the idea of having supper at 4am and sleeping till lunch for that must be pretty difficult getting used to.

    Anyway, I look to find out whether there will be a powershift between the teams as we get back to the high downforce tracks for instance Ferrari has been struggling with the stop and go tracks this season so it will be interesting to see if they have got on top of their traction deficiencies.

    Also am hoping for a couple of heroics from some drivers as street circuits enable pilots to shine such as Maldonado when he qualified P3 last season.

    As for the safety car, if the drivers keep up the high level of performance they have shown in 2013, maybe we won’t see it this time unless it’s for something entirely different like loose curbs.

    Regards Pirelli’s tyre choice, for some reason they seem still wary of the soft tyres which did a good job of falling apart in the earlier part of the season.

    But seeing as we got the new tyres, I don’t see what the problem is.

  4. goferet says:

    Some Singapore stats:

    Been racing since 2008.

    a) Alonso 2 wins, Vettel 2 wins, Lewis 1 win

    b) Pole Position: Red Bull 1, Ferrari 2, Mclaren 2

    c) Vettel is the only back to back winner

    d) Vettel is the only driver to have won both Singapore and Monaco in the same season >>> Infact Vettel has the record of having won at all street circuits in the same season i.e. Australia, Monaco, Valencia and Singapore.

    e) With the exception of 2008 when Massa had a pitstop hiccup whilst in the lead and 2012 when Lewis retired from the lead, all winners have emerged from pole.

    f) Alonso has always finished on the podium except 2011 when he narrowly lost P3.

    g) Vettel’s worst qualifying is P6 in a Torro Rosso. But since 2009, hasn’t qualified lower than P2.

    h) In 2012, 6th was Kimi’s best finish. Before that, hadn’t finished higher than 10th.

  5. goferet says:

    Fun Fact

    Monza, Monaco and Barcelona have seen ROSberg finish ahead of Lewis.

    All 3 venues also happen to be the races which ROScoe the dog attended.

    Now this could have just been a coincidence if not for the fact that Lewis admitted that he encountered concentration issues at the Monaco race and Monza qualifying.

  6. Javier Marcelo says:

    ALO has already be arround for the last 10 years. I is a great driver no doubt. But, at the same time he neds some luck. He is always there. He never give up.

    But he deserve more than only 2 WDC. Knowing this is the last race of the year for Ferrari to turn into 2014 car focus, excep if they, ALO, gets closer to vetel…
    No way this is gong to be his arce.

    It must be. He needs to stop vetel’s fourth cronw before Kimi and his guys comes across next year.

    It has to we if he want to increase his own history.

    It definetly will be his great arce of the year.

    Don’t lose it. I promise you the best expectacle of the year.

    Show must go on¡!!!

  7. Oscar says:

    Hello James. I think you made a mistake. Higher air density increases engine efficiency therefore decrease fuel consumption. Density = mass /volume thus for the same volume of aire you get more molecules of air. Let my know if I am the one mistaking. Cheers!!

  8. Captain Sorbet says:

    Hi James,
    You mentioned a new wheel nut – what exactly has changed about it and why? I have heard some analysts mention that some features of pit stops need to be slowed down but haven’t heard any details about this.

    Thanks

  9. Jonny Baker says:

    On paper, Vettel & Red Bull must be firm favourites. However, you have to hope that Mercedes, Ferrari and hopefully Lotus (plus drivers) can execute faultless weekends. That’s what it’s going to take to beat Vettel, plus some good old variables ie, rain and safety cars!

  10. Phil Too says:

    I’m flying out Thursday from Sydney to go to the race. I cannot f-ing wait! It’s going to be so awesome.

  11. Harshad says:

    James what about the new turn 10, they have modified the chicane haven’t they?
    how will this affect the lap times and hence the strategy.

  12. Mr Ed says:

    The late start time helps avoid rain – usually if (though ‘if’ should probably be ‘when’) it’s going to rain in Singers it’s at about 4pm, by the time the race starts it’s been and gone.

  13. DonSimon says:

    Flying out from Heathrow in a couple of hours. Very happy.

  14. Javier Marcelo says:

    There are five top teams and only four top drivers. One team is out for this reason and at this moment that is MACA. So, it is difficult to keep two of the four top guns in the ame garage for long.

    Where can go ALO outside Ferrari?. No doubt to a top team. But it can’t be MERC nor RBR.

    If Lotus does not get a much clouser partnership Renault deal, it last only MACA.

    Or ALO is next 2014 WDC with Ferrari or next 2015 MACA driver!!!! Time will tell…

  15. yugin says:

    This may be my home Grand Prix but it’s also the one I rate as the most boring out of all the races on the calendar. Everything about it is spectacular- except the racing. Hopefully we can get some rain, which will really make things interesting even if Vettel runs away with it again.

  16. Grant H says:

    Not jealous at all can i come in your luggage!

  17. Quercus says:

    “Singapore produces lovely TV pictures…”

    What? You mean all flat and lifeless with dull colour, on a circuit that’s all concrete walls, catch netting and blackness? The TV spectator can’t even follow the race easily because every corner looks similar and there are few distinguishing features. It might be a great race to visit but for the TV viewer, IMHO, it’s the most boring race on the calendar.

  18. Chromatic says:

    I wonder if Flav will attend as Alonso’s guest, like in Monza?

  19. Cynic says:

    “this race is probably the most difficult to manage for the strategy team and the race engineers on the pit-wall”

    It’s easier if you can get your teammate to crash at T17 bring out a safety car just after you pitted!

  20. Peter Hogan says:

    Oscar, not sure what you’re saying: you say Jamrs is wrong but then you agree that fuel consumption decreases! The increased efficiency (lower fuel usage) with altitude is why planes fly as high as they can – increased mpg…

  21. Ticketyboo says:

    Had the absolute pleasure of travelling to watch this race at T3 last year (23 hours flying from Minnesota) and the icing on the cake was sitting next to Alonso on the return flight Monday morning to Tokyo – I really hope that the spectacle of the race is complimented by either HAM or ALO taking victory but the prancing horse seems to be trotting instead of galloping at the moment, so it may be up to the 3 pointed star to do the business… At the same time Paul Di really needs to get his act together and put in a good performance if he is to secure a better drive for next year and the Force India does quite well here on an adventurous strategy, so let’s see – can’t wait.

  22. Ronnie says:

    Thank you, James, for wonderful articles like this – the best F1 site IMO.

  23. Elie says:

    IF the car is reliable Hamilton will win this race. It’s a circuit that suits low/ medium speed downforce grip and engine response out of the many corners. He won in 2009 and was winning last year before his Mac gearbox went crack!! I think this will suit the Ferrari and Felipe always seems to drive really well there and his fighting for his F1 career!.. As usual Red Bull will be strong but not invincible.
    Hamilton-Sebastian-Felipe-Fernando-Kimi

  24. Steve Boden says:

    James,

    Any thoughts on Red Bulls gearbox situation this weekend? Am i right in thinking that both cars have this race left to do on their gearboxes, both of which were problematic in Monza?

    Will they need to take the 5 place grid drop to make sure they finish the race?

  25. Paige says:

    I’m going with all Mercedes, all the time this weekend. They’ve got the pace in the car in high downforce settings. Hamilton and Rosberg have both historically been very quick here. I’ll go with a Hamilton-Rosberg lockout of the front row and a similar finish in the race. The order could go either way, as Rosberg really seems to have a thing for the point-and-squirt circuits, but I think Hamilton has made progress on the technical issues that gave him trouble in Monaco. They seem to have gotten on top of the tire issues, but even if they were at best in Monaco form in terms of the tires, this track presents equal difficulty in terms of overtaking.

    I think we’ll see Vettel come in third in qualifying and keep the position in the race.

    Alonso is good here, too. We’ll see how much progress Ferrari has made at Singapore. Maybe he can pull one out of the bag and get Vettel, and he’ll be extra motivated given that a) he needs to finish ahead of Vettel for Ferrari to stay in the race in terms of development, and b) he’s likely quite tinged by recent developments in the team.

  26. stig says:

    Hi James!

    What do you think is going to happen at McLaren regarding drivers next year besides BUT? Seems to me like they are waiting for Lotus to confirm HULK or MAS.

    Do you think they will replace Perez With HULK, MAS or even DIR? Perez looks more like a midd-Field driver to me. Still dont understand why he got the drive over other options avaliable at the time…

    Cheers!

  27. JohnBt says:

    Me thinks that race can be interesting with RB gearbox issues. I doubt Vettel will be storming away from the front this time and knowing he has matured tremendously he and Webber will bag points. No need to win, more like don’t get into the DNF mode.

    Kimi and Lewis will be the one to watch this weekend of course not leaving out Nando.

    Wishful thinking: Rain before the race begins with a drenched track and starts drying out but with damn spots along the way too. Once and for all let’s witness how the glare of the spray will be like under the lights and we could have rainbows all over.

  28. Basil says:

    Sounds awesome! Have a good time!

  29. David says:

    That appears just before the track graphic — speaking of which, was it supposed to click through to a larger version?

    The one posted in the article is a teensy bit tough to read! B)

  30. Multi 21 says:

    There is no more chicane. It is a fast left-hander. The exact shape is still to be finalised by the looks of it.

    Alonso claims 1 second per lap difference according to the Ferrari simulator.

  31. aezy_doc says:

    ‘The track has undergone one significant modification; the chicane at Turn 10 has been removed, so the corner is now faster. This takes away the impact of the kerbs and slightly improves tyre life as it takes away a traction event from a low speed.’
    ‘A strategy of stopping around lap 17 for new mediums and then again on lap 39 for new mediums looks like a competitive plan at this stage. The time needed for a pit stop in Singapore is very long, which helps cars able to make one less stop’.

    Given that the corner is now faster, it will REDUCE the lap time, but not by enough to affect strategy. Slow pit lane speed and more conservative tyres will have the bigger impact. But the end result is the same – as few pit stops as possible and done on the right lap mean a faster race.

  32. Anil Parmar says:

    Speeds lap time up by 1s according to Alonso.

  33. Paul Watson says:

    and what effect it will have on safety cars as this corner, whether by hook or crook, was always good for a slahed tyre or two.

  34. DonSimon says:

    Normally around the time you are getting ready to leave work in my experience. Although speaking to mates out there at the moment it’s been really changeable the last couple of evenings. Should be interesting.

  35. Steven L says:

    By “luck” do you mean his participation in cheating, putting track workers and other drivers lives at risk ?

    Funny how his fans choose to ignore the fact he pitted without question the lap before Piquet’s staged crash, when cars who qualify badly almost universally stay out as late as possible. No driver in any race I can recall has simply tried to gamble on a safety car on a specific lap, the only example being FA in Singapore, and tht turned out to be a team conspiracy we are expected to believe FA had no part in ? LOL.

  36. Yak says:

    Whoever puts it on pole is likely to win. Failing that, the guy next to him. If Hamilton and Vettel are on the front row, which I see as fairly likely, and both of their cars fail or they take each other out, it’ll be out of the two that qualified on the 2nd row. Which still won’t be Alonso.

  37. yugin says:

    I think James is correct. When you burn fuel you need a specific ratio of air molecules to fuel molecules. Higher air density means more air molecules, hence you’ll need more fuel to achieve the ideal ratio. This probably also means the engines will develop more power. It’s the opposite scenario of Brazil, where there’s less air (molecules) and hence less fuel required, but also less power.

  38. Chapor says:

    The fuel air ratio is 14 parts air to one part fuel. More air means more fuel.

  39. iceman says:

    The air/fuel ratio is fixed (by the chemistry of combustion) so more air molecules going into the engine means you burn more fuel, making more power in the process.
    If you didn’t increase the fuel flow to match the increased mass of air, the engine would run lean and cause overheating problems.

  40. medor says:

    Not sure if it applies to f1, but my car in summer, with airco, does consume less on identical trips than in winter.

    Whether this is due to the fuel controller being setup that way, or the less dense air offering less aerodynamic resistance, or again something with the rolling resistance of the tires, I don’t know.

  41. AB says:

    Higher air density = more fuel (same air fuel ix)= more power and higher fuel consumption. As a rule of thumb 1,000 m of altidude = -10% power.

  42. Matthew Cheshire says:

    I’m thinking you are missing the point. Dense air gives more air resistance therefore higher fuel consumption to reach the same speeds.

    stoichiometric ratio is the same, around 14-15:1. You do get more power from an engine. Just like a forced induction like a turbo or supercharger compressing the mixture before combustion. Obviously just a slight increase with just air pressure.

    You can try it. An old quarter mile trick is to put ice in your intake. Cold air is denser and you get a (tiny) bit more power.

  43. Grant H says:

    I disagree, the merc is the best low speed car on the grid, seems to get heat into tyres quicker than the other cars, also look at the results if the other low speed tracks monoco and hungry! efficient downforce (low drag) like the red bull is not as critical on this track as per somewhere like silverstone, lewis is a qualifying specialist on this track, so I think of the remaining races singapore will be a merc / ham win – its certainly thier best chance of the fly aways

  44. SteveS says:

    No, this is very much a Mercedes track.

  45. James Allen says:

    Yes but don’t forget that there is less DRS use than last year in a quali lap – only two places. It was worth about 0.8s last year, so cars will be slower due to that, but faster due to Turn 10 changes. It will be interesting to see what effect both these changes (plus 12 months development) will have on lap time

  46. James Allen says:

    That may be your view, but many TV companies, sponsors, F1 Management etc use Singapore images for their promos because it looks stunning

    Maybe you need to upgrade your telly?

  47. Rockie says:

    Am guessing you have not seen it on a quality flat screen or in HD.

  48. Anil Parmar says:

    It might be a dull race but it really does look spectacular :)

  49. Jodum5 says:

    Not sure about that. The Korea and Bahrain tracks are pretty lifeless. I would add the “gritty” India track at the tail end of my list.

  50. James Allen says:

    The info came from one of F1′s senior engineers…

  51. James Allen says:

    Monaco? Surely that’s smaller? It’s only got 40,000 people, Singapore has 4 million or so

  52. Dom Jones says:

    I’ll remember Singapore 2012 for two big reasons linked with Hamilton’s retirement.

    1) I reckon this was when he finally made his mind up to quit McLaren after their numerous cock ups that season which cost him a whole bunch of points. He would have won this race if he had not broken down.

    2) Vettel inherited the lead and the win – and an extra 8 points – and he only won the title by 3 points. Although there are a few things you can point to last year that won him the title – bad strategy by Alonso in Canada – excellent performance by Vettel in Abu Dhabi – I don’t think he would have caught and passed Hamilton in Singapore, so this race last year was definitely one of the key factors in him winning the title.

  53. CYeo says:

    Maldonado was P2 last year, Vettel P3.

  54. James Allen says:

    No. He’s driving for his career now and I think he will go very well in the final races

  55. James Allen says:

    The Mercedes should be back on top on a track like this

  56. Ronnie says:

    Being a VET fan, I’d love to see him win. But HAM seems to be poised win this race.

    My prediction – HAM, VET, ROS, ALO, RAI, MAS, DI, GRO, WEB, BUT

  57. MrF1 says:

    It’s an amazing spectacle for tv audiences. Looks great on an LED HD TV.
    I was planning on honey mooning there next year but it doesn’t seem to be on the calender for 2014..

  58. K says:

    Agreed, it looks fast and ‘racey’. For some reason it reminds me of the Gran Turismo games, night levels.

  59. Yak says:

    I kinda have to agree with Quercus. And my telly doesn’t need upgrading.

    Shots of the city lit up at night? Yeah, looks fantastic. Aerial shots showing the city and the track all lit up? Looks utterly absurd in the best way possible. I was blown away the first time I saw a far out shot showing the whole circuit under full track lighting.

    But the shots closer up during the race and other sessions? Nothing particularly interesting there. Anything a few metres past the barriers is mostly just black, and the circuit itself is… well, it’s just streets and barriers, but in a slightly different colour to what we’re used to seeing.

    To me, the whole thing kinda looks like a giant version of an indoor karting place, where the track’s all lit up but above the suspended lights is just the blackness of a huge shed.

  60. Ronnie says:

    Cannot wait to see it on my Sony 4K!

    Loved VET’s helmet last year – it twinckled with the night sky

  61. JensonsUndersteer says:

    Lol James!! The Singapore Gp looks the business- sort of in a futuristic kinda way!! James which other tracks may be going for night races in the future? The more the better! I presume this will be done to make European times zones for 1pm starts on my HD TV!!

  62. JimmiCynic says:

    Maybe the sponsors love it because their logos are the most interesting things to look at. Stunning is a word I’d reserve for Bernie’s fee. It’s my second least fav race to watch on TV, despite my HD plasma screen’s excellent resolution of the concrete walls, catch netting and blackness.

  63. MrF1 says:

    Ferrari fly a private plane shared with Torro Rosso

  64. pepe_le_pew says:

    Please be more specific Ticket_Bug, does sitting next to Alonso mean you were sitting in the row next to the lady who was behind the emergency exit row which was dirrectly behind the place where Alonso Sat (Could have been a fellow with an Alonso cap bought at the airport), or do you mean that you were in the seat directly next to the Spanish machine, in which case, What do you say to a double world champion and arguably the second fastest man on 4 wheels.

  65. Matt W says:

    I do find it inconceivable that Alonso didn’t know anything about Crashgate. It is frankly astonishing he wasn’t properly questioned by the FIA on it.

    Of all the cheating incidents in F1 recently that has to be one of the most dangerous incidents and I don’t think F1 handled it anywhere near seriously enough.

    That being said, Alonso is an absolutely fantastically talented driver, but just as Schumacher always has a cloud over him for various incidents, Alonso should have the same.

  66. Yak says:

    Well to be fair, just because he came in right before the crash doesn’t mean he knew that strategy also involved his team mate putting it in the wall. Also to be fair, I have seen races where drivers/teams have at least partly banked on a safety car appearance as part of their strategy. Not in F1 though. And it’s also at circuits the category has been to many times over the years and they have pretty solid safety car stats for, not a brand new circuit they’re going to for the first time.

    That said, do I actually believe he had no knowledge of it? No. Does the strategy given his starting position seem a bit odd? Yes. Does Alonso’s explanation of the strategy seem a bit odd? The plan was to bring him in early (which would drop him to the back of the field) because it’s difficult to overtake and because of potential brake problems? Yes, that sounds a bit odd.

    And given his previous experience of the whole Spygate drama, I guess he’d have learned to not put anything in writing.

  67. Andrew Carter says:

    That’s funny, I do remember there being a fair bit of talk at the time of him questioning the teams strategy to have him pit early and being very sceptical of it going into the race.

    Amazing how the sceptics always gloss over that part.

  68. Dom Jones says:

    As Alonso received no penalty for this incident I presume there is no evidence he took part in the cheating – only benefitted from it. Isn’t it more likely that Alonso had a normal pitstop and then Piquet Jnr was told to crash?

  69. aezy_doc says:

    If the pit wall says ‘box’ you come in. That’s what Alonso did.

  70. SDA says:

    It was funny watching a 2008 re-run on TV on Sunday night. I felt sorry for James but had to laugh as he announced early in his commentary: “Renault’s Pat Symonds told me there’s a very good chance of a safety car tonight.”

    A very good chance indeed, Pat…

  71. Javier Marcelo says:

    Whit all my respect, “luck” is not to be a doble WDC and arrive in a that recons (his team principal Dennis in a public meeting) that they were “not racing -against- ALO” and not against Kimi, which happens the third last race of 2007…Even though he ended up 1 point far from wining that WDC (1)… Bad luck to sing for a team like that one.

    Bad luck was in last race in 2010, that Ferrari strategic guy decides to “cover” webber and let Vetel overtake him easily, because of that misteak (2) -ending 3 points away from WDC-

    Bad luck -or maybe not- was Grossjean crash whit him in Spa 2012 and Kimi two races after that one and loses again WDC for only 3-4 points.

    And bad luck now is, or could be, if Ferrari divide nexo year points between ALO and KIMI if they have a car to fight whit VET…

    I agree Renault organised CrashGate, but not him. That year he had nothing to loose!! Renault millions and two team members got a punismen… Do not forget, please.

    I hope you are not HAM fan or, if you are, great, but please remember every scandal -on race- he has been involved!!!

    Or must I remind it?

    Bad luck

  72. JohnBt says:

    You meant minus 1 sec.

  73. Yak says:

    Yeah… given the events of 2007, I can’t really see Alonso going back to McLaren. Or McLaren wanting him back.

  74. H.Guderian says:

    Agree.
    McLaren needs a top driver.
    After ALO’s departure, they plunged.

  75. KRB says:

    g) is wrong … Vettel qualified P3 last year, behind Maldonado.

  76. Sebee says:

    Alonso two wins….ha ha ha!

  77. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    What’s “back to back winner” meaning? If it means leading all laps, remember Alonso did an awesome Grand Chelem here in 2010 (his best race weekend ever for me).

  78. David C says:

    I’m sure MS picked up all available street circuits in 2001 and prob another year aswell

  79. Anil Parmar says:

    Yeah it could be another Monaco for them! Ham could well take a few wins before the end of the year now we’ve returned to the higher downforce tracks.

  80. Charlie says:

    Can’t knock the optimism for a Kimi win though…!

  81. JackL says:

    But what about high rear deg James? Surely it would be just like the earlier races where they qualify high then fall back?

  82. BogRacer says:

    +1. Hamilton and Vettel will fight for pole on Saturday and it will be close!

  83. dean cassady says:

    disagree.

    Mercedes Achilles heel is their tire degradation on high fuel load.

    Singapore = high fuel load and hot temperatures.
    Look for Mercedes to struggle in the first stint, probably from close to the front, from qualifying.
    Ramifications for the field: if stuck behind the fast qualifying Mercedes, pass in race or have potential for high finishing position nullified.

    Looking forward to interesting dual between next year’s team mates.

  84. Cos says:

    I guess calling it boring is dependent on individual tastes…I personally love the street circuits especially when I see some of the younger drivers try a late lunge up the inside …even better when a crash ensues and the safety car is called out….Not because I like watching crashes and innocent driver’s races being ruined…but mainly to watch teams spring in to action as cars dive into the pits…thsi is made even better when it rains and there is no margin for error, unlike some tracks where the run off is huge…..as I said, I guess it’s all a case of individual preference but I love watching the Singapore race.

  85. goferet says:

    @ James Allen

    Aah yes forgot about Monaco

    Cheers

  86. aezy_doc says:

    Monaco is a principality, but according to my good friend Mr Wikipedia it is a sovereign state and so is a country in it’s own right. Apparently only the Vatican City is smaller.

  87. ferggsa says:

    Monaco 2km2
    Singapur 618km2

    Regardless, I think if and when James Allen is unable or unwilling to keep this page going, my vote goes to goferet to keep us informed

  88. DWClark says:

    Singapore- 274.1 square miles
    Monaco- .7 square miles

    James, thanks for the great site.

    DC

  89. Simmo says:

    Geographical size is the area, not the population (I think – I may have got it all wrong, in which case, apologies).

  90. Baghetti says:

    San Marino only has 30,000 now and had even less at the time that we were still going to Imola.

  91. dantheman says:

    Singapore is larger both in population and landmass than Monaco. So I think it’d be 2nd smallest to hold a GP.

  92. Ungulado says:

    Also, depending on your definition of “holding a race”, the Republic of San Marino could be included.

  93. Craig Baker says:

    I wonder how Massa feels about Flavio being Alonso’s guest? When he lost the 2008 WDC by one point and prior to T17 crash he was leading but finished 13th out of the points.

    Massa the Magnanimous operating on a different level than us mere mortals.

  94. JackL says:

    Wonder if Alonso will try that this year. He’s probably getting desperate and he may as well use Massa to ruin Vettel’s race.

  95. Simmo says:

    I don’t think they’ll need to. Grosjean will do it by default anyway.

    Sorry, that was a mean comment, but it would be extremely ironic!

  96. Graeme says:

    If you are running a diesel then the fuel economy improvement in summer can be explained more through the change in fuel formula in winter to make the diesel work in a lower temperature range which reduces the octane rating.

  97. Peter says:

    But, if you measured it you would find it produces less power as well. But, most likely you would never notice the difference. Your car’s engine management automatically adapts for the lower mass of air and cuts the fuelling accordingly thereby lowering fuel consumption. If you were to measure it you would find that the 0-60 time drops in Summer. But by a tiny amount!

  98. aezy_doc says:

    Fair point, but lap times in the race will certainly be reduced by the corner. It won’t be enough to change strategy – (i.e. 2 stops to 1 stop). The different tyres will have the bigger effect.

  99. Spinodontosaurus says:

    2013 has been much quicker at every circuit so far, so the trend should continue.
    I will be interested to see if they can match Vettel’s 1:44.3 from 2011 though.

  100. Jodum5 says:

    If I was a team owner in the market for a driver, I would be very put off from hiring someone who only stepped up his performance when his back was against the wall…

  101. JensonsUndersteer says:

    on massa?? lol

  102. Simmo says:

    I look forward to seeing cars racing in that corner for a change, not crashing!

    (Has Codemasters seen this photo? I don’t want another game of a penalty every time I go through there)

  103. Oscar says:

    In my mind if efficiency increases fuel consumption decreases. James said fuel consumption in higher because of higher density. but i think engines at sea level have higher efficiency thus less fuel consumption. I may be wrong. I am not sure if a planes engines behave as naturaly aspirated engines.

  104. Peter says:

    That’s do to with less aerodynamic drag. Different issue.

  105. Peter says:

    This is going to seem picky, but:-
    The theoretical air/fuel ratio for petrol is 14.7 to 1 of air to petrol by weight (well, mass to be REALLY picky!). The lower you get the more air weighs for a given volume. So, the lower you go the more fuel you need to add to maintain the ideal ratio. At this point you have two choices. Yoy can restrict the air intake and use less fuel to keep the same power output/fuel consumption per mile OR you can increase the amount of fuel injected to allow for the greater mass of air and gain more power but use more fuel. Road cars do this automatically but no doubt F1 engines are more “adjustable”.

    God, that sounds geeky! Sorry.

  106. Tickety-boo says:

    Fernando was all on his own in seat 7d and transited through Tokyo – got him to autograph my boarding pass when I helped take bag down from the overhead. Must admit, I was surprised he was slumming it with Delta.

  107. Anil Parmar says:

    It means you win it one year and then the next (so Seb is a ‘back to back’ winner as he won it in 2011 and then 2012).

  108. Tickety-boo says:

    They announced a new 5yr deal during the race weekend last year, so it should (in theory) be good through 2017. Great place to honeymoon in Sept :)

  109. Oscar says:

    if I am right the electronic fuel injection calculates the stoichiometric combustion ratio and adjust the mix in order to have about 5% of execess of air. if the air is more dense, more mass of air is entering thus the engine increases fuel in the mix. The engine will develope more power but with more fuel. My appologies to James.

  110. Oscar says:

    if I am right the electronic fuel injection calculates the stoichiometric combustion ratio and adjust the mix in order to have about 5% of execess of air. if the air is more dense, more mass of air is entering thus the engine increases fuel in the mix. The engine will develope more power but with more fuel. My appologies to James.

  111. KRB says:

    I hope you’re right. What you say is the accepted wisdom, but how many times have we seen it not pan out the way it was predicted before the cars took to the track. Need to see FP1 and FP2 first.

    Felipe would never be allowed to finish ahead of Alonso if they were in sequential order on track. I guess it could be that way if Alonso just passed Kimi near the end of the race.

  112. Basil says:

    No, don’t worry, would love more such comments on here. Cheers!

  113. Chapor says:

    It’s all good… :-)

    I was going to go that route, and I am impressed that you managed to keep it that short. I would have rambled on and on…

    But I also reckon because of the increased mass of the air, the teams will exploit it for the increase in power that it potentially brings. Especially since you want the maximum power during qualifying, and then you are stuck with the same engine map for the race. I reckon that the extra fuel you carry won’t cost you as much as the decrease in power over a race distance.

  114. Basil says:

    Indeed, I would love to know as well.

  115. Basil says:

    Made me laugh lol

  116. Kirk says:

    There are some issues here, first of all he have had some bad luck as you mentioned but I think he has had more good luck than bad if we take into account 2005 and 2006, so you are making the same mistake by looking just half part of the story. The race strategy in 2010 was not bad luck, was a mistake and the incident with Kimi in 2012 was Alonso’s fault

  117. James Allen says:

    Yes, both cars are on race 3 of 5 as I understand it. We’ll be getting to the bottom of that this weekend

  118. Peter Freeman says:

    You are right, he was questioned extensively and his reply was that he never gets involved with the strategy, he always leaves that to the team, he just drives the car. This is clearly totally a trust worthy answer.

  119. Matthew Cheshire says:

    Hmmm..

    Even road cars now have air pressure sensors to compensate for changing barometric pressure. Have done since the ninetees at least, so I’d be very surprised if F1 cars weren’t adjusting fuel and ignition 10-100 times a second to control it precisely. 5% is a massive shift into lean running so that doesn’t sound right.

    They might run lean to conserve fuel and it can give more power, but you get more heat and F1 cars are almost melting pistons already.

    But that’s off topic- James is right because the problem is aerodynamic, more air resistance in the car at higher air pressure?

  120. Matthew Cheshire says:

    I’d love know too, but I fear it’s a guilty pleasure involving an anorak and mettal hardness tables. :)

  121. Tickety-boo says:

    Pepe, the lay-flat seats on the Delta 777 are configured such that 7D is just over the left shoulder of 6D, sort of herringbone configuration with partitions between each, so you’re in your own sort of little space – great privacy for sleeping. I hadn’t noticed him coming on and I, like most, put their seats down and slept between Singapore and Tokyo. It wasn’t until we landed and I stood up turning around to get my bag and there he was. He lost big points to Seb the day before so I didn’t know what to say and I was like jelly – 2x WDC, icon, bloomin’ heck (I could not believe it) but he had nobody with him which surprised me. So when I’d handed him his bag from the locker I asked him if he’d autograph the back of my boarding pass – and as a true gentleman he obliged, no fuss. Said boarding pass has pride of place on my office wall. It was a bucket list trip for me; that was the icing on the cake.. :)

  122. goferet says:

    @ ferggsa

    Thanks man

    Bless

  123. Mark Hilger says:

    As poorly as Massa has been treated at Ferrari I would not be surprised to see him excel with a change of scenery (new team). I could be wrong about Massa, and he definitely comes across as a fragile but he might be like an abused puppy that comes into his own once he feels like it is safe.

  124. Glennb says:

    I wish Formula 1 would forget about Monaco ;)

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