2016 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

 

Foreword

 

We are looking forward to the final part of the year and visiting tracks that should play to our strengths a lot more. In previous races and particularly in Spa we’ve shown that the performance potential is there, but sadly we haven’t had the opportunity to convert into results through various incidents. Singapore’s twists, turns and short bursts of acceleration should give us the platform we need to finally get onto form.

 

Other than working hard on finishing the end of the 2016 season on a high, we are entering an interesting phase in development for the 2017 car. We will also inaugurate new facilities and welcome new faces so it’s a very busy time, but we are all very motivated to keep moving forward and make the most of the opportunities we have.

 

 

Cyril Abiteboul, managing director

 

 


 

You light me up

 

Fred Vasseur looks forward to getting going in the buzz of the Singapore Grand Prix.

 

Fred, we leave Europe after a tricky last Grand Prix in Monza. What are your conclusions for that race?

The last two races have been challenging and character-building for the team in terms of results. Our global performance was good in Spa and we achieved our best qualifying results of the season so far, but unfortunately in the race we had Kevin’s accident and we couldn’t convert our qualifying pace into a deserved good result in the end.

We expected Monza to be a tricky weekend and we are now fully concentrated on Singapore and beyond.

What are our hopes for Singapore and is it a circuit that should suit us?

Singapore is a type of circuit that should suit us better than the ones visited recently. We can hope for results that are more in line with those achieved at circuits such as Budapest or Spa.

What are our objectives for these coming races?

We are all very much focused on 2017 and yet we must continue to strive for the best results possible in the upcoming races.

It is tough for the team of course but we can clearly see progression in areas that are not always visible externally. This is all part of the building of this team. We must concentrate on this and work on areas that can make a difference in the longer term: for example tyre management, how we manage our race weekends and improving the car’s regular performance.

Any good work and improvements made on track are useful for 2017 and beyond. We must keep this motivation – we have a great team of mechanics and engineers and we are doing positive work in areas such as pitstops – we did the fastest pitstop in Monza with 2.1s! For me this is proof of the hard work done by all in the team, their commitment and resilience in tough times.

 

 


 

Spotlights are on

After a challenging race weekend in Monza Kevin Magnussen is looking forward to be racing under the spotlights of Singapore.

How would you summarise the race in Monza?

The beginning of the race wasn’t ideal as I was running very close to both Jo and Felipe Nasr when the incident happened. It was a shame for Jo but also for me as it blocked my way as well. In the end it didn’t change much for me as when I got racing again I was at the back of the field and I didn’t have many cars to race against. It was a pretty frustrating Sunday afternoon, even more so after Spa where we qualified 12th and points had been a real possibility. It’s frustrating for the team but we are now looking forward to racing in Singapore next.

What are your thoughts on Singapore?

It’s a really cool circuit and being a night race in Singapore, it makes Formula 1 look even more spectacular. The cars look super shiny under the lights – for television viewers as well as for the spectators in the grandstands it adds to the beauty of the race. The entire city lives and breathes F1 during that week and you can feel it in the atmosphere everywhere when you are downtown.

Do you enjoy the layout of Marina Bay?

The track itself is fun and I always enjoy driving on street circuits. That said, it’s also a pretty tricky circuit to get right with a lot of corners where a mistake can be easily made. Grip levels evolve throughout the weekend so the key is set up and getting the balance right. Hopefully it’s a track where we can better our performance a little bit after a disappointing last European race.

Are you a night person?

Although it’s a night race, we all stay on European time – we get up late in the day and come to the track from around four o’clock in the afternoon, which means that it’s morning in Europe. This also means that we don’t struggle with jet lag in Singapore. Even though we race at night it gets very hot in Singapore and that’s a challenge in itself, but it should be fine.

You raced in Singapore in 2014, how did it go for you?

It didn’t go very well as I had an overheating issue in the car – on top of hot conditions! A radiator seal had broken and there was hot air coming into the cockpit. It was extremely hot! This year I’m hoping for a solid race where we can fight in the pack. I really look forward to being in Singapore.

Formula 1 is now heading to Far East Asia and then to the Americas…

Yes the European season has gone by very quickly as it always does and I’m looking forward to visiting all the venues on the calendar. Every country and every track we visit has its own personality. Bring it on.

 

 


 

If Only for the Night

 

After a highly frustrating early exit from the Italian Grand Prix Jolyon Palmer is hoping for a Singapore slingshot on the streets of Marina Bay.

 

What are your thoughts on Singapore?

I love Singapore and it’s a totally different challenge from Monza. It’s a street race with close walls taking place at night so it’s a unique event on the calendar. I’ve raced and won there in the GP2 Series and it was one of my best wins. In fact, I raced there two years running and both years were very good.  It’s a better opportunity for a stronger result.

 

What’s special about driving at night?

It’s a cool feeling driving at night as you can see the circuit very clearly from the lights but your vision is channelled as the background is in darkness.

 

Where are the challenges of the Marina Bay circuit?

The final sector is a real challenge with the section under the grandstand. It’s tight over the bridge too so you need your wits about you. Stringing a perfect lap together is a real challenge! Over the bridge and the middle of the lap are pretty tough to get right as you’re braking as you turn so it’s easy to lock a wheel, and the last sector is very tight and twisty.

 

As a street course is it tough to overtake?

It certainly is a challenge but turn six at the end of the first sector / beginning of the second sector where the DRS comes in is the main overtaking opportunity and then braking into turn seven. The track is pretty tight in other places and it’s always pretty slippery when you do go offline.

 

Do you have a different approach to the weekend?

We see the circuit change a lot over the weekend as the surface rubbers in then the climatic conditions are reasonably different between FP1 and FP2, then FP3 and qualifying so getting a good handle on the balance of the car gives us plenty of work as generally it’s cooler later in the night. It’s not a conventional weekend!

 

What do you think of Singapore itself?

The great thing about the race is that it’s right in the centre of the city so you’re surrounded by everything you could want. You don’t have to go far for a good restaurant. It’s great to sample the local culture.

 

It’s a pretty relentless end to the season, how well are you prepared?

I’m really looking forward to it. The summer break allowed me to recharge my batteries completely and now I’m fully in the zone. Spa and Monza were not the easiest tracks for us but Singapore offers more of an opportunity I think. I’m driving better than ever and I’m exceptionally keen to have a strong result after the frustration of Monza.


 

Night Fever

 

After the misery of Monza the streets of Singapore could offer some solace for Renault Sport Formula One Team, as Chief Technical Officer Bob Bell explains.

 

What’s your preview synopsis of the Singapore Grand Prix?

Singapore’s a night race on a street course with 23 corners surrounded by a lot of barriers. It’s a race where drivers really have to be on their mettle. It’s tough for everyone as it’s hot and humid. For the drivers, it’s a long race on a bumpy circuit.

 

What are the engineering challenges of the event?

It’s tough on brakes and requires high downforce but that said, there’s nothing to say that we shouldn’t put on a reasonable show.  Over the course of the weekend one of our biggest challenges is understanding the car with the moving target of track surface evolution. This is the same with any street course and you can find yourself chasing your tail somewhat as it’s difficult to ascertain if any lap time improvement is from a change made to the car or just from the track surface improvement.  For this reason you don’t want to change too much of the car set-up over the practice sessions. To have a strong Grand Prix you need to arrive with a good set-up out of the box so the drivers can gain pace through both their confidence and circuit evolution.

 

What kind of base set-up do you use as a starting point?

Most of the corners are low speed so that’s what we target with the set-up. It’s quite bumpy so you need to get a good set-up for ride then it’s fine tuning around that. If you have a solid base set-up the pace will come to you over the sessions as the grip from the surface improves and driver confidence grows.

 

A topic of conversation has been cumulative penalties for replacing parts of the car. Where does the team lie in this regard, are there any potential hits to be had later in the year?

We’re actually looking pretty strong in that regard. One of the real success stories of this year has been how strong the power unit has been, not only though being able to exercise enhanced performance but in the reliability we’ve seen. It’s been a tremendous job from everyone in Viry.  It’s likely we’ll run Kevin’s Spa power unit on Friday in Singapore or Sepang as it looks like there was no serious damage to it in the accident.

 

How’s everything looking on the build-up for 2017?

Everything’s on course with chassis patterns released for manufacture and the schedule for the impact testing campaign starting soon. As we get into the next couple of months everything starts intensifying. There’s a lot of heart and soul going into next year’s car as we all are hungry to take a strong step forward in performance.

 


 

Circuit notes

 

T1: The second fastest part of the track, with speeds of around 290kph reached before Sheares corner. This is followed by hard braking to around 90kph at Turn 3.

 

T6: The fastest part of the track, with speeds of around 298kph reached before the sharp left hander of Memorial Corner.

 

T10: Revised section for last year’s race, including the widening of the T13 hairpin, potentially adding more overtaking. T13 is still one of the slowest parts of the track.

 

T14: The ‘hotel’ section through the grandstands, from Turn 14 to 23, features eight right-angled turns that are each preceded by a straight. The K will be able to recover enough energy through this section to keep the battery at a relatively high level of charge.

 

The Marina Bay circuit has two short straights: the 500m pit straight and then the curved straight between turns five and seven, which shoots down Raffles Boulevard. This 700m straight is the only time the driver will get over the 300kph mark.Although kerbs are used extensively here, the majority are relatively flat.

 

The long lap and the high chance of a safety car makes Singapore one of the longest races on the calendar. The 2009 was the shortest so far, at one hour and 56 minutes.

 

Fuel consumption in Singapore is high due to the stop-start nature of the track layout. Using the ICE alone, the engine would consume around 150kg of fuel over the race, but energy harvesting and employment has brought this down to under 100kg.

 

The drivers can lose up to 3kg of fluid during the race in the hot and humid atmosphere. This needs to be taken into account when setting the car weight before the race.

 

Power Unit notes

  • Singapore is one of the slowest circuits on the calendar, rating just above Monaco and Hungary in terms of the lowest average speed. With 23 corners, the average speed is around 165kph.
  • There are 82 gear changes per lap as opposed to just 52 in Monaco and just 44 in Monza. Due to the short bursts of power, eighth gear will only be engaged two times per lap. Only Monaco has a lower usage.
  • In Singapore the ambient humidity can be well over 80%. In the past these conditions would have had a big impact on the power output, which decreases as less oxygen is available to burn. With the turbo engines, however, the turbo compensates for the lack of oxygen by spinning at a higher rate. In fact it will spin at around considerably faster than a comparable race run in dry conditions.
  • The big stops on the lap are Turn 7 and 14 where the driver will brake from 300 to 110kph.
  • There are few long straights and lots of opportunities to recover energy on braking via the MGU-K. The K may actually be used to propel the car to a higher torque level than usual allowing us to save fuel at this circuit, which is notoriously difficult on fuel consumption.
  • Singapore has a notoriously humid climate and the water content in the air can be an oppressive 90%. Luckily, running in the evening will see the relative humidity reduce as the sun goes down. The electrical components of the PU will therefore be insulated against moisture and, in case of rain, the water will be diverted away using special ducts.

 

Tyre choice

 

Soft: A good all round choice, like one of Singapore’s most well-loved street foods, char kway teoh.

 

Supersoft: Wanton Mee: can be as spicy or mild as you want.

 

Ultrasoft: Like Singapore’s famous delicacy, chilli crab, saved for only very special occasions.

 

Memory Lane

On his third attempt with Red Bull Racing-Renault’s Sebastian Vettel scored his and the team’s first Singapore GP victory in 2011. He may have made it look easy, but the victory was earned the hard way. Vettel blasted into the lead from pole and extended his lead over the first 10 laps. Indeed it was up to 18.4s at the point when Michael Schumacher crashed into Sergio Perez and the safety car emerged. Vettel lost his lead, but it was Red Bull’s good fortune that once the pit stops had shaken out and the queue formed up, he had the lapped cars of Jarno Trulli, Tonio Liuzzi and Kamui Kobayashi between himself and Button. After a last stop, and with 11 laps to go, Seb was 9.5s clear of Jenson. The Brit closed the gap but Seb had it under control. He left Singapore without a title but he wouldn’t have long to wait…

Quirky facts

During the event, 108,423 metres of power cables, 240 steel pylons and around 1,600 light projectors with a total power requirement of 3,180,000 watts will be used. With an illumination measurement of around 3,000 lux, the lighting will be four times brighter than that of most sports stadiums.

Buildings in Singapore cannot be higher than 280 metres. This is partly because of busy air traffic arriving and departing Singapore’s Changi airport: around one every 90 seconds. Buildings that scale this height include One Raffles Place, OUB Centre, UOB Plaza and Republic Plaza.

Majulah Singapura (Onward Singapore) is the national anthem of Singapore. Composed by Zubir Said in 1958, the song was selected in 1959 as the island’s anthem when it attained self-government. Upon full independence in 1965, Majulah Singapura was formally adopted as Singapore’s national anthem. By law the anthem may only be sung with its original Malay lyrics. If you want to join in, the entire lyrics of the national anthem are printed in microtext on the back of the $1,000 note.

 

The designation of Vanda Miss Joaquim var. Agnes as Singapore’s national flower in 15 April 1981 was part of an overall effort to foster national pride and identity. Among the several varieties of Vanda Miss Joaquim, the variety “Agnes” was chosen particularly for its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience – qualities which reflect the Singapore spirit. It is also a hybrid flower, reflecting the diversity of Singapore’s population.

 

Singapore’s land size was 581,5 km in the 1960’s and has since grown to an impressive 710km, an increase of 22%.

 

Nearly 50% of the city-island is greenery. Singapore has impressive greenery in high-rise buildings – a total of 50ha are rooftops and roof gardens.

 

Renault Sport Academy Roundup

 

Oliver Rowland

Olivier picked up a brace of ninth positions in Monza. In Saturday’s race a last minute charge from the Brit put him into the top ten. He had a good start in the sprint race, but was handed a 10 second time penalty for punting Luca Ghiotto into a spin at the start. He is now seventh in the standings with 106 points.

 

Kevin Joerg

Kevin Joerg had mixed fortunes in Monza. A non-finish respectively in the feature race was followed by twelfth in the sprint, bringing a disappointing end to the weekend.

 

Jack Aitken

After scoring his maiden GP3 win in Spa, Jack followed up with another podium and fifth place in Monza. Jack battled with team-mate Jake Dennis for the lead, but also had to contend with a late charge from Charles Leclerc. He held on to finish second. In the sprint race Jack finished P5.

 

Louis Delétraz

After a long break from racing, Louis will be back in action in Formula V8 3.5 at the Red Bull Ring on 10/11 September.

 

Sun Yue Yang

Sunny tested Renault 2.0 cars in Imola and Vallelunga last week with Fortec Motorsports and will continue his learning process next week at other circuits in Europe with another team to prepare himself to enter the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup next year.

 

 

Renault Sport Formula One Team Third, Reserve and Test Driver Action

 

Esteban Ocon

Esteban took the chequered flag for Manor Racing for the second time in two races, but his race was hampered from the offset by a problem in qualifying. The Frenchman’s car stopped out on track and he was unable to set a time. Starting from the rear of the grid he did his utmost, but came home in P18.

 

Sergey Sirotkin

Sergey’s results did not do justice to his pace in Monza. In the feature race on Saturday he had a brilliant start to move into fourth, but could not retain the position as the race unfolded. A problem with the rear jack in his pit stop dropped him back to P18 but he was able to cross the line P14. In the sprint race his woe continued as he had to retire from the race due to a sensor failure.

 

Nicholas Latifi

Nicholas reached as high as ninth in the feature race after a string of incisive moves but fell away to fifteenth place as he contended with fading tyres and a badly-timed safety car. He was running well in the sprint and looked to be on course for eighth, but was docked 20 seconds and demoted to fifteenth for failing to react within the allotted time to the deployment of the Virtual Safety Car.