SINGAPORE GP PREVIEW A HOT AND HUMID SLOG
After the high-speed demands of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the streets of Singapore offer a very different and demanding challenge. With 23 corners, glaring lights, unforgiving walls, extreme humidity and high temperature demands beyond those at any other circuit, the track presents a very different challenge to drivers, cars and indeed the teams, who will have to adapt to a nocturnal routine.
It takes more than three megawatts to keep the circuit lit for this night race and the energy demands on the cars are equally severe. The stop-start nature of the circuit will test the management of the ERS and will also lead to high fuel consumption. Combine this with the fact that this is the longest duration race of the year, often coming close to the two-hour limit, and the result is that most teams will be fuellimited and looking for ways to save fuel to stay within the regulatory 100kg race-fuel limit.
One factor that can mitigate high fuel consumption is Safety Car periods, which are notoriously common here. In the Singapore GP's modern incarnation, there has been a Safety Car at every race. These disrupt the best-laid plans and while strategies are formulated with these in mind, the ability to adapt in real time is vital. With cars lapping so slowly, teams are able to save fuel during any deployment, but even this may not be enough and given the nature of the circuit, with no long straights on which to employ ‘lift and coast’ techniques, any fuelsaving will cost significant lap time.
The circuit itself will add to the excitement, with several challenging corners, including the ‘Singapore Sling’ (Turn 10), which has been known to launch cars into the air when drivers get it slightly wrong. There’s also a near-constant threat of rain, and although there have been showers and thunderstorms during every race weekend so far, none have, as yet, affected the race itself. If that happens this year though, it is sure to create a great spectacle.