Singapore – That time of year again for Formula One’s only entirely night race on it’s calendar. Welcome back to The Lion City ladies and gentlemen, and to the Marina Bay Street Circuit which has hosted the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix since 2008. The past four races have proven to be quite the spectacle with 2010 edition showcasing four drivers within ten points of each other in the F1 Drivers’ Championship. German Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) won that race which ended up propelling him to the top of the board for that said championship by season’s end. This 2012 addition finds a different scenario entering the race with Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) leading the field by a 37 point margin. (Remember that a win gives a driver 25 points while top ten finishers all receive a lesser amount based on final position.)
Let’s break down the current 2012 story for the race, drivers, teams and further history of F1 in Singapore. Be sure to follow Joup on Twitter and Facebook the whole weekend for updates and results. Someone hit the lights…please!
The 2012 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix takes place the weekend of September 20-23rd. This is the fifth installment of the event under the initial five-year contract that Formula One signed with the Singapore Government. F1 and Singapore have agreed to a new five-year deal following this year. According to formula1.com The Marina Bay Street Circuit measures 5.073 km (3.152 mi) long with 23 total turns through downtown Singapore and around Marina Bay. The track is average length compared to the other tracks in the season, but challenges it’s drivers to the fullest extent. Turns 8 and 14 are a mere 3m from each other (fenced concrete separated) sending cars around a loop in 8 and back towards the Bay in 14. The turn 10 chicane has given drivers fits in the previous four races and the close proximety of the first four turns of the race will dictate who has early control and perhaps the race itself.
According to Motorsportmagazin.com, “So that F1 fans can watch the night-time race in Singapore, 1,500 light projectors illuminate the circuit. Radiating 3,000 lux, they are four times brighter than a football stadium floodlight.”
A current look at the current FIA Formula 1 drivers’ world championship ladder shows Alanso atop with 172 points followed by Britain’s Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) with 142, Finnish Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault) third with 141, Vettel fourth with 140 and Australian’s Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) rounding out the top five with 132.
England’s and McLaren’s “other” driver Jenson Button holds a distance sixth position with 101 points. Both McLaren drivers have run quite well in the past four races with Hamilton winning two and Button winning one and placing second in another. Both drivers hope to continue their fortunate stretches this coming weekend to make a push towards the championship.
But most eyes will be on Alanso and his Ferrari team. The Spaniard has won two of the four races run in Singapore and became more accustomed to the track as each year passes. He controls his own destiny as far as this year’s drivers’ championship and like he drives each race, he runs better out in front.
Another look at the BBC Sport website shows a similar story to the FIA Formula 1 Constructors’ world Championship. The top three team of Red Bull-Renault (272 points), McLaren-Mercedes (243 points) and Ferrari (226 points) fields 5 of the top 6 drivers. The Constructors’ Championship is decided by adding BOTH of the points earned by each of the team’s two drivers. It’s no wonder that Red Bull and McLaren are one and two but the unfortunate season of Brazilian Felipe Massa has brought Ferrari’s team record down.
As McLaren’s drivers are on a hot streak so too are their machines. McLaren-Mercedes claimed 3 of the last 4 pole positions and 11 front line starts (pole or 2nd) overall. Their pit crews are the teams to watch with Button’s team setting a world record of 2.3 seconds in the German Grand Prix (watch it here).
Again 2012 marks the fifth night race raced in Singapore, with the country hosting the first ever Formula One night race in 2008. While the race does shut down major avenues throughout the city, it brings a wealth of commerce that weekend to the City/Country. But these races are not the first set that Singapore has hosted. From 1966-1973 (starting only a year after it’s independence) Singapore hosted it’s own grand prix with F1 drivers but it was not recognized by the Formula One World Championship. Lee Hand Seng and Rodney Seow (both Singaporean nationals) won the first two races with Graeme Lawrence of Australia winning three of the next six. “The event was discontinued in 1972 due to the increase in traffic and the inconvenience of having to close several roads for it. A plan to relocate the circuit also fell through. Finally, a fatal accident at the Grand Prix sealed its fate.” (history link) With it’s new contract signed this year, Singapore has cemented it’s place as a Formula One Circuit.
Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is an artist developer focusing online on front end development and keeping up with new techonolgies. Photography has been his most recent and strongest passion. He’s shot thousands of photos throughout the years only recently display a larger portion of his library here on Joup.