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F1 Singapore Grand Prix Preview

Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina

Credit: Peter J Fox

Formula One engines will be singing in the iconic Singapore Streets this weekend once again, another potentially record-breaking weekend for our reigning World Champion, Max Verstappen.


Circuit modifications and a potentially rain-bound Singapore Grand Prix might be about to be one of the most challenging races of the season. With temperatures inside the cockpits reaching as high as 60 degrees, and the fact that it is a street circuit with this threat of rain as well, it appears as though this will be a challenging one.


The Circuit


With 19 corners overall, 11 to the Left, and 8 to the Right - Singapore is one of the most challenging circuits on the entire calendar. With a very tight and twisty opening few corners, being careful not to take too much kerb as this can destabilise the car and make it bounce over the kerb and lose a lot of momentum and stability. A long run up towards Turn 5, which is a corner that starts very wide and eventually gets tighter as the car slides through the apex and right up to the outside wall. Drivers will have to be exceptionally careful not to hit this wall, but will also want to carry as much speed and momentum as they possibly can through the corner and onto the long straight. As drivers get past a right-handed kink, this is the end of Sector One.

The new Singapore layout to be used from this season; Credit: Oversteer48.com

Sector Two begins with a hard braking zone into Turn 7 as drivers have to slow down from full speed, and this is also likely where you will see the most overtaking done on circuit. A tight and twisty right hander which can be easy to get wrong, might be a corner to watch out for crashes, with many misjudging their braking markers especially in the heat of battle. A tricky-to-judge left hander slides the car right out wide, again nearly clipping the outside barrier before we come down into the former “Singapore Sling”, this time with a fast left-hander followed by a quick right and left, as we now go over the bridge and down into a very hard corner to judge, a hairpin. Drivers get very close to and even brush the edge of the bridge heading into the hairpin, which will certainly be something to watch out for. Getting a good exit out of there will be absolutely vital for the run onto yet another straight, ending Sector Two’s right and twisty nature.


Sector Three, much like Sector Two, begins with a tough braking zone of Turn 14, which now links fluidly onto a straight, cutting out the stadium section where the cars used to go underneath the fans, and instead now we have a straight which will allow for much better overtaking and battling, especially after the long straight that just came before it. We then enter the final chicane, Turns 16 and 17 can be difficult to get right as once again, kerbs can be thoroughly punishing at this circuit, so drivers won’t want to be greedy with that. A short dash towards the final double left hander, finishes the lap.


Verstappen’s Record

Credit: Mark Thompson

Max Verstappen comes into this weekend having NEVER won the Singapore Grand Prix before! This is a record that he will be looking to shatter, like his other records in 2023, and also to stretch his impressive streak of 10 consecutive victories, to 11. Something which will be interesting to watch, was how Verstappen talked about some minor engine problems that he suffered during the recent Italian Grand Prix, which saw teammate Sergio Perez catch up to him by roughly 5 seconds in just a few laps. With the soaring temperatures at Singapore, engine troubles will certainly be something to look out for at Red Bull.


Ferrari: A New Hope


The Scuderia Ferrari will be drastically hoping that their surprisingly great performance at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza was not a fluke. Instead, with Carlos Sainz able to hold off Max Verstappen for a number of laps, it seems that perhaps Ferrari might be able to find a strong end to this season, after such a tricky year for the Maranello squad. Whether it is Sainz or Charles Leclerc, either way, Ferrari will be looking to achieve at least a podium finish. And where Monza is built with long sweeping straights, Singapore have adapted the track to suit another longer straight, so this hope may now be more plausible.


Messy Mercedes

Credit: Project DIVEBOMB on Social Media

The recent comments made by Toto Wolff and the overall poor display of racecraft by both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix has led to a mostly negative view of the team from an external perspective, which make the drivers seem desperate to get the car to work, all while their team boss is distracting himself with jealousy of the victorious Red Bull team. Mercedes may struggle at Singapore too, as the track hasn’t historically been on their side, and one which could be a difficult one. However, hope won’t be completely sapped from them, as Hamilton and Russell have recently agreed to continue with the team, momentum may well come back to them in the back-end of this season. Who could forget Hamilton’s iconic and heroic pole lap back in 2018? When Hamilton is at the wheel and mixed with some crazy conditions, you can be sure that we are in for something interesting at least.


Aston Martin: Renault Repeat?

With a more lighthearted story here, a lot of the jokes and humour surrounding the Singapore Grand Prix ever since its inception, have been about that fateful 2008 Singapore Grand Prix where Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed intentionally and brought out a safety car, which allowed Fernando Alonso to take a pitstop under reduced speeds and gain track position, to then go ahead and win the race. Well, Alonso has been very consistently fast in 2023 with Aston Martin, but they’ve not quite been close enough to snatch a victory.


If Lance Stroll is to bring out a safety car at the right time for Alonso, and if Aston Martin will also be quick enough in Singapore, this might be the perfect ingredients to take home their first victory. In fact, Flavio Briatore was spotted speaking to Fernando Alonso post-race at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, which certainly led to many jokes online and on social media, as Briatore was the Renault Team Principal back in 2008, and helped orchestrate that Singapore plan.


The recent comments made by Toto Wolff and the overall poor display of racecraft by both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix has led to a mostly negative view of the team from an external perspective, which make the drivers seem desperate to get the car to work, all while their team boss is distracting himself with jealousy of the victorious Red Bull team. Mercedes may struggle at Singapore too, as the track hasn’t historically been on their side, and one which could be a difficult one. However, hope won’t be completely sapped from them, as Hamilton and Russell have recently agreed to continue with the team, momentum may well come back to them in the back-end of this season. Who could forget Hamilton’s iconic and heroic pole lap back in 2018? When Hamilton is at the wheel and mixed with some crazy conditions, you can be sure that we are in for something interesting at least.


Aston Martin: Renault Repeat?


With a more lighthearted story here, a lot of the jokes and humour surrounding the Singapore Grand Prix ever since its inception, have been about that fateful 2008 Singapore Grand Prix where Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed intentionally and brought out a safety car, which allowed Fernando Alonso to take a pitstop under reduced speeds and gain track position, to then go ahead and win the race. Well, Alonso has been very consistently fast in 2023 with Aston Martin, but they’ve not quite been close enough to snatch a victory. If Lance Stroll is to bring out a safety car at the right time for Alonso, and if Aston Martin will also be quick enough in Singapore, this might be the perfect ingredients to take home their first victory. In fact, Flavio Briatore was spotted speaking to Fernando Alonso post-race at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, which certainly led to many jokes online and on social media, as Briatore was the Renault Team Principal back in 2008, and helped orchestrate that Singapore plan.


Owen’s Predictions!

Credit: Marco Canoniero

I’m predicting a Ferrari victory! I think the engine troubles that Max Verstappen seemed to have at the end of the previous race, may come back to bite him unfortunately in this race, where temperatures are extremely hot and often overheat the engines. With wet weather looking to make an appearance, it is always tough to predict. However, Ferrari seemed to have a great performance at the Italian Grand Prix, and Singapore is one of those circuits which does throw some unconventional corners and conditions at the drivers. It will be tough for the drivers, but should be a thoroughly entertaining race.

My Top 3 are: Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez in that order.


But what are your predictions? Let me know in the comments below!

Be sure to watch out for my next article, which will likely be about F1, MotoGP or Valentino Rossi’s GT World Challenge Season!


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