McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Singapore Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Formula One is back in Asia this weekend where the cars will take to the Marina Bay street circuit, home of the Singapore Grand Prix. As the only night race of the year, the race provides a fantastic show under the lights held around an impressive 3.15-mile circuit, making it a favorite with fans, teams and drivers.
The Singapore Grand Prix is no walk in the park, however. The circuit features nine corners taken below 60 mph, more than Monaco, and 15 different braking events. This means drivers have to work much harder than usual. For instance, they change gear 80 times per lap, which is a rate 50 percent higher than the season average and nearly double that of Monza.
It’s also worth noting that this is the longest race of the year; the 61 laps come in close to the two-hour time limit, which, when combined with the heat and humidity of the region, makes this one of the most grueling races of the year.
Pirelli has brought its P Zero White medium compound and P Zero Red supersoft to Singapore: a change from last year, when it went for supersoft and soft. This is because the tires are generally softer across the board this year in order to maximize performance and grip. Teams need to be wary of ambient and track temperatures that tend to fall, rather than rise. Additionally, the road surface tends to be bumpy and slippery, and grip is further compromised by the number of manhole covers and painted white lines.
Currently, the weather forecast for Sunday’s race is warm and humid conditions, cloudy skies and chance of a late storm.
Going into the weekend, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship with 222 points. In second place is Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso with 169 points followed by Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG in third with 141 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing commands 352 points versus the 248 points of Ferrari and the 254 points of Mercedes AMG.