The street circuit features nine corners taken below 60 mph, which more than Monaco, plus there are 15 different braking events. This makes it the slowest track of the year, with an average speed of just 106 mph. However, it’s still one of the most demanding due to the intense heat and humidity as well as little room for error.
The track surface is also very bumpy, and the stop-start nature of the race makes traction and braking stability crucial to lap times. Unlike other street tracks, overtaking is possible, but it requires bravery and pin-point accuracy due to the limited number of run-off areas. As well as that, there are all the usual things you find on a public road, such as painted white lines and manhole covers that can catch drivers out and provide an extra hazard for the tires.
With so much emphasis on low-speed traction, Pirelli is taking its two softest tire compounds: P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft. This is a new strategy, as last year the Italian firm took its Supersoft and Medium compounds.
The low-speed nature of the track could give other teams, especially Infiniti Red Bull Racing, the ability to keep up with the Mercedes AMG Silver Arrows. Weather could also be an issue, with a chance of a storm forecast for Sunday’s race.
Going into the weekend, Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg leads the 2014 Drivers’ Championship with 238 points. His teammate Lewis Hamilton is in second with 216 points while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is in third with 166 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG sits on 454 points versus the 272 of Infiniti Red Bull Racing and 177 of Williams.
Last year’s winner at Singapore was Sebastian Vettel.