Marina Bay Circuit, home of the Formula One Singapore Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Coming up this weekend is round 13 of the 2015 Formula One World Championship, the Singapore Grand Prix. The race is one of the newer events on the calendar but it’s already considered a classic, due mostly to the atmosphere of the crowd in combination with the tough conditions faced by drivers and their teams.
Being F1’s only night race, the Singapore Grand Prix has a completely different ambiance to the day events. Visibility is only made possible by the 1,500 halogen lamps, with drivers often donning tinted visors to reduce the glare.
But the biggest issue is the high humidity, with the drivers on average losing more than six pounds in sweat during the race, so preparation is vital to maintain concentration amidst the bright lights and the looming street circuit barriers. The race’s susceptibility for safety cars makes it one of the longest of the season, and it often finishes close to the FIA’s two-hour time limit.
The Marina Bay Circuit is unusually wide for a street circuit, which makes overtaking possible, and it's also relatively bumpy due to "street furniture" such as manhole covers. The circuit also has the highest number of corners of any venue on the calendar (23), creating more work for the tires. All these corners mean that traction and braking are the two most vital aspects.
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Finally, in this tropical region, weather can be issue. Based on the current forecast we might see a storm during Saturday’s qualifying session and perhaps some light rain during Sunday’s race. The peak temperature on Sunday will be 89 degrees F (32 degrees C). Pirelli has nominated the two softest tires in the range: soft and supersoft.
American F1 fans should keep an eye out for Alexander Rossi who makes his F1 debut this weekend. The American will replace Roberto Merhi at Marussia for five of the seven remaining races this season.
Going into the weekend, Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 252 points. His teammate Nico Rosberg is second with 199 and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is third with 178. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 451 points versus the 270 of Ferrari and 188 of Williams.