Big news for next year, but Kimi and Seb look forward to giving their best in 2018
Ten years have gone by since the Singapore Grand Prix became part of the Formula One season, but the charm of the nighttime street race remains unchanged. Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen landed in Singapore on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, off the back of the announcement that Kimi will leave the Team at the end of this year. The Iceman kept his usual composure in commenting on the events of the last few days and made it clear that his objective now is to ensure the best possible result for the Team in the remainder of the season:
“At Monza, I knew about the decision,” explained Kimi. “From now to the end of the season, we’ll try to finish at the top, and of course this doesn’t mean that the others won’t try to do the same. Many things are out of our hands, we can only do our best and score as many points we can; in the end we’ll see if that’s enough. Obviously, I can only drive one car to help the team in the fight for the championship. There’s always a lot of talk, a lot of things which can be helpful. It’s always easy to say “this and this will happen” but this is just easy in theory, while in practice it’s always difficult to get it right in many ways. So we will see what happens in the next races but we work for the same team and of course we know the rules: it’s pretty simple in the end”.
Sebastian took a moment to describe the particular challenge of the Singapore race: “It’s different from any other race in Asia, also because we stay on European time and rhythms and it’s one of the toughest races of the year, both mentally and physically. The climate is hot and humid, and it’s important that you get here well rested and healthy. It’s one of those Grands Prix where you feel you are never prepared enough, but then you can’t wait for the weekend to start as you relish the challenge”.
And as for the news concerning his team-mate, he added: “It’s a big change obviously, but I am more focused on the next race than I am on next year. I see there’s a big opportunity for Charles and I am happy about that, but on the other hand, it’s a bit sad to see Kimi go, because we get along together well, although we’re different. Having said that, I don’t think that will change our perspective till the end of the year; we have a great deal of respect for each other and we’ll keep the focus on the championship”.
Singapore Grand Prix – Unexpected Similarities
Marina Bay and Montreal? Two very different tracks. And yet…
What have the Singapore and Canadian Grands Prix got in common? Not much, you’d think, given that one is a street circuit and the other a super-quick track and one is run at night, the other in daylight. And yet the race that precedes the bulk of the European part of the season and the one that follows its conclusion have one common element: the chairs. Yes, in amongst the complexities of Scuderia Ferrari’s logistics programme, one element of the kit used in the team’s hospitality area in Montreal is making a “return” for this race in the tiny Asian republic. It’s just one example of just how tricky is the job of working out what goes where in terms of equipment over the course of the year.
Strange as it seems, another similarity concerns the brakes. Of course, at the Marina Bay circuit, the drivers don’t have to deal with the really heavy braking they encounter at the Ile Notre Dame. But the frequency of braking, fifteen times or so per lap, and the difficulty of cooling discs and pads in the equatorially humid conditions make Singapore one of the most demanding for the braking system, even though the average speed – Vettel’s pole lap last year was set at 183.272 km/h – is one of the lowest of the season.
The GP at Marina Bay has been on the calendar since 2008, making its name as the first ever Formula 1 night race. The job of turning normal streets into a track, designing and constructing the lighting rigs, ensuring safety and planning the logistics was a massive task. Ten years on, one can say that this race “won” the inevitable competition with the event in neighbouring Malaysia, which is no longer on the calendar. Apart from braking and fuel consumption, which is high because of the endless accelerations and braking, traction out of the corners is important as is concentration behind the wheel. As for the tyres, they skip a compound, with the Soft, Ultrasoft and Hypersoft being the chosen trio.