GP USA – Preview

Among the new generation’s circuit, the Austin raceway is the most interesting one from a technical point of view. Temperatures are expected to be lower than usual, so Pirelli’s choice to bring hard and medium tires to the USA, could cause some problems to some teams, Ferrari included. Some constructors are challenging each other to get the title, just like the Maranello-based Scuderia, which wants to close the gap with Mercedes and Lotus will try to go over the Italian squad’s head. Kimi’s abandon before the end of the Championship – I do agree with his choice to undertake surgery for not jeopardizing next season – and, above all, Lotus’s choice could make it difficult for the English team to get the third place.

The struggle between McLaren and Force India to get the fifth place is also remarkable. Everything seemed to be said and done until some race ago, however, Di Resta and Sutil’s performances over the last few GP made the team score 15 points. Now the point-gap with its main rival is only 18 points, so everything can still happen. The change Perez-Magnussen could break up the team’s calm and work to the advantage of the squad owned by Vijay Mallya.

The Austin race week end will be very important also for the unrest which rings around the drivers market not only for what concerning next season, but also for the 2015 season. It’s a long time since the market was so dynamic and we can say that it’s a kind of crazy. But, let’s do things in an orderly fashion:

– After seeing how the land lies about Maldonado, Hulkenberg and Schumacher, Lotus relied on Kovalainen, leaving “empty-handed” its third driver Valsecchi. The team’s choice has to make everyone think, especially those guys who are all set to sign a contract as a third driver, without having any guarantee. The Lotus management has preferred to rely on an experienced driver, even if he hasn’t raced for some time, rather than relying on a young driver who has worked with the team for one season and has demonstrated to be able to be very performing. I think that the blame has to be placed on regulations. I find regulations really stupid, as they don’t allow young drivers to show their skills and gain experience. I don’t agree with this choice and I’m so disappointed with that.

– Magnussen will join McLaren. The Danish driver will replace Perez. The Mexican has been criticized many times, even if he has demonstrated to be a skilled driver and, in some cases, to be even more performing than Jenson Button. I think that the team’s choice has to be interpreted as a strategy for the 2015 season (cooperation with Honda), rather than as Perez’s rejection.

At this point, many negotiations will be driven behind the scenes. There are two drivers such as Perez and Maldonado who are “unemployed”, despite they can rely on a millionaire support. Pastor is aiming at becoming a Lotus driver, while Perez could wink at Force India or Sauber, to the “Hulk” detriment. The German driver can remain at Sauber thanks to Ferrari’s support.

Two very important GP are yet to be raced to complete the 2014 season’s puzzle.

Abu Dhabi GP – Preview

Seven days after Sebastian Vettel’s won his 4th world title, the F.1 paddock is ready to move to the Middle East for the last but three events to take place at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

At Yas Marina teams will fight to get the second place in the drivers and constructors championship and they are all ready to score the points that are still up for grabs in order to preserve their position or aspire to new adventures into F.1. I expect Red Bull to do its best for not giving anything to rivals. The true challenge will take place behind them. Considering the track high temperatures and hot weather, the Pirelli tyres will play a key role again.

I get the feeling next racing week end will be mainly played out “off-stage” because of the many questions about the 2014 F.1 season that are still unanswered. There are still some free seats to be assigned: Lotus, for example, is looking for a driver to replace Raikkonen, being careful with money and technical skills. Williams’ Maldonado is determined to quit the English team to join the Eric Bouiller’s camp. Should the Grove-based team find an interesting economic agreement, it can sign Felipe Massa. Another aspect which is not of a minor importance compared to any other is the one concerning the maximum number of engines which can be used by each team throughout next season (5 engines per driver). Considering the large number of technical upgrades introduced by FIA (turbo-powered engine 1.6 with limited rpm, limited gas consumption, new energy recovery systems such as the MGU-K and MGU-H) and the lack of time to make on-track test, I think 5 engine units per season are not enough. It won’t be easy to find the right reliability and balance at the beginning. The great thing about that is that this technology can be applied to standard cars.

The 2014 season will be very demanding from a technical point of view, but I’m sure that engineers and technicians will be able to find a solution to that, as usual. Technical changes will involve a huge financial outlay for all teams and small teams will rely on great manufacturers’ technology. Historically speaking, regulations amendments has always changed the balance of the deployed forces. Red Bull seems to be out of reach and I think the Austrian team will be like that also in the future, but we will probably see some other team growing.

Indian GP – Drivers’ Scorecard

Sebastian Vettel 9 – The 26-year-old driver won the fourth world title. He will make the history of F.1 Championship. He did what he wanted to, as usual. I appreciated his burnout in front of the audience (I would have never fined him) and I also appreciated the moment when he got down on his knees and kissed the car. Through that action, he made us understand how grateful to Red Bull he is.

Nico Rosberg 8 – He’s fighting hard to try to get the better over Ferrari for the second place.

Romain Grosjean 9+ – He deserves to be better graded than any other driver, as he showed to be stronger than his pitwall staff, who made several mistakes. Started from the 17th place, he managed to jump up to 3rd and drove an excellent race.

Kimi Raikkonen 8 – He took a particular choice. His teammate was better than him at handling tyres. His masterpiece was ruined by a last-moment- pit stop. Satisfaction comes from the fact he set the fastest lap. Congrats to Lotus, as well. The English team is fighting tooth and nail.  The team could act as a judge for the second and third place in the constructors’ championship.

Felipe Massa 8 – Competing as a “separated” at home it’s not easy at all. He wants to leave a good memory of himself, for sure and he wants to secure a future in the F.1 Championship. His fourth place is a good omen to try to close the point-gap with Mercedes.

Fernando Alonso 6 – “You can’t touch pitch without being defiled”. He took a very unlucky start, even if this time he was less concentrated than he was in many other occasions. According to times sequence, he could have fought against Rosberg to get a second place finish, but he was very nervous.

Sergio Perez 7+ – He handled his car in such a good way and he has improved time after time. He was strongly criticized throughout the Championship’s first part, now he’s upstaging Jenson Button. McLaren is getting ready for the 2015 racing season.

Lewis Hamilton 7 – He’s having quite a hard time. He doesn’t manage to get the most of his car, unlike his teammate. He held the reins of the team, but now he’s upstaged by Rosberg.

Force India 6 – The “homely atmosphere” was good for the team. After an unlucky period, the team finished in the points again with both its drivers. The week end was good for the Indian team which has almost secured the sixth place.

Toro Rosso 6 – One point is not enough, especially if we consider that the team’s immediate rival Sauber didn’t finish in the points. Even if three races are yet to be run, I don’t think they’ll be able to close the gap. As a Faenza-born person I hope they’ll have a good end to the season.

Indian GP- Preview

We can say that the countdown for Sebastian Vettel to win the fourth Championship has already started. In the case the German driver should not seal a win on the Indian track, he would anyhow start to celebrate his victory seven days later at Abu Dhabi. At this point I don’t think there will be many alternatives for rivals. A 90-point-gap is almost impossible to close, even if, according to mathematics, 100 points are still up for grabs from now to November 24th. We can say that this chapter is already closed. I’m expecting Seb to drive an independent race, as usual.

The situation is completely different for what concerning the drivers behind him. Three drivers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus with their drivers Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton) are fighting hard for the second and third place in the constructors and drivers’ championship. There’s a little point-gap between the three of them. If, on the one side, Lotus is chasing closely Mercedes, on the other side Ferrari cannot sleep easy, especially if Felipe Massa doesn’t start to score important points to preserve the team’s second place.

There’s also an interesting battle between Sauber and Toro Rosso to conquer the seventh place. In the last few races, the Faenza-based team was quite sluggish and lost the advantage gained throughout the Championship’s first part. The Italian team has to chase closely the Swiss squad which has now a 14-point lead over it.

All these battles can be the leitmotiv of the 2013 Indian GP, which is about to close down only after the third edition. Probably the 5121 m long Buddh International Circuit won’t be one of the F.1 Championship’s venues anymore, that is especially due to some bureaucratic reasons. Some customs-related issues haven’t been solved yet and some problems concerning the inward processing may be one of the main causes for the Indian track to be closed down as a F.1 venue.

Countries such as India, China and Korea are extremely important for the automotive business, so this is the reason why doing this kind of experiment is very important, even if all that is to the detriment of Western countries-based circuits. I think Government should adapt to formal procedures in order to avoid causing problems which turn to be difficult to solve. In parallel with these situations, there are also new schemes which can turn into reality. Unfortunately Western circuits, besides undergoing a deep crisis, they also have to deal with space issues and have to be adapted to the newest safety regulations, as they were built inside realities which are so difficult to modify.

“Pit talk”….2014 F.1 season and more

All teams’ efforts are focused on the 2014 season and the difficulties they’re meeting are not a few. It’s time to take stock of the situation thanks to the support of some friends who were very close to the Minardi F.1 Team in the past and some others who constantly deal with the F.1 limelight. I’d like to go beyond technical details, which characterized many articles published on many sports magazine and I’d like to create an overview of the situation by having a “pit talk”.

The main difficulties constructors are meeting with regards to the 2014 season ( Ferrari-Mercedes-Renault) are: Engine Consumption – Engine Power – Reliability, but the real handicap is the lack of on-track testing. Nowadays tests are made inside simulator suites. Even if driving simulation is a technologically advanced method to make testing, it cannot accurately reproduce on-track reality.

Thanks to suppliers’ cooperation, reliability is getting better and better, but we’re still talking about results achieved at the test stand. The situation could change when the engine unit is installed inside the car and on-track testing is run, as it’s very difficult to reproduce on-track situations in details.

According to the information gained, it seems that the three engines’ horsepower will be in a range between 610 and 620 hp. Engine designers are more focused on consumption streamlining, rather than on trying to achieve the engine’s maximum power. The Damocle’s sword for the 2014 season will be the 100 kg- gas- limit.

Excessive consumption could be disadvantageous during the race and it seems that everybody is still looking for a right balance. According to rumors, it seems that all constructors dread tire skidding, especially when drivers shift to the 2nd and 3rd gear (engine torque – engine power distribution – tyres effect). This effect features the current Pirelli tires, so it is very important to know the 2014 tyres’ characteristics. I don’t want to say anything more about that, as everyone is trying to bring everything to line with regulations and we don’t have to forget that next season new “energy recycling systems” will be introduced: the MGU-K (the KERS) and the newborn MGU-H, which is a brand new recycling system. This system is not so easy to install and it has still to be tested. Furthermore, we don’t have to forget that the basic engine has to be ready-to-run within 4 months!

Besides talking about the 2014 racing season, I’d also like to meditate on the 2015 racing season. HONDA will join the circus by officially supplying McLaren with engine. PORSCHE could join F.1, too. Despite the German manufacturer isn’t cooperating with any team at the moment, it’s by the way testing a new engine (well-informed people say that their engine unit is not second to any other unit in terms of consumption, horse power and reliability). The two above-mentioned manufacturers have made the history of turbo-powered engine (I’d point out that they’ve always made use of that system also for what concerning cars’ manufacturing).

It seems that the Honda engine put out 640 horsepower, which is much higher than rivals’ engine’s horsepower and the consumption level is very good. According to some rumors coming from Japan, it seems that some on-track tests will be made using a hybrid chassis. The chance for Honda to test its engine throughout the 2014 season, thanks to the cooperation with McLaren and Mercedes, can turn to be a technical advantage even with a view to the 2015 season.

This is only a “pit talk” and what is certain is that there’s something brewing and we’ll see wonderful things! Next winter and spring will be red-hot.

Points record for Fernando Alonso

Even if the leadership in the F.1 Championship is 90 points away, thanks to the fourth place scored in the Japanese GP, Fernando Alonso set the record with regards to the sum of the points scored in a F.1 Championship. The Spaniard racked up 1571 points, getting the better of the 9-time-world champion Michael Schumacher.

His career started 213 GP ago (thanks to Gian Carlo Minardi’s insightfulness) at the Australian GP in 2001. A 19-year-old Fernando made his debut in F.1 alongside the Minardi Team.

During the 2001 season, the Faenza-based team scored three top-ten finishes, thanks to Tarso Marques’s ninth place finish in Brazil and Canada and to Alonso’s tenth place finish in Germany. The team didn’t score any point as only drivers who finished in the top six could score points: “According to the current F.1 point system, the Minardi Team’s history into the world of F.1 would have been different. We would have racked up 446 points”, said Gian Carlo Minardi “I want to congratulate Fernando on his success. He reached an important goal. The first time I saw him at the wheel of a F.1 car, I immediately realized he had an edge over other drivers. In 2001 he ran a fantastic season with us, before becoming Briatore’s team’s test driver. You could immediately realize he would have been a champion”, ends Minardi “After winning two world championships, he racked up 1571 points. I hope he’ll win the third title.”

Congrats Champion from Gian Carlo Minardi and the Minardi Team

Japanese GP – Drivers’ scorecard

The Suzuka circuit and Japanese fans deserve the best mark for sure. Once again the GP arrangement was flawless; a large number of F.1 fans attended the event. The Japanese audience supported drivers and cheered on them.

It’s very difficult to grade Red Bull, as the team’s supremacy is such that they can almost do whatever they want. I think the strategy was planned almost arbitrarily, otherwise I can’t explain the reason why Webber made one more pit stop. They can take the liberty of playing and deciding their drivers’ arrival order. This time Sebastian Vettel had some problems at the beginning of the race. The German took a poor start and clipped Hamilton’s car (50%Vettel’s fault). After making sure everything was ok, he started to push hard and took the lead of the race. Every week end we attend two races: the first race is the one in which Red Bull’s drivers challenge each other and the second one is run by the other drivers. They achieve 9/10 grade.

All the other drivers achieve 7/10 grade, more or less. They drove a good race, defended their positions in the Championship, but they didn’t delivered extraordinary performances. We had fun watching the fight between Hulkenberg and Alonso. The Sauber’s German driver deserves to achieve 7.5/10 grade, as he usually tries to fight against top drivers even if his car is not as performing as top drivers’. Ferrari will have to do something more if it wants to defend its second place in both championships. Massa deserves to achieve 6/10 grade as he’s working as a separated but living together driver, anyway the 10th place is not enough. He didn’t allow Fernando to pass him, but maybe it would have been better for him to stand aside, rather than being overtaken. Luckily for them Mercedes took a point finish only with Rosberg (8th).

Romain Grosjean achieves 7.5/10 grade, too. He took a good free practice session and a great start. He finished first among second-tier teams. In this final stage he wants to show he deserves to be the team’s first driver. Next season he’ll have “Hulk” as his teammate. Either because of some physical problems or some technical choices, Kimi Raikkonen’s performance level is not as good as it was in the first part of the season.

Esteban Gutierrez’s seventh place is a clear proof that FIA and F.1 policy towards young drivers is wrong. The Mexican driver was harshly criticized during the first races, but he’s now demonstrating he deserves to be a F.1 driver. He’s helping the team to get the seventh place in the constructors’ championship, which is no small thing. The good result achieved is also a consequence of the car’s improvement.

Japanese GP- Preview

After the two last race events, which took place at the two most modern circuits in the F.1 calendar (Singapore and Korea), F.1 is now ready to move to the Suzuka historical circuit. The Japanese track was a place where memorable challenges between Senna and Prost took place in the past and it also played a substantial role in many world titles assignments.

Suzuka is an “old style” track; it is characterized by fast and slow sectors and there are many rooms to overtake. Every mistake is dearly paid and the escape hatches are not as large as in any other modern track. It’s a tough track for drivers and cars, so something surprising can be expected.

The Japanese week end is a special one, as all experts will stay at the “Suzuka” Hotel, which is very close to the circuit. Drivers get on track together with fans, who are numerous and very expert. This week end Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen will be ready to fight for the front places behind Vettel. The constructors Championship is characterized by uncertainty, as Ferrari has one-point-advantage over Mercedes and they both fight for the second place, and Sauber and Toro Rosso are both seventh. Lotus’ fourth place and Mercedes’ fifth place are almost definite. So, the Enstone-based squad can probably stop developing its cars and make use of the current resources in the 2014 season. The situation is different for Sauber and Toro Rosso. A one-point-gap means to finish seventh or eighth, which, in terms of financial income, means a several-million-gap.

My memories at Suzuka are linked to deception; two or three times we were about to get a good result, which vanished just a few steps before the chequeredflag. .

I remember with pleasure a press conference (1990) during a party held by Pioneer (which was one of our sponsors during the Japanese GP). On that occasion the company announced it would have been a Minardi Team’s sponsor even in the following season. Unfortunately we didn’t close that agreement.

Anyway, in 1992, we scored a very important point thanks to Fittipaldi’s 6th place. At that time we were racing with the M192 which was powered by the Lamborghini engine. A funny episode is linked to the Japanese GP. McLaren was in trouble with the engine supply, so Lamborghini started a new engine development with a view to the 1993 racing season. Our engine took advantage of that development, too. Christian’s sixth place was rewarded.

Japan reminds me of nice memories. When I was there I used to spend pleasant days in Tokyo with my friend Tadashi Sasaki. I also spent my days in the search for sponsors. At that time Japan represented an “Eldorado” for what concerning sponsorship.

GP of South Korea- Preview

Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull sealed two wins out of the three editions of the F.1 GP, which have been played out at the Corean circuit of Yeongam until now. His Ferrari’s rival Fernando Alonso had the honor of taking a win in the 2010 first Korean GP.

All the potential deployed by the German driver and his team until now, could make us think that the World Championship’s final result is already written, even because the team and the driver’s advantage over rivals is remarkable, so only unconceivable events can turn the situation around. Despite that and the fact that the 2014 season will be a very demanding one for what concerning engine, aerodynamics and tyre degradation, Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus, McLaren and Force India won’t raise the white flag, since the constructors’ championship is still open and we have Maranello fighting against Brackley for the second place and McLaren fighting against Force India for the fourth place.

The Korean GP will be a very important race and it will be tactically very different in comparison with the past season, as the Pirelli will bring Supersoft and Medium tyres, instead of Supersoft and Soft tyres like it happened last year. As far as the weather is concerned, the Korean GP will be characterized by hot weather and, perhaps, sudden storms. Despite the fact Korea will continue to be one of the 2014 F.1 Championship’s venues, the Asian track’s future is not so bright and there could be some troubles in the future. With regards to next season, the FIA World Council made official the 2014 F.1 calendar, which consists of 22 GP. It will be a very demanding season not only for drivers but also for the team’s staff who will have just a little time to recharge his batteries. I hope small teams will have enough resources to meet next year’s challenge and I also hope that they’ll be good at managing those resources.

Talking about the 2014 F.1 season, it seems that Ruben Barrichello will make his return to F.1 alongside Sauber team, along with Sirotkin. Rubens is a very experienced driver for sure, but, to be honest, I think it will be difficult for him to become a f.1 driver again, even if, considering the importance of Brazil for the international market and for the audience, the golden-green flag will continue to light up the F.1 Championship. I will look favorably Felipe Massa’s presence in the F.1 Championship, since the Brazilian is a very experienced racer. I will also look favorably the fact that a new driver such as Felix Da Costa will join the circus. The young driver is probably expected to replace Ricciardo in Toro Rosso. Felix Da Costa’s arrival would represent continuity to the Red Bull young drivers program. But it is still too early, everything can happen.

Gian Carlo Minardi answers

Last week end I carefully followed all the comments posted by many Formula 1 fans on the net.

I would like to thank all the people who expressed their affection and confidence and give my regards to all those people who criticized me.

I just want to point out that my intention was not to blame anyone  and I don’t want to make any dissection of events to anyone’s favor. I am and forever will be  a passionate sportsman.

It’s with this spirit that I simply expressed my impressions and I still think that Newey has a “surprise” inside his “hat”. This doesn’t mean that the aforementioned surprise is something irregular, on the contrary, my reference to a “rabbit” inside a “hat” is to stress the possibility that something “magic” ,not to say brilliant,  is hidden inside the hat itself.

This is the point. As a person who is passionate about motorsport, I would like to discover what can make a performance so special: we’re talking about a 2.5 sec. advantage per lap.

That’s all!

Regards to all racing enthusiasts!

Singapore, What’s inside Newey and Vettel’s magic hat?

Waiting for the Korean GP, the F.1 Championship’s 14th event to take place at the beginning of October, I would like to bring back all the wonderful memories linked to my experience at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and make some remarks about the Singapore GP, which I’d like to share with you and try to find some answers.

I will start by saying that I was enthralled by the Singapore background. It was a brand new experience, which was completely different from any other experience I was used to live (the circuit opens only in the afternoon and closes at late night). I had the chance to monitor all drivers’ on-track deeds from a suite located at the end of the pit’s straight (which leads to the first chicane). The monitor I used to watch the race displayed also all drivers’ laptimes.

Since I left Singapore, I’ve been keeping in my mind the 2.5 sec advantage of Vettel over his teammate Webber and the other drivers.

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT: By this statement It’s not my intention to devalue Sebastian Vettel, who always manages his Red Bull the best way and I don’t want even to jab at anyone, I just want to tell what I personally saw and heard during that three-day-event.

According to my experience, I think that a 2.5 sec advantage each lap is really too much. It’s like a three-generation- development gap, it’s a huge gap. Furthermore, the time gap between Vettel and Grosjean in FP3 and the Red Bull’s driver and Rosberg in qualifying was only few tenths. The German driver could have played cat and mouse on Saturday, anyway, something is still not clear for me.

DOUBT 1: from my suite, I chose some mainstays as a reference point in order to monitor and compare the drivers’ way of driving. My mainstays were the kerbstones located on the corner which leads to Republic Boulevard. Their function is to avoid passing on the kerb. I was impressed by Vettel’s neat way of driving on that stretch of the track. He was able to drive all that stretch without making any corrections, unlike all his rivals (also his teammate). His laptime was also remarkable in T3, which is the track’s sector with the highest concentration of corners.

 

DOUBT 2: on the same stretch,  Sebastian was able to speed up 50 m before any other driver, Webber included. Whilst all the other drivers speeded up on the same stretch, Vettel was able to speed up before them. The thing that surprised me the most was the RB1 engine’s output sound. Besides speeding up 50 m before any other driver, the Renault engine of the German’s car grinded like no other French engines on track, neither like Mark’s. That sound was similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system got into action in the past seasons.

Furthermore, that sound was only heard when Vettel chalked up his excellent performances. For example, after the safety car went off, he took a great re-start and chalked up many excellent laps, gaining a 32 sec. gap over Alonso, then he leveled off, taking precautions in the case he would have had to pit one more time. In those moments the Renault engine was more powerful than any other engines (Renault and other brands).

There are some aspects (1- Vettel’s very neat way of driving; 2-Vettel’s speedup 50 m before the other drivers; 3- the abnormal sound of the RB1’s Renault engine; 4- Vetter’s more than 2 sec. advantage over the rivals ) that make me think and I would like to have some answers. All those doubts are even more serious if we consider that Webber wasn’t able to do that, since he’s a common human being….I don’t want to blame anyone , I just would like to get into the deep of the matter.

Singapore GP – UP & DOWN

Sebastian Vettel 10 – There’s nothing more to say. Besides his technical predominance, the German driver manages his car the best way, unlike his teammate who is a fast driver in my opinion. His way of driving gave the impression he still had a margin to improve. Red Bull deserves a 10, too.

Fernando Alonso 10 – He took an excellent start. Started 7th, he jumped up to 3rd and he was determined until the end. Despite Red Bull’s technical predominance he didn’t give up and drove the whole race with strong determination. Ferrari’s strategy was flawless; anyway the Italian team doesn’t deserve more than a 7.

Kimi Raikkonen 9.5 – Despite some physical problems (backache), he made a great recovery and managed to finish 3rd.

Nico Rosberg 8 – He drove an excellent free practice session and an excellent race. He started from the dirty side of the track and he was ahead of his teammate throughout the week end. I liked his way of racing very much.

Felipe Massa 7+ – It was his first race after the official departure from the Maranello-based team. The Brazilian’s future is uncertain. His strategy was different if compared to Alonso’s, but he was able to recover several positions and finished 6th. He was ahead of his teammate in qualifying.

Jenson Button, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil 7 – They didn’t make any mistakes and finished in the zone points even if their cars were not so performing. All the other drivers get an unsatisfactory grade, especially Mark Webber who got up to all sorts of things, hitch-hiking included.

Singapore GP – Preview

With the Monza GP, the F.1 Championship has left Europe, seven more races outside the ancient continent are scheduled for the next months. The first one is the Singapore GP to take place at the Marina Bay Street Circuit this week end.  It’s a street circuit and it’s not an ordinary one for F.1 both because the GP is raced at night and because safety car is traditionally deployed during Sunday race. That is due to the circuit’s features: walls and very few escape hatches. Some drivers’ supremacy could be void. So, good fortune will play a key role, especially if tyre shift will be done in the right moment in the case the safety car will be deployed. What is more, due to weather condition and the high temperatures of the asphalt, Pirelli tyres will play a key role again, as they will be probably subject to sudden degradation.

Many aspects can affect the final result, so they have to be kept under control. The Singapore GP represents for Ferrari the last chance to keep on playing the role of a 2013 title contender, before giving itself up to the 2014 season. We’ve seen how competitive Red Bull is in any situation, so, despite many upgrades will be made, it won’t be easy for other teams to stop its supremacy without an external “support”. Mercedes can bother Red Bull and Ferrari for what concerning the competition for the 2013 title, while Lotus is undergoing a financial crisis as proved by Kimi’s return to Ferrari and many technicians’ exit.

As far as the Championship’s outsiders are concerned, all eyes are on Toro Rosso and Sauber, which both delivered good performances at Monza in qualifying and during the race. The Faenza-based team will make further upgrades to try to get higher positions until the end of the season. The Italian team is also working on the new car. I’m glad to point out that in this venue, the “made in Italy” will not only be represented by the Maranello-based Scuderia, but also by a Forlì-based company who will be responsible for lighting up the Singapore’s night race, the DZ Engineering.

Leaving Europe, all teams will have to face a further snag, which is linked to next venues’ geographical position, which makes aerodynamic upgrades very difficult to be made, because of some logistic problems. The final part of the season will be so intense.

It will be my first time in Singapore. The Minardi Team has never had the opportunity to take part in the Singapore GP, so I will have a chance to experience the Singapore GP’s stunning atmosphere for the first time.