Formula 1 is in Singapore this weekend, the stage for the first night grand prix in the history of the Circus which this year will celebrate its tenth edition. The Maine Bay Street Circuit is one of the circuits that is not yet sure it will have a follow up on the calendar. Losing this round could mean losing a piece of “made in Italy” since the entire lighting system was made by a company from Italy’s Romagna region.
It is a very demanding track (5,065m) for cars, motors, drivers and tyres. Even though it is run at night the humidity is very high and the 23 curves put extra strain on the left rear tyre and Pirelli has chosen the softest mixes with Soft-SuperSoft and Ultra-Soft. Traditionally the race runs right up to the two hour race limit also due to the presence of the safety-car which, because of the particular layout of the track, is a constant presence in all the previous editions.
The slow curves and the many changes of direction could favour Ferrari which will be called upon to react after the time gaps suffered at Monza. Singapore could represent a real watershed for the development of the championship. Should Ferrari stay in front of McLaren we could hope for an absorbing end of season. A new success by Toto Wolff-s men could mean the curtain coming down. Sebastian Vettel is the driver with most wins at Marina Bay (four) against the two wins each by Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Last year it was Nico Rosberg’s turn to sign onto the winners’ list.
It will be a very tactical race where qualifying will give a great hand even though pole position does not guarantee victory since the slightest error comes with a heavy price due to the closeness of the barriers. The end of the contract between McLaren and Honda is almost certain with the arrival of Renault at Woking and the Japanese colossus ready to move transfer to Faenza (Toro Rosso) although the news is still not official. There are also important moves on the drivers’ front with Carlos Sainz ready to say goodbye to Faenza to a new home at Enstone next to Nico Hulkenberg. Gasly could be promoted by Toro Rosso. Matsushita could come with the new Japanese engines thus leaving the Russian Kyvat on foot.
There is also talk of the future of the category and how to structure the weekends. I like reading that Ross Brawn is open to Friday mornings dedicated to drivers from F2. For years I have been maintaining the importance of this initiative with the aim of promoting young drivers.
There is a much meat on the fire and at Sepang (Malaysia) we could already see some movement. Let us go one step at a time. Now it is Singapore’s turn.
Gian Carlo Minardi