The Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race which forms part of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The event takes place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and was the inaugural night race and first street circuit in Asia designed for Formula One races.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso won the first Formula One edition of the Grand Prix, driving for the Renault team amid controversial circumstances, when it emerged a year later that his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. had been ordered to crash on purpose by senior team management to bring out the safety car at a time chosen to benefit Alonso. The Singapore Grand Prix will remain on the F1 calendar until at least 2021, after race organizers signed a contract extension with Formula One Management on the first day of the 2017 event. The previous contract extension was signed in 2012 and lasted until 2017. Since 2008, every race edition has featured at least one safety car, a total of 18 safety car deployments, as of 2018.
The race under artificial lights start at midday GMT (8 pm local time), which is the standard time for European Grands Prix, moderating the extreme daytime apparent temperature in the tropical climate. Even so, cockpit temperatures can reach Template:Convert.
First organised in 1961, the race was initially known as the Orient Year Grand Prix. The following year, the race was renamed the Malaysian Grand Prix. After Singapore attained its independence in 1965, the race at the Thomson Road circuit was renamed to the Singapore Grand Prix. The event was discontinued after 1973 and a variety of reasons have been suggested, including an increase in traffic, the very high danger and unsuitability of the track for racing, the inconvenience of having to close roads for the event and fatal accidents during the 1972 and 1973 races.
The First RaceEdit
Felipe Massa of Ferrari started from pole position. Drivers' Championship leader Hamilton was second while reigning world champion Kimi Räikkönen qualified third. They continued in this order until Renault's Nelson Piquet, Jr. spun out and crashed on lap 14, bringing out the safety car. The leading drivers all pitted when the pit lane was opened. Massa prematurely left the pit box with his fuel hose still attached and dropped to last place.
Alonso, who had pitted before the safety car was deployed, subsequently took the lead and won the race. Nico Rosberg managed to finish second despite incurring a stop-go penalty and Hamilton completed the podium in third. Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard finished 7th, scoring the final points of his career. Kazuki Nakajima also scored his final points. The result saw Hamilton extend his lead in the Driver's standings to 7 points over Massa, who failed to score. McLaren also took over the lead in the Constructors' Championship by one point from Ferrari.
In September 2009, Renault F1 admitted to an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting that Piquet had deliberately crashed per instructions from Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds, in the hope of helping Alonso win. The Renault team were handed a disqualification from F1, which was suspended for two years pending any further rule infringements. Briatore was banned from all FIA-sanctioned events for life, while Symonds was banned for five years. However, Briatore and Symonds sued the FIA in French courts, and on January 5, 2010, the Tribunal de Grande Instance overturned the ban which had been put in place on both men.
In early 2007, talks of staging a Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore began, with the stress on arranging this to be a night race in order to cater Formula One's audience in Europe. The race was approved in May and construction for the grand prix complex began in August 2007. The lighting system consisted of nearly 1600 light projectors, separated by four meters and suspended 10 meters above the track. The system generated a total of 3000 lux intensity, approximately four times intensity used in standard football stadium. The whole system required total of 108,423 meter cables and was connected to twelve twin-powered generators, generating estimated power of three megawatts. Its race was from 23 September to 2 October 2008.
At the previous race in Italy, Sebastian Vettel took his and Toro Rosso's maiden win in the wet race. Vettel became the youngest driver to win a Formula One race, aged 21 years and 73 days. Ferrari's Felipe Massa finished in sixth place, narrowing Lewis Hamilton's lead in the Drivers' Championship to a single point. They were followed by BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and Massa's teammate Kimi Räikkönen. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari were in the lead with 134 points, followed by McLaren-Mercedes and BMW Sauber.
Due to the unusual time of the race, teams and drivers had to adapt their working hours by waking up at around midday local time, starting work around late afternoon, and staying up until 4am. Most drivers and teams praised the track after carrying out track inspections as well as arrangements undertaken by the track authorities. However, concerns were raised about high bumps on kerbs of the Turn 10 chicane. Concerns were also expressed on safety measures needed in case of rain during the race.
Announced in 2008, an agreement for a five-year deal was signed by Singapore GP Pte Ltd, the Singapore Tourism Board and Bernie Ecclestone. In November 2007 it was announced that the telecommunications company SingTel would sponsor the event, and also they televised the show on Channel 5 called SingTel Grid Girls. The official name of the event became the Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. The race was co-funded by the Government of Singapore, footing 60% of the total bill, or S$90 million, out of a total tab of S$150 million.
Around 110,000 tickets were made available for the country's first Formula One race. Corporate hospitality suites and packages went on sale at the end November 2007, three-day passes to the public went on sale in February 2008. Single-day passes went on sale a month later. The event went on to achieve a full sell-out for all of its tickets.
The 2008 race hosted the famous Amber Lounge after party and in 2010 Singapore became the second location to host the Amber Lounge Fashion show.
The first race held at the new Marina Bay Street Circuit was the 15th round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, and was also the first night-time event in Formula One history. The timing of the night event meant that it could be broadcast live at a convenient time for European TV audiences. The track was also illuminated by a series of projectors which adapt their output to match the shape of the course. The race was won by Fernando Alonso driving for the Renault team, however that result has since been tarnished by controversy.
Hamilton set the fastest time in the first practice session on 26 September. He was followed by the Ferraris of Massa and Räikkönen and Hamilton's teammate Kovalainen. Red Bull's Mark Webber suffered a crash at Turn 18, damaging his front suspension. A number of drivers faced problems at the final corner of the circuit, including Honda's Rubens Barrichello who crashed backwards into the barriers. Toyota's Jarno Trulli also spun at this corner and subsequently made his way into the pits by driving in the wrong direction. Trulli was fined €10,000 for his misconduct.
Renault's Fernando Alonso was fastest in the second practice session, displacing Hamilton to second position with his final flying lap. The two were followed by Kovalainen, Massa and Nico Rosberg. During the session, Toro Rosso's Sébastien Bourdais almost collided with Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber as he exited from the pit lane into the first corner. In separate incidents, Timo Glock lost his front wing when he crashed into wall at Turn 7, Giancarlo Fisichella faced gearbox problems and Massa mistakenly took a wrong turn towards the escape road off the track.
Alonso was again the fastest man on the track in the final practice session, with Hamilton and Massa second and third respectively. Numerous drivers faced problems with bumps on the track, narrowly avoiding accidents. Fisichella damaged his Force India VJM01's front wing and suspension after it launched off the kerbs at the Turn 10 chicane.
Räikkönen topped the first qualifying session, ahead of Kovalainen and Hamilton. Nelson Piquet, Jr., Sébastien Bourdais, Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella were eliminated in this session. Fisichella was unable to record a time during the session after he crashed into barriers at Turn 3 due to a punctured tyre.
During his flying lap, Barrichello was impeded by Nick Heidfeld and subsequently entered the pits to abandon his lap. Heidfeld was dropped three grid places for blocking and Barrichello was fined €10,000 for an unsafe pit lane entry as he did not use the deceleration zone.
The second qualifying session was led by Felipe Massa, with Kovalainen and Räikkönen in second and third place. Hamilton barely managed to reach the third session, after a driving mistake during his penultimate run. Fernando Alonso was eliminated early in this session when his car suffered a fuel feed problem before he could set a lap time. The other drivers who failed to reach the top ten were Jarno Trulli, Jenson Button and both Red Bulls of Mark Webber and David Coulthard.
Massa took the pole position in the final session, with Hamilton, Räikkönen and Kubica completing first two rows of the grid. Massa secured his position by clocking lap time six-tenths faster than Hamilton, describing it as his best qualifying result of the season. Kovalainen, managing fifth position, rued his tyre selections in the final session.
The race began at 20:00 SST. During the warm-up lap, Piquet spun out at Turn 23, but immediately recovered and took his position on the grid. At the start, Massa, championship rival Hamilton and Räikkönen all got through the first sequence of corners safely and retained their positions. Kubica and Kovalainen made contact at Turn 3, causing Kovalainen to lose two places to Vettel and Glock. Heidfeld and Alonso cut the first corner but they did not receive any penalty. Massa began to edge away from Hamilton, who in turn was pulling away from Räikkönen. Jarno Trulli had begun the race on a heavy fuel load, and soon was holding up a number of cars with Williams' Nico Rosberg immediately behind him. It was not until the seventh lap that Rosberg finally passed Trulli's Toyota, and soon Nakajima and Alonso got through as well.
After ten laps, Massa had built up a lead of over three seconds to Hamilton and Räikkönen was a further seven seconds behind Hamilton. On lap twelve, Alonso was the first driver who came into the pits. He switched his super-soft tyres for the soft compound tyres and rejoined at the back of the field. Two laps later, team mate Nelson Piquet, Jr. lost control of his car and hit the wall at Turn 17, blaming his hard tyres for the accident. This resulted in the first safety car period of the race. The two Red Bull cars and Rubens Barrichello managed to come into the pits before it was closed. With very little fuel left, Rosberg and Kubica had no choice but to pit despite the pit lane being closed. Barrichello's Honda then had a mechanical failure and became the second retirement of the race. After all the cars were behind the safety car, the pit lane was opened and nearly all the drivers pitted.
In the pits, Ferrari prematurely released Massa with the fuel hose still attached to the car. The Brazilian was also released into the path of Adrian Sutil, who narrowly avoided the Ferrari. Massa went the full length of the pitlane before stopping just before the exit. Massa rejoined at the back of the field after the Ferrari mechanics ran down the pitlane and removed the hose from the car. Cars who had either pitted before the safety car or were on one stop strategies were now in front. Rosberg now led from Trulli, Fisichella, Kubica, Alonso, Webber, Coulthard and Hamilton.
Rosberg started to pull away from the heavily fuelled Trulli and Fisichella's Force India, who held up most of the field behind him. In the next few laps, Felipe Massa was given a drive through penalty for an unsafe release from the pits while Rosberg and Kubica were given 10 second stop-go penalties for refuelling when the pitlane was closed. The Ferrari driver served his penalty and rejoined the track still in last place. Kubica came into the pits from fourth and dropped behind Massa. After building a lead of over fifteen seconds to Trulli, Rosberg served his penalty a lap later but only lost three positions. He rejoined the circuit in fourth behind Alonso and Jarno Trulli took over the lead.
A lap later, Fisichella came in from second to make his only pit stop, moving Alonso and Rosberg into second and third. Trulli led the race for four more laps before making his only stop of the night, handing the lead to Alonso. He soon pulled away from Rosberg who pitted from second on lap 41, rejoining in seventh. Alonso made his final stop a lap later but still rejoined in the lead, just ahead of second and third placed Coulthard and Hamilton. Coulthard lost momentum and the McLaren overtook the Red Bull at turn seven. At the end of the lap, both cars pitted and Coulthard nearly left with his fuel hose attached.
After 45 laps, Alonso led Timo Glock by just over six seconds and Rosberg by a further eleven seconds in third. The Toyota driver pitted two laps later, rejoining in fifth. Four laps later, Trulli began to slow down and soon retired after a mechanical failure. On the same lap, Räikkönen made his second and final stop of the race and rejoined in fifth. A lap later, Massa spun at Turn 18 and lightly tapped the tyre wall without sustaining much damage. Moments later, Sutil fell victim to the same corner and damaged his front suspension, becoming the fifth retirement of the night. The incident brought out the second safety car period of the race.
The safety car withdrew from the circuit with nine laps remaining and Alonso pulled away from Rosberg and Hamilton. Glock, Räikkönen, Vettel, Heidfeld and Coulthard (ultimately, claiming points for the final time) were in the remaining points positions. Rosberg was coming under pressure from Hamilton, who was looking to capitalize on Massa's incidents. With four laps remaining, Räikkönen bounced off the kerbs at the Turn 10 chicane and crashed into the barriers while chasing Glock, promoting Nakajima into the points. Alonso maintained his lead over Rosberg and took his first win for Renault since his return to the team. Rosberg held on to second and Hamilton settled for third. Massa finished in 13th place and the points difference between himself and Hamilton increased to seven points and McLaren took over the lead in the Constructor's Championship. With teammate Räikkönen failing to finish, this was the first time the Ferrari team had failed to score any points in a race since the 2006 Australian Grand Prix. Räikkönen recorded his tenth fastest lap of the season during the race, tying his own record that he shared with Michael Schumacher. Heidfeld broke a Schumacher record, being classified for a 25th consecutive race.
Fernando Alonso credited his success to the team's strategy and bit of luck. He said that the team chose a two-stop strategy with a short initial stint as opposed to a one-stop strategy, considering the difficulties of overtaking on the track and possibility of brake problems. Nico Rosberg was pleased with his career best result, although he recalled when he thought his efforts for a good finish might have been in vain after being given a stop-and-go penalty. He mentioned that he had to come in for the pit stops on the same lap that the safety car came out, and admitted that he was annoyed with the penalty. Hamilton said that he tried to get close to Rosberg towards the final laps, after the second safety car period. However, seeing that overtaking was extremely risky, he decided against it, considering that neither of the Ferraris was going to score.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that the reason for Massa's pit incident was not the electronic signalling system but a human error. He defended the electronic system saying that the system saves any reaction time for the driver as opposed to a standard "lollipop" system, and considering it was a human error, the incident may have happened with a lollipop as well.
Toyota filed a protest against Toro Rosso for releasing Sebastian Vettel in Timo Glock's path during their first pit stops under the safety car. The stewards, however, rejected Toyota's plea.
In the Driver's Championship, Lewis Hamilton's third place moved him seven points clear of Felipe Massa on 84 points. With both Ferrari drivers failing to score, McLaren took over the lead in the Constructors' Championship on 135 points. Fernando Alonso's victory meant that Renault overtook Toyota for fourth place in the constructors standings.
The international media and many of those directly involved in Formula One praised the staging of the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix highly. Fears which were previously expressed about the weather, visibility and narrow nature of the circuit itself all proved unfounded. Organisation of the event itself was widely deemed to be impeccable as the ushering, transport, and security services all ran like clockwork. However, the drivers did complain about how bumpy the track was, particularly off the racing line, which made overtaking difficult on a street circuit hemmed in by barriers.
Sports supremo and Formula One's commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone heralded the Singapore Grand Prix as the "new jewel in the Formula One sports crown", a phrase often used to describe the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. He described Singapore as an example to follow and would make people reconsider their opinions of Asia.
Locally, Sunday's F1 night race on the local MediaCorp TV Channel 5 drew more viewers than the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony in the previous month, becoming the highest-rated programme for the year. The average ratings for Sunday’s race were 17.8 per cent, or 789,000 viewers, as compared to 17.3 per cent (765,000 viewers) for the opening of the Beijing Games. The world’s inaugural F1 race under floodlights is reported to have been watched by an estimated global TV audience of about 400 million.
During the race, Renault F1 driver Nelson Piquet, Jr. crashed on Lap 14, which at the time he attributed to a simple mistake. At the time, his Renault team mate Fernando Alonso was the only driver to have pitted for fuel, and he later went on to win the race. After Piquet, Jr. left Renault in August 2009, allegations surfaced that this crash had been deliberate, to give an advantage to Alonso. Following an Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) investigation in which Piquet, Jr. stated he had been ordered by Renault team principal Flavio Briatore and engineer Pat Symonds to stage the crash, on 4 September 2009 Renault were charged with conspiracy and race fixing, and were due to face the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009. Initially, Renault and Briatore stated they would take legal action against Piquet, Jr. for making false allegations; before the 21 September meeting, however, Renault announced they would not contest the charges and that Briatore and Symonds had left the team.
On 22 September 2012, the AP reported that Bernie Ecclestone and the Singapore Grand Prix agreed that the Grand Prix will remain on the Formula One calendar through the year of 2017.
For the 2013 race, it was announced that the 10th turn of the track, the "Singapore Sling" chicane, will be reconfigured so the cars will have to navigate a flowing left-hander before accelerating towards the Anderson Bridge.
On 15 April 2014, it was announced that Singapore Airlines would sponsor the Singapore Grand Prix, starting from that year.
In the 2014 F1 race, Timothy Mok had went on 19 September 2014 (Friday), well before Jonathan Lim's father, Lim Senghuat passed away, and several of the buses were even laid-up from the Volvo B10M Mark IV DMs and Walter Alexander Striders, due for de-registration in February 2015 (built in 1996). At most, outside drinks are not allowed into the F1 race circuit, and I also saw many of them providing drinks. But Timothy Mok had went to Raffles City and eat the Beef Noodles, before going to the race, and ended at 11.30pm.
During the 2015 race a spectator entered the track on the straight after Anderson Bridge, as leaders Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo sped by. Given that he crossed the track, the accident probability was high, but he climbed over the fencing himself when the safety car was deployed. Eventual race winner Vettel described the man as 'crazy' in his post-race interview. The 27-year-old man was arrested by Singapore police after the incident. CCTV footage showed he had sneaked through a gap in the fencing.
2019 Singapore Grand Prix will be extending beyond the racetrack to the streets of Orchard Road and Kampong Glam, with race-themed parties that aim to infuse the Formula 1 (F1) festivities with a more local flavour.
Fringe activities during the week-long lead-up to the night race will include for the first time "precinct parties" at four of Singapore's iconic locations such as Clarke Quay and Jewel Changi Airport, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a release on Thursday (Aug 29).
The F1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix will take place from Sept 20 to 22, while the parties and other activities will begin on Sept 13.
The precinct parties will offer visitors a taste of the night race as well as the unique offerings of each location, the STB said.
Motorheads can take a go-kart for a spin in Orchard Road and experience the adrenaline-rush of being a race mechanic in the Red Bull Pit Stop Challenge at any of the four precinct party locations.
Racing simulators and McLaren and Red Bull race cars will also feature along Orchard Road for the first three days of the season, while Jewel will host kid-friendly activities such as virtual reality and remote-control racing games until Sept 17.
Aside from the F1 after-parties , the Clarke Quay nightlife district will have a race-themed outdoor carnival with games and live music.
Music lovers can head to at Kampong Glam where the 10-day party will feature performances by local musicians and a busking competition.
Other fringe activities include eSports racing event and a pop-up club. Jean Ng said that extending the Grand Prix festivities into some of the Singapore's most iconic locations "will not only allow more fans, visitors and Singaporeans to be part of the race excitement, but drive awareness to the local offerings".
- Main article: Marina Bay Street Circuit
Although the track has seen some minor changes as seen above, the basic layout has in many aspects remained unchanged. It is a twisty circuit that is the slowest in Formula One running at normal race distance above Template:Convert, which combined with its features of proximity to walls leads to frequent safety cars, further extending the running to nearing the race time limit of two hours. The bumpiness, the heavy braking zones, the lack of daylight and the humidity makes the race very testing for both drivers and cars. It has some 90-degree turns, but is pretty variable in that aspect, featuring technical sections with quick direction changes as well. Overtaking is primarily done at the end of the first sector, where top speeds are at their highest. Runoff areas exist at the end of the long straightaways, but are very short by Formula One standards. At most parts of the track, cars run very close to the walls.
- 2008: 26 - 28 September 2008
- 2009: 25 - 27 September 2009
- 2010: 24 - 26 September 2010
- 2011: 23 - 25 September 2011
- 2012: 21 - 23 September 2012
- 2013: 20 - 22 September 2013
- 2014: 19 - 21 September 2014
- 2015: 18 - 20 September 2015
- 2016: 16 - 18 September 2016
- 2017: 15 - 17 September 2017
- 2018: 14 - 16 September 2018
- 2019: 20 - 22 September 2019
Before the first modern race took place, Malaysian Sports Minister Azalina Othman Said said that the proximity of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, which hosts the Malaysian Grand Prix and is about 300 kilometres from Singapore, would create unhealthy competition. The Malaysian Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Liow Tiong Lai stated that the Malaysian Government is unconcerned about possible competition from Singapore.