If you’re thinking about taking a trip to the Singapore F1 Grand Prix for a bit of a life experience, but don’t actually know the ins and outs of the sport, here’s a basic breakdown on the history and facts of Formula 1.
Back in the year 1950, Formula 1 was the name given to what would become the world’s most renowned motorsport; Formula indicating the specific regulations for the cars and 1 indicating the number one international motorsport competition. Over the years, F1 has come to represent technical perfection, speed and a bit of glitz and glamour. The most noted driver of all time was Michael Schumacher, who holds the record for being a seven time world champion. The current world champion is Sebastien Vettel who has 3 consecutive wins under his belt.
The Singapore F1 Grand Prix was the first night race ever introduced to F1. Launched in 2008, there are 61 laps on the 5.065km Marina Bay Street Circuit, which is comprised of public roads cordoned off for the race. The spectator area can house up to 80 000 fans and the whole track is well lit with floodlights so that the driving conditions are equivalent to daylight. Australian Daniel Riccardo of Red Bull Racing holds the record for this track at 1.50.041.
The F1 drivers get a lot of attention, but fundamentally Grand Prix is a team sport. Each team must design and build its own car according to very detailed specifications. Essentially there are two parts to the championship – the constructer’s championship and the driver’s championship. Each team has two drivers, who have to be physically and mentally fit to be able to drive at over 300hm/h for 2 hours straight, pulling around 4gs for a good chunk of the race time.
The drivers first need to go through three qualifying rounds of 20, 15 and 10 minutes respectively, with 6 drivers being knocked out at each round, resulting in ten cars in the last round who have to come within the qualifying time. Teams get points for wins and lose points or time for penalties. Penalties are given for one of the following: blocking a rival driver, causing a crash, speeding in the pit lane or jumping the start. Most penalties cause drivers to have to wait in the pit for a few seconds, thereby adding to their time and pushing them back in the queue, or the penalties result in time being added to their final race time.
There are many important and technical aspects to the sport – the steering wheel, the brakes, cornering, tyres, the gearbox, and much more. Arguably the most important aspect is aerodynamics. We won’t get into all that, but if you want to get into the nitty gritty, you can head over to the official Formula 1 website. Two interesting aspects of the race however, which spectators can witness and should know, are the pit stops and the flags.
Pit stops are critical to success and are where team work plays a big part. A ‘lollypop man’ guides the car into the specific parking. It is immediately jacked up. Each tyre will have three members of the team ready – one to remove and replace the nut, one to take the wheel off and one with the new wheel ready. This is done in well under three seconds! For a look at what you’ll experience, check out this Youtube video.
The flags are used traditionally to communicate with the drivers, although nowadays they have displays in the driver’s cockpit showing these too.
Chequered: the race is over and there is a winner
Yellow: danger – drivers must slow down and may have to stop
Green: ‘all clear’ after the danger section
Red: the session has been stopped
Blue: there is a faster driver approaching and the driver should let him overtake
Yellow & red striped: slippery track surface
Black with orange circle (with car number): there is a mechanical problem and the car must return to pit
Half black, half white (with car number): unsporting behaviour
Black (with car number): usually means a disqualification and the car must return to pit
White: slow moving vehicle on track
So those there are the most basic basics. Besides the actual session, Singapore GP is also a fantastic festival time in the city and there are loads of events surrounding it and a general atmosphere of celebration. Plus it’s balmy and pleasant in the evenings. For an idea of things to see, do and eat in Singapore, head over to our Singapore Basics guide.
Keith Prowse is the Global Leader in Event Travel. We have a range of packages available for the Singapore F1 Grand Prix, including all travel, accommodation, transfers and other activities or any part thereof – or we would be pleased to tailor a trip or package to the Formula 1 Grand Prix event that suits your needs and budget.
UPDATE: Join Keith Prowse Travel at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix 2018. Don’t miss out on this year’s action – check out our Official Singapore Grand Prix 2018 Packages or contact one of our travel experts today!