After competing in the quickest race in terms of duration, as the Sept. 4 Italian Grand Prix at the 5.793-kilometer (3.6-mile) Autodromo Nazionale Monza ended in a blistering 1 hour and 17 minutes, teams participating in the FIA Formula One World Championship head to the series’ longest race – the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday at the 5.065-kilometer (3.147-mile) Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Since joining the Formula One calendar in 2008, every Singapore Grand Prix has come to within four minutes of the series’ mandated two-hour time limit. Last year’s race was the longest, eclipsing the two-hour mark by 1 minute, 22 seconds. No one complains, however, as Singapore is a destination venue on the Formula One calendar. Its cutting-edge culture and incredible modernization have turned the tropical island located only one degree north of the equator into a global hub for business and tourism, with Formula One’s visit to the world’s only island city-state combining both in glorious fashion.
When Singapore came upon the Formula One scene, it was more than just a new venue in a stunning location. It was Formula One’s first night race and the first street circuit in Asia. The Singapore Grand Prix has grown in stature since, with drivers eagerly anticipating the 23-turn layout despite its challenging nature.
Powerful lighting illuminates the track in such luster that drivers say it is clearer than in daytime, as there is no glare. And with those lights shimmering off the cars’ sinewy shapes as they shoot down the straights at 320 kph (200 mph) while sparks shoot from their underbodies, fans are treated to a sensory assault that can only be found at Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Masking the awesomeness of 22 Formula One cars screaming around this elaborate track is the prowess drivers must possess to keep their cars in one piece. The walls surrounding Marina Bay Street Circuit are unforgiving, but in order for a driver to wring every ounce of speed from his racecar, he must dance with those walls while navigating the numerous bumps of the track’s surface.
If that’s not enough, Singapore in September is hot. Really hot. And for added measure, really humid. As much as the Singapore Grand Prix is run at night for aesthetic purposes, nighttime is the coolest time for drivers and spectators alike. Nonetheless, temperatures inside the racecar can reach 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
Despite the tough track and equally tough environs, the Singapore Grand Prix is embraced by drivers. The electric atmosphere of the city and the beauty of Formula One at night, where exhaust flames and glowing brake discs provide a technicolor display that goes unnoticed in daylight hours, are appreciated by the drivers. It’s a modern-day Monaco.
The lights are bright at Marina Bay, and Haas F1 Team wants to shine. The American outfit comes into Round 15 of the 21-race Formula One schedule hungry for points despite recently harnessed speed that has been on display at the last two races in Belgium and Monza. Drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez have been among the top-10 in practice and in qualifying, highlighted by Gutiérrez breaking into the third and final round of knockout qualifying at Monza. That speed, however, has not translated into point-scoring results on Sunday. Haas F1 Team’s last point-paying finish came six races ago in Austria care of Grosjean’s seventh-place drive.
With a total of 28 points so far this season, Haas F1 Team is eighth in the constructor standings, 17 points behind seventh-place Toro Rosso and 22 points up on ninth-place Renault. Catching Toro Rosso is an attainable goal, as the taste of points Haas F1 Team enjoyed at the beginning of the year has made the first American Formula One team in 30 years hungry for more.
Singapore, home to numerous restaurants serving high-end cuisine that satisfy even the most discerning palate, can dish up points for the less discerning Haas F1 Team. Points are points, no matter how they’re served, and the table is set for Haas F1 Team.