Racing Spectrum Swings to Singapore
After competing in the quickest race in terms of duration, as the Sept. 3 Italian Grand Prix at the 5.793-kilometer (3.6-mile) Autodromo Nazionale Monza ended in a blistering 1 hour and 15 minutes, teams head to the series’ longest race – the Singapore Grand Prix Sept. 17 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. The 2015 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 20 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 14 of the 20-race Formula One schedule in an incredibly tight battle with fellow constructors Toro Rosso and Renault. With 35 points earned so far this season to place itself seventh in the constructors standings, Haas F1 Team trails sixth-place Toro Rosso by just five points while holding only a one-point advantage over eighth-place Renault.
These razor-thin margins can change drastically with a strong, point-paying performance, and Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are keenly aware of this fact. Grosjean last scored points two races ago in the Belgian Grand Prix with a seventh-place drive that pushed the organization well past its 29-point tally from all of last season. Magnussen’s most recent point-scoring effort was a seventh-place finish in June at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Both drivers are hungry for more points with only seven races remaining in 2017.
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 in the 10th anniversary of the Singapore Grand Prix, a top-10 performance will yield those coveted points. The table is set in Singapore for Haas F1 Team.