The Singapore Grand Prix celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
First run in 2008, the race takes place at night and sees the cars run through downtown Singapore under floodlights.
It’s a breathtaking spectacle. But motor racing isn’t new to the city-state; there was a non-championship Singapore Grand Prix on the Thomson Road street circuit between 1961 and ’73.
Fernando Alonso: “We knew the double-header of Spa and Monza would be difficult for us, but three DNFs out of four was still really disappointing. Still, we showed better pace than we anticipated, even though we could convert that into points. We’ve now put the European season behind us and we turn our attention to the fly-aways which signal the final chapter of the season. Singapore is a great place to start, as it’s one of the circuits on the calendar that suits our package better than others, and gives us a real chance for a more positive result. Singapore is a bit like the Monaco of the East. It’s a glamorous street circuit right in the centre of the city and the atmosphere is incredible. It’s tough – hot and humid, and hard on the cars and drivers. It’s really fun though: bumpy, tight and challenging, but exhilarating when you get it right. You need a car with good traction on the slower corners and a high downforce set-up, so we definitely have a better chance there – we just need to make sure we also have the reliability.”
Stoffel Vandoorne: “I’ve never raced in Singapore, but I’ve experienced the whole weekend alongside the team over the past couple of years. Living on European time and going to bed at 6am is surreal, and it’s part of what makes this grand prix one of the really special ones. Singapore is such a cool place and I’m looking forward to exploring more of the city this year. Of the grands prix I haven’t yet done, Singapore is one of the races that I’ve been most excited about all year. It’s a completely different experience to the other races and I think the whole atmosphere will feel pretty unique – racing under the floodlights in the middle of the city sounds really cool. The grands prix here have been some of the longest on the calendar, so it’ll take a lot of stamina in the high temperatures and humidity, but I feel well prepared. We’ve had a tough couple of races as a team, but from my side I’ve also been encouraged by the performances we’ve put in across the course of each weekend. In every session we’ve been able to take away positives – even if we haven’t managed to get the cars to the end of the race or finish with a good result. I’m pretty sure we’re due some better luck, so I hope in Singapore we’ll be able to maximise the strengths of our package over the whole weekend, and finish the all-important race day on a high on Sunday afternoon.”
Eric Boullier, Mclaren-Honda Racing Director: “The whole team looks forward to Singapore each year – it’s a flagship event and an Asian jewel in the crown. The combination of the humidity, operating at unusual times during the day and night while working to the European schedule, the floodlights, high walls and gruelling track layout all makes for a truly unique grand prix, and an epic weekend of racing for fans in the middle of this great city. It’s a fantastic spectacle for fans, teams and partners alike, who all love to experience the best of Singapore and enjoy everything the city and grand prix organisers have to offer. It’s also a weekend that produces some of the best racing on the calendar, and never fails to throw up some drama. We’re also keen to move on from the last couple of weekends, and focus firmly on the future. Singapore is one of the best chances of the year in terms of matching our package to the characteristics of this gruelling street circuit. We’ve worked hard to try to avoid incurring any penalties which could halt our progress there, and we hope that following Stoffel’s retirement in Monza we won’t have to use any new power unit elements, although this is yet to be officially confirmed. Celebrating 10 years of the Singapore Grand Prix is a great achievement and we’d like to congratulate the organisers for reaching this milestone, at what is an incredibly impressive venue that teams and fans alike love returning to each year. For McLaren Honda, this year’s race offers us everything to play for, and we’re looking forward to fighting as close to our front-running competitors as possible.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: “Although Italy marked the end of the European season, our F1 campaign continues to ramp up as we head to Singapore for the final run of fly-away races. With a typically tropical climate, the hot and humid conditions in Singapore are tough for both the drivers and team members. Despite this, the Singapore Grand Prix remains one of the favourites for the F1 paddock, with the city’s skyline providing a spectacular backdrop to the race. We had a disappointing result last time out at the Italian Grand Prix, however, it was still positive that we had good pace on such a power-hungry track. In stark contrast to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, with so many tight, slow corners, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is less reliant on outright power and plays more to our strengths as we saw at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this season. The car’s overall balance between power unit and chassis will be the key to a good weekend, so our engineers are hard at work preparing the ideal set-up. Hopefully we can provide the drivers with a good package so they can be in the hunt for much-needed points.”