Toro Rosso drivers preview the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, Round 15 of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship, at Marina Bay Circuit.
Pierre Gasly: “My only experience of Singapore is when I attended the race as third driver for Red Bull Racing. So at least I got to see the race at first hand and it gave me an understanding of just how hot and humid it is and what it’s like having a night race, getting up in the afternoon and going to bed in the early hours of the morning. I found it quite straightforward, sticking on European time and you just have to get used to driving under the artificial lights. It’s a different rhythm, but I quite enjoyed it when I was there.
“The super-sticky conditions mean it’s the most physically demanding race of the year. Even if I’ve never driven the track, looking at the layout, I can see it’s the sort of circuit I like, where you can get into a rhythm with a lot of corners. It turns a lot and it’s very technical. We knew the last two races in Spa and Monza were going to be complicated but, on paper, Singapore should suit our car a bit better. I’m looking forward to seeing how we go. I’ve been training for the heat, wearing lots of clothes and sweating a lot, making sure I felt much too hot and I will be doing that sort of training right up until the weekend, as well as spending time in the sauna. Marina Bay is one of my favourite tracks to drive on the videogames, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the real thing.”
Brendon Hartley: “Singapore will be a new track for me and one that I have very much been looking forward to. All the drivers I have spoken to tell me it’s the most physical race on the calendar, partly because it’s a busy lap, but also because of the heat and humidity. Of course, I have done a lot of night racing throughout my career, at events like Le Mans, but with the floodlights it won’t be very noticeable, unless it rains.
“Historically, Toro Rosso has gone well here and while we knew the last two races would be tough, all of us at Toro Rosso see Singapore as a good opportunity to perform well. Last week, I drove the track on the simulator, which, as usual, is half for the benefit of the team and half for the driver. The track is accurately 3-D mapped so it was an opportunity to learn every bump and kerb. It allows me to get all my reference points and hit the ground running when practice starts on Friday. From a team point of view, it means we can do a lot of set-up changes before even getting to the track, trying them out to see if the driver gets a good feeling from them in the car. It’s not quite 100% the same as actually driving the track itself, as it’s not as hot and you don’t have the same forces going through the body. All the same, it’s a perfect way to prepare as you get some visual markers and an idea of where you are going. Apart from that, I have also done some heat training by exercising with a few more layers on. I am feeling fit and healthy, which can give you an edge come Sunday night and I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”