What F1 Fanatics say about… Singapore

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010

At Singapore you’re so close to the cars you find bits of tyre marbles in your hair.

F1’s original night race has been praised by F1 Fanatics who’ve been there.

One fan, Michael, has witnessed the famous lights first hand:

Holding the race at night adds more to the spectacle than you can possibly imagine. Having seen it for myself, I think all street circuits should hold races at night.

Although the race takes place at night, the temperatures remain high:

Bring water. It’s about the only food or drink you can bring in from outside the track.

It’s a hot track in a hot country, even at night, so it’s nice to have it just in case you’re used to European or American climates.

Also, the food/drink available in the stands is tastier than usual circuit fare, but can be slightly dearer, so it’s nice to save where you can.

If you get there in plenty of time before the sessions begin each day, you may be lucky enough to meet a few drivers. Magiklegs managed just this last year and shares his strategy:

The best bit about being at the Singapore Grand Prix is that it is surely the track where meeting the drivers is the easiest.

Basically the drivers are not allowed to be driven into circuit grounds, they get dropped off at the gates and walk through the general areas in ‘Zone 1’, and then into the pits. I had my photo taken with all the drivers except for Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, simply by asking as they walked through.

I’m not sure how many others know about this, but there seemed to be very few spectators in the area, as it’s not great for spectating. They tend to come in around two hours before the first session of each day!

As is the case with most races, JohnBt recommends a walk around the circuit on Friday and Saturday in order to find great places to get pictures, as well as an opportunity to experience the cars running through different parts of the circuit.

We managed to cover every corner that was accessible for the first two days, so as to be at the best turn in our opinion for the race. Overall views were not really fantastic, as the cars disappeared to soon due to the street circuit format.

So we finally settled for turn five because it was the widest turn in which overtaking would be possible. Also there was a lot of skidding and drifting which made for exciting viewing.

The most amazing part was that we were so near the cars, less than ten feet. Awesome! We had small bits of tyre marbles left in our hair and on our skin, how much closer could you get than that?

While John was finding souvenirs in his hair on the way home from the circuit, Michael was still mesmerized by a rather unique sound, something which you can hear too during your circuit walk.

There’s an area every F1 fan should experience – go under the Esplanade bridge and hear the sound amplified several times with fantastic reverberation underneath the bridge. I stumbled upon it during a practice session while exploring the circuit. There’s no other F1 circuit in the world to enable a fan to experience from “under” the track!

There are two places to do this. One is outside the circuit, near the Merlion statue, the other is on the other side of the Singapore River beside the Esplanade theatre by the Bay (the spiked dome building).

Lioneldude has become a Singapore Grand Prix veteran, having been at every race held there so far. He has advice on what you expect from specific seating:

I’ve been to every edition of the Singapore Grand Prix and I will be heading back this year.

In 2008 I sat in the Bay Grandstand, got a ticket in Dark Green Row 22 but it was way too far to the right. Since there were some empty seats usually, I sat at Yellow Row 10 on Saturday and Yellow Row 50 on Sunday.

For 2009 I got a ticket at Turn 1 A5 Row 1. Bad mistake as a marshal box blocked my view and the fence is not very nice to have in photography. As it was an economically down year, the seats were pretty much empty, as much as 70% full on race day. I moved myself to Turn 2 A1 and A2 and got nice views of the race itself.

Then, in 2010 I sat at Turn 2 A2 Row 20. There, I managed to get a great picture of the start on Sunday. There was a huge crowd, and race day was packed with fans in the turn two grandstand. Great atmosphere and enjoyed seeing people cheering for the Fernando Alonso-Sebastian Vettel battle.

For this year I have booked Turn 2 A2 again. I’m really looking forward to it.

Also, many thanks to Mankster, who has helped out a lot of people on various issues in the pages detailed here.

Find out more about the race in this article from Wei Jian who worked as a track marshal during last year’s race:

2011 Singapore Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Singapore Grand Prix articles

    Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

    54 comments on “What F1 Fanatics say about… Singapore”

    1. Keith, Is Singapore one of those GPs you will be keen to go to ?

      p/s: as I promised Enigma, from this week onwards I will be tweeting daily about the Singapore weather under the name roberttty_sg. And yes, it has rained 6 days in the past week, including today. But mostly in the afternoons though, seldom at night

      1. So a “green” track it will be then! And we might get to see the spray we all discussed before the first night race :-), that is, if its not dried up by the time they start running on track.

        Thanks for the weather updates roberttty

      2. If anyone’s in the area on Wednesday evening (think they closed it off on Thursday), make it a point to do a track walk as a good portion of the circuit is still open. If you’re lucky, you might bump into a driver or two – Schumacher was doing a lap on a scooter last year.

    2. I wish i had found this site before i booked my track tickets. I would have gone direct and bought through the Sg office and not the generally useless Aus agents. I guess that’s what happens when you book on an impulse. Does anyone know the walking time from gate 1 to clarke quay?

      1. Its probably quicker and rather more fun to walk through the circuit from Gate 3 rather than around it to Gate 1 (I guess you have a zone 1 ticket)- 35-40min walk.
        Quicker still is to take the MRT to Nicol Highway (with a change of trains at Dhoby Ghout) – maybe 10min.

      2. Unfortunately I have never been to the Singapore GP, but was lucky enough to visit in 2008 in November, after the GP of course.

        Although I can’t comment much on the circuit, Clarke Quay is amazing, and I have to suggest you visit at night. The entire place is lit up, and is very nice. Good food there as well.

    3. I had difficulty logging in earlier, which is why I actually tweeted back to Keith, but I’ll repeat it here:

      If you are in the Walkabout areas, a Kangaroo TV is very useful to have, since the commentary tends to be drowned out by echoes from the buildings. It also helps you follow what is going on since the number of giant TVs is still very limited and there’s a lot of people crowding the areas around them.

      The security can be massive killjoys and rather uninformed and uninterested in helping with directions. In ’09, they actually wanted the crowd to walk the long way to the pit areas rather than the shorter distance, which was, IMHO, a rubbish decision.

      Also as roberttty said, it’s been raining heavily here this week, so early birds catching the support races should bring along an umbrella or raincoat.

      Also for food and drink, the prices are rather steep, so if one is willing to walk a bit after the sessions, cheaper eats can be found just outside the track area at either Marina Square or Suntec City.

      1. For cheaper drinks, skip past the drinks tents and make the trek down to the Esplanade or the Singapore Flyer. The stores inside sell bottled/canned drinks for their usual MSRP without raceday mark-ups. At least, that was how it was in 08, 09 and last year. Not to mention you get to use proper toilets instead of the portable ones!

        Also worth mentioning is that the check for outside food/drinks on entry isn’t very thorough so sneaking a burger and fries at the bottom of your rucksack is entirely feasible. Not that I’d know anything about that of course. ;)

    4. I don’t like this GP.
      The “night time” thing is just an “improve the show” operation. I don’t see the point in flooding thousands of Watts of light (or should i say Lumens?) so that the driver can see as well as during the day… at night. What’s wrong with daylight ? It’s beautiful, warm, free…

      The track isn’t flowing at all, it’s on/off/on/off/on/off 26 turns long. Another street circuit. Monaco is painful enough. Why bring Valencia and Singapore ? We have Interlagos, Monza, Spa (+/-), Silverstone… We had the old Hockenheim, the Nurburgring…

      I’ll follow it though, but quick, bring on Suzuka !!!

      1. Monaco!? Painful!?

        1. Alright, “painful” is not the word.
          To me, Monaco is more of an Heritage thing. It is unconceivable to do without.
          But it is still a procession between swimming pools. O it is tough on the drivers. But enjoyable to watch? just enough…
          1 glamorous city-track is enough i’d say…

    5. I would say I don’t like this race, but if it wasn’t run at night under lighting, we would probably say it was boring.

      Also it does have some “green” issues, as the lighting has to be powered by diesel engines, probably about the least green way of providing electricity there is. Also to ensure the power doesn’t fail they have to run more generators that necessary. Plus they run them almost constantly for about 4 days.

      Maybe the plans to move the track may improve things.

    6. How much I wished I could be going this year! That would be awesome.

    7. It was my first Singapore GP last year and I can confirm that watching it under lights is a completely different experience than anywhere else. Its just so much more immersive! The screens are more visible against the night-sky background and you can also see the pits clearly if you’re anywhere on the start-finish straight.
      I was sat right at the start-finish line last year and it was something hard to explain. Its about 10 feet from the track and you get to see the all the circus before the race on Sunday, up close and personal. I even wished Michael and Adrian best of luck, could not shake hands or anything as there was the barrier in between but it was pretty amazing to be so close. Just make sure you keep walking along the stands on Sunday to catch a glimpse of all the action up and down the grid as the marshals will keep coming and tell you to return to your seats. Just do a walk along the whole grid, don’t stand too long at one place, take a few pictures, shout out a wish to anyone you want and then get back to your seat!
      Also, it gets pretty hot and humid, so make sure, as others said, to have plenty of water on you. Also, it normally rains and the stands are make-shift. They’re basically temp structures and so they’re open under. Be careful not to drop anything as it goes straight under to the mud and there’s no way you can get down there. I dropped my phone and had to report it to one of the volunteers and they are extremely helpful. They got it back for me later. Thankfully, it wasn’t damaged as it fell on damp earth.
      One suggestion I have is, try to get on the Flyer and watch the driver’s parade or one of the practice sessions from up there – its a breathtaking sight! I live pretty close to the London Eye, so, you can imagine getting on the flyer itself was no big thrill, but watching F1 cars go under was some experience! The ride’s free for GP ticket holders. You can also see the back of the pits, the trucks etc. on your way up on the flyer. Also, a complete bird’s eye view of the whole track (its easier to make it out as its lit), all the stands and the surrounding area. There’s no motorhomes in Singapore though.
      If you smoke, get your stuff before you enter the circuit as you can’t buy any within. I spent qualifying in the paddock and, for some reason, it was much more friendly and personal than any other paddocks I’ve been to. But of course, you’ll have to have a paddock pass for that.. but if you do somehow, make sure you explore the whole paddock and don’t get too stuck with the team that got you in. ;)

      1. Thanks for this! Plenty to include in next years Singapore article from you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. :-)

        1. Flyer rides are free for Zone 1 Grandstand ticket holders and Premier walkabout ticket holders only; which make up a minority of the Ticket holders. Hense the Flyer isn’t actually that busy, especially during the support races, yest nice view of the lit circuit from up there.

      2. Wow, great Idea about the Flyer!

        1. Thanks guys. I really enjoyed it and looking forward for a even better weekend this time as I know more about it than I did last year. I’ll try my best to inform all here about what I think or discover to be nice little things to make your Singapore weekend more enjoyable and memorable.. :)
          I’ll be attending a lot more GPs next year, that’s the plan at least. Also coming up, is one of my most dreamt of GPs, India! It’ll be some experience.. Missed Spa & Monza this year but I promised myself to get back to both those GPs again next year.
          Anyone else coming to Singapore this weekend and want to meet up, please leave details. :)

          1. If you wanna take a look at some pics from last year, here –
            Album 1


            Album 2

            Feel free to share if you wish. :)

            1. Those are indeed nice pictures! Really lovely to see a bit of the city in daylight actually.

              Nice how you captured the start there, I guess the race would have been too hard to take pictures with a normal camera and from up in the grandstands, not to mention missing a lot of the action :-)

            2. I was so fixed on the cars at the start that I almost forgot to take any pictures at all.. The couple I took are when they were about to start the formation lap and right after they lined up for the start. After that, it was pretty much impossible to get a decent picture as I did not have an DSLR/sports lens.. and yeah, you do not want to miss any of the action trying to take pictures! ;)

            3. I can´t share it on my Facebook :(

      3. Indeed a nice idea about the flyer.. it is like having your own soft pauer f1 app without the live timing screen.

        Paddock club tickets are expensive… It is like $5000

        1. Not if you’re invited by a team or the like.. ;)

          1. I guess I have to buy a SLS AMG if I have to get invited by MGP ..pout :(

      4. I’m not sure if it’s similar to the paddocks in other races, but in Singapore the general paddock area is separated from the paddock club/corporate suites by security gates. You’ll need special passes from your sponsor to access the paddock proper if you want to meet the drivers, explore the area behind the pits, etc.

    8. This is probably my second least-favourite race. Nearly two hours (because of the inevitable Safety Car) of cars going through lit corridors. The only time you really get to see the beauty of Singapore is in the early Free Practice sessions, when it is twilight and the city is bathed in a beautiful purple haze. Even the night-time aspect isn’t as spectacular as it sounds, on TV. Most of the time it looks like a parade through an underground car-park (albeit one that would have a glass ceiling!). Occasionally we get some shots of the bay and hotels and maybe once a wonderful helicopter shot of multiple corners with cars going through them, for a few seconds being able to fully appreciate the setting and the challenge, before we go back to the usual bland camera angles (admittedly this is FOM’s fault, not the race’s).

      I’m sure it is wonderful to drive, to be there yourself and see it with your own eyes, but most of us will never go there to see it for ourselves. Maybe the racing will be better because of DRS and KERS but for me the aesthetics – which is apparently half the point of this particular event – will always be a letdown.

      1. To see the real beauty of Singapore, you will need to go out of the “bling bling” part of town where the race is being held, and head off north away from the “glitterati”…

    9. Just packing to be off to my second Singapore GP after enjoying so much the first time last year. It’s a long haul from the UK and it the first long haul, non European GP race I have felt the need to repeat (will probably do Malaysia again one day too).
      I have to agree the on track action and the configuration of the circuit makes the action less than spectacular, better than Valencia and on a par with Monaco. Lets see if DRS make a difference this year and what a bit of dampness does. I can understand why it isn’t the best GP to watch on TV. However to see live, I think it’s the best overall GP experience I have had so far. A combination of many thing – No doubt having it at night makes it different, the car looks so much better under lights, you are very very close to the cars, the sounds of this GP is very different as the circuit is surrounded by buildings which bounce back the sound.
      Its right in the heart of the city and walking distance to everywhere so its easy to pop in and out of the circuit, to grab cheaper food, go sightseeing , go back to your hotel etc. Nice compact city with perfect public transport. Everything is in English so no problems with the language. Food is amazing and very cheap (alcohol is expensive but similar to London prices). The free on circuit entertainment is fantastic – this year we have Shakira and Linkin Park (and also Rick Astley, Shaggy and Boy George for those that grew up in the 80s!). Off circuit parties are pretty intense too. All in all, it makes a great weekend.

      1. Where can you get closest to the cars with a Premier Walkabout ticket?

    10. @ Lioneldude
      Enjoy the time this year as well.

    11. In 2008 I sat in the Bay Grandstand, got a ticket in Dark Green Row 22 but it was way too far to the right.

      Bugger it! That’s where I am! I’ve walked most of the course today, couldn’t really get my bearings straight but I think I’m just about there. Here’s hoping for some empty seats we can shift in to!

      It’s hot and humid as expected. Haven’t seen any signs of any names. Still looking forward to it immensely.

      1. no actually those are nice seats.. plenty of drivers going off there– alonso on 08, etc

        it a nice place to see the late breakers

    12. I found lots of people last year were happy to exchange Friday and Saturday Grandstand tickets (You dont have free access to grandstands on Friday like other circuit). Last year I saw Practice 1 and 2 from Esplanade GS, 3rd Practice from Stamford and the qualifying and the race from the seat I had originally purchsed in Turn 2.
      This year I bought Stamford Tickets (hoping that this stand will be at the end of the DRS Zone) and have already picket up sone Pit Granstand ticket for Friday of a fellow F1Fanatic after corresponding on this site.

    13. I’m a Singaporean Myself, sad to say nearly 80% of Singaporeans couldn’t be bothered about Formula 1, the remaining 20% can only Cheer for Hamilton or Alonso, the rest of the field, including Schumacher Mind you, don’t mean much.

      Kinda Dissapointed as Singaporeans are more interested in the Race only for it to be finished ASAP so the roads get opened again…

      1. 20% is a pretty good percentage of all inhabitants! Not everyone likes F1 after all – and a street circuit is pretty disruptive. I really love Singapore – must get to the race next year.

      2. the remaining 20%

        You say it like it’s a bad thing! A 20% following (though I very much doubt it’s that high) for the sport is excellent, Malaysia, China, Turkey etc. would kill for that.

        I would say that there’s considerable buzz in the town area and media when the race is here. I absolutely disagree that most want the race quickly over and done with and the roads to re-open; the road closures are much reduced from the early years anyway. I honestly think all Singaporeans feel proud, to varying degrees, when our city is being showcased during the race.

        Hey, there will always be whiners and nay-sayers in the papers and online, but really not to any large degree. In general, the sentiment is rather positive I would say. Say, for Australia, there’s talk of the race being cancelled every year and a group who are strongly against the race, but we don’t have anything like that here.

    14. I like these articles, incredibly useful they are.

      You can also get under the circuit at a couple of points in Monza. I didn’t witness the sound underneath but I imagine it to be quite ferocious!

      1. incredibly useful they are.

        A bit like Yoda speaking you were, but the point clear is. :P

        These articles are indeed interesting and useful, and they will be my first read when planning a trip to a Grand Prix.

        1. Yes. I am pretty wise ;)

      2. Thank you for the kind words! :)

        I’m glad you find them useful, that is what they aim to be anyway!

    15. I’ve been studying in Singapore for 3 years now, and I’ve never missed a race (I even tell people that the night race made up 50% of my decision to study here. haha). Every race has been magical, and I was finally rewarded for my devotion when Fernando Alonso won the race for Ferrari.

      I had the premium walkabout tickets in 2010, which were around a hundred Singapore dollars more expensive than the regular walkabout tickets, but as my pictures will show you, they were well worth the price. I watched FP2 at turn 20 and I got some amazing views of the cars’ rear bodywork and flaming exhausts, followed qualy at turns 11-12 (the high-speed kink before the old Anderson Bridge), and, would you believe, my pass even allowed me to watch the race at turn 3! Sadly, they jacked up the price of that ticket by $150 dollars this year, but I still think that it’s the best value.

      The night race is definitely one to see. The atmosphere is unparalleled, with the cars zooming by just a few feet away and the sound of the V8s reverberating off the buildings. Fans are great too, though the more passionate ones are usually from abroad. Oh, and the entertainment is top-notch too (Linkin Park and Shakira are performing this year!)

      If you still need convincing, here are a few pictures I took last year:
      http://tinyurl.com/3ehmbxo, http://tinyurl.com/3s59ebl, http://tinyurl.com/3u5ame7, http://tinyurl.com/5vyy3f3, http://tinyurl.com/3n33utw, http://tinyurl.com/3s6wvup, http://tinyurl.com/3ra8s3c

      Oh, and if anyone here is watching, I’d love to meet up with you over the weekend!

      1. cool pictures….

      2. Wow. Great pictures! Any chance I could get a larger copy of the Alonso/Vettel one?

        1. Sure thing, Andrew! Just send me your email address, or I can attach them to a Facebook message if that’s better for you.

    16. Hopefully this will be one of the tracks along with Valencia, that the BBC will opt out of next year….yawn

    17. Alexander Nevermind
      20th September 2011, 15:27

      The track itself probably rightly has its fair share of critics, I’m more a fan of the historical tracks etc too but from an event point of view as a showcase of the sport in Asia etc its probably the best thing Bernie ever did imho.

      Singapore’s a great place and I’d never have discovered it without the F1 as a lure. I’ve been every year and will continue to go back, I cant recommend it highly enough to anyone considering it. Yes the weather is pretty brutal if you arent used to that sorta thing, but with the cities great infrastructure and amenities its hardly a problem. Last year I didnt bother buying tickets when I looked off my hotel rooms balcony, and I’m packin my bags atm to go again this year.


      (not my video and its fairly overexposed phonecam vision but you get the idea ;) )

    18. I’d love to go to Singapore Night Race, but they should have it the weekend after the Malaysian GP – it would be great to get 2 GPs on 1 long haul return flight and take advantage of the cheap Malaysian tickets. I bet a lot more Europeans would make the trip to Malaysia if they could stay for the Night Race, it essentially makes the long haul intercontinental flights half the price.

    19. Next year, once I’ve the Lotto . . .

      1. Don’t mess up with my plan !
        Euromillion is mine, OK ?

    20. When the two new races were announced for 2008 I was actually looking more forward to Valencia than Singapore. But after the first races at both circuits my opinion turned upside down. Singapore seems pure street circuit which Valencia is not.

      The cars look nice in lights and in the circuit most corners have walls just next to the track which means one mistake and you are out of the race. I think only first and last corners have well space to run wide. Few corners have escape roads where you can make U-turn and continue. We need those circuits in the calendar.

    21. A bit of photography advice please. I’m going to use a 4.5f (55-310mm) – is this fast enough on a 400 asa setting under the track lights or should I go for 800 asa. Any advice would be great as I’m not a red hot photographer and don’t want to waste any time or opportunities.

      On the subject of the track – its location is the reason why this is my choice for a first GP visit. Easy access, good facilities, safe environment, warm. These are all things you have to consider when travelling with kids. Even Melbourne (our local GP) isn’t quite as convenient. It’s also happening in our school holidays which is a big bonus.

    22. Every year, I pray for rain on race-day. Perhaps this will be it.

      There has been rain just about every day for the past week or so, sometimes even through the night. It’s seldom heavy at night though, but one can hope. ;)

      Just like the past three years, I’ll be going every single day. Managed to snag a pair of tickets at the Stamford Grand Stand, COME ON DRS. :D

      I’ll be tweeting from @czhihong again (like last year) so feel free to follow again! Got to go dust off my twitter account..

    23. Anyone have any hotel Singapore recommendations for around $350 US per night?

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