F1 fans’ guide to the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

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The Singapore Grand Prix has proved a popular addition to the F1 calendar since hosting F1’s inaugural night race in 2008.

Many of the F1 Fanatics who’ve been to the race have raved about the close proximity to the action on the street circuit and the unique appeal of F1 cars racing under lights.

With another group of readers heading to this year’s race, here are some tips and memories from those who’ve been before.

“Bring earplugs!”

Thoughts on the major vantage spots around the track:

We’re sitting in the turn one grandstand in block A6. It should get a view looking up the grid about half way and then front-on as the cars come around turn one and into the turn two and leading into turn three.

We sat at grid position nine last year and while it was great to get close to the cars and drivers at the start and finish it wasn’t the best during the race (though you are really close to the big TVs). The pit grandstand doesn’t get much of a breeze either so it can get pretty damned hot.

Would not take Marina Bay Grandstand which has the most seats – the view is actually limited as the road is narrow and the cars will be going very quick.

If you do book here get there early and reserve your place at the top corner. You’ll need to stand, but if offers excellent views.

Those bleachers on the final turn will be packed during the race. First practice is the best time to go. Also a good spot for pictures and it will be daylight as well.

For those attending this year’s race, try standing under the Esplanade Bridge when the cars are going over it. It’s quite the experience to have glorious V8 howls shake you to the bone. Bring earplugs!

Also worth trying if you’re near the Bay Grandstand is the section where the cars pass under the grandstand itself. If you’re early enough with a General Admission ticket, go up the stairs inside – there’s a vantage point where you can see the cars zoom below you through the grandstand.

“Not a lot of General Admission viewing”

As seems to be increasingly the case with new races, there are fewer opportunities to watch without buying a seat:

From what we saw last year there’s not a real lot of General Admission viewing. We were in the zone 1 area and there were virtually no General Admission viewing areas I could see. There are a couple of decent spots around turns four and five (I think) but how crowded these get during the race I don’t know.

There’s always the big TV in the gate 1 area but if you’ve shelled out to get all the way to Singapore it would be a pity just to watch it on telly. Tickets are really expensive in zone one but the stands down at the gate five area are, I believe, somewhat cheaper.

That said, nobody goes to a Grand Prix to save money do they? The “gimmick” of a night race is one that actually works – the cars look fantastic under lights, the city lights and fireworks are fantastic, the big TV screens are much more visible, and it’s a sight cooler in the evening.

Refreshments are on the pricey side too:

When I was there, the cheapest beer I had was at the sellers at the circuit, was about $6 (Singaporean) for a pint(ish) of Tiger.
Alan (@dogmop)

‘We saw Crashgate!’

One of our readers literally had a grandstand view of the major controversy of the inaugural race:

We went in 2008 and had seats in the Bay grandstand, which as it turned out was the most notorious place to sit as Crashgate happened right in front of us!

In terms of action, well you only get to see the cars come out of turn 17 and then go under the grandstand as they take turn 18, but you will have a lovely view of the Marina Bay now that its all finished. And there is a giant screen there for all the action you miss.

But I really liked the novelty of the cars running under the stand, even if the action in front of you wasn’t the greatest. But I did note that tickets for this stand were far more reasonably priced than some of the others, and we considered the money well spent.

Hotels and drivers

A few tips on which hotels to stay at – and where to head for driver-spotting:

Living and working in Singapore I would recommend looking at the Park Royal Hotel on Beach Road – I happen to work in the office building attached to it and have attended the last three F1 races in Singapore.

Its not the flashiest hotel by a long shot, but actually one of the closest to the paddock – a ten-minute walk or so – and great for turns one, two and three. Force India stayed there in 2011 and you’d see the engineers walking off to the track at 2pm plus, as did the Pirelli people and I believe the BBC crew – pretty sure I saw a rather sweaty looking Martin Brundle. In 2010 Virgin stayed there.
Marcus Hand (@Wombat1m)

Last year, Ferrari were at Pan Pacific and McLaren drivers were at the Conrad. Best place for driver spotting is Gate Two.

More Singapore sights

In the daytime when the cars aren’t on the track there are plenty of other attractions to check out:

Cultural Heritage Areas – Bras Basah/Bugis/Arab Street, Chinatown and Little India
Parks and Reserves – Gardens by the Bay South (Recently opened), Botanical Gardens, Night Safari (1st night zoo in the world)
Shopping Areas – Orchard Road and the malls around the circuit (Suntec City, Marina Square, Raffles City)
Night Spots – Clarke Quay and Boat Quay
Museums – National Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisation Museum, Singapore Art Museum
Entire Island of Attractions – Sentosa (where Universal Studios Singapore is located as well, has good beaches too)

Singapore for the 2010 race and just had to save up to go again this year. Its a great city and a great atmosphere at the circuit. Very easy to travel about Singapore and to reach the circuit on the MRT.
Nigel (@f11980)

“I can’t wait!”

From reading comments like this it’s clear to see how popular the race is with those who’ve been:

I’m in the front row of section A9 at the pit grandstand as I like to see the build-up and get on the track easily for the podium ceremony afterwards. From my last visit in 2010 I recall there were some great GA vantage points at the inside of turn one and the outside of turn three.

I love the Singapore Grand Prix weekend – I like the carnival atmosphere at the track and the fact that the night racing schedule allows you to party until the early hours, have a long lie-in and still get to the track without missing any action – then repeat for all three days of the GP weekend!

I can’t wait to get to Singapore!

F1 Fanatics going to the Singapore Grand Prix

Here are some of the F1 Fanatic readers who’ve said they’re going to this year’s race. Have a great time everyone and remember to share your images and videos with us when you get back!

@Go-Button, @Thecollaroyboys, Paolo Lambchope (@Stuvy), Eric Steven (@Paranoid), Claire Abbott (@Littlemisspetrolhead1985), Nigel (@F11980), @RobertoLarcos, @ClintonBristolUK, @Doodie111, @Rm4405, @Dougy_D, DaveG (@Lensman), Eyen Paune (@Eyenpau), @Jev

Several F1 Fanatics are arranging a meet-up at the track. See here for more information:

If you’re heading to the race join in the discussion in the forum:

And remember to share your pictures and video here:

Going to a Grand Prix on F1 Fanatic is sponsored by Grandstand Motor Sports

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

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Images © Singapore GP/Sutton, Singapore GP/Sutton, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “F1 fans’ guide to the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix”

  1. Piquet Jr. showed uncanny team spirit by risking his life for his team-mate ( pic tells us all). RESPECT!!

      1. +1

        People dismissed NP Junior for acting in such a way but his devotion to the team was so great that he deserved to keep his seat. If he’s willing to crash and risk death for a teammate like alonso think how much he could’ve helped him further down the line… If he’d just stopped on track in Abu Dhabi 2010 waited for Vettel to try to lap him and then crash into him then Alonso would be a 3x world champion..

        Please note I don’t think this is the way motor racing should occur. I am annoyed NPJ crashed and lost Massa the championship (even though I support Hamilton this year)

    1. Funnily written lol

  2. The popularity of the Singapore GP is amazing. I stay in Bangalore, India. And I can even today, get a round trip ticket to Singapore for 16000 INR for the GP weekend. On the other hand, the GP at Delhi will cost me around 20k!

    1. I would prefer watching at Yas Marina than at Buddh Intl. any time!!! By the way if Indian govt. takes over from Jaypee, than we may have to spend in India too!

    2. I’m traveling to Singapore from Bangalore myself. Chose to go for this one over Delhi for the exact reason you mentioned!

  3. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the quote about beer prices.

    How expensive is a pint in the UK? I was under the impression that it was more expensive on average than the US. Here I usually pay $4 to $5 US for a 16 ounce pint. An imperial/British pint (19.7oz) is about $5 to $6. Is that about the same as the UK?

    6 Singapore dollars converts to about $4.90 US, which doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    Or is it that Tiger is a crap beer? I wouldn’t say it’s great by any means, but I’d take it over $7 cans of Bud Light when I went to the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix. That disappointed me greatly. It was the first time I’ve ever been to Canada, especially Montreal where there’s lots of good beer around, and Budweiser and Bud Light were my only options.

    1. Tiger’s alright…

      1. £2.40 – £4.00 usually, £4 would be expensive. I bought beer at the olympics and I think it was about £6 a pint..Painful lol

        1. Tiger is great stuff. Its Singapore’s local beer, and its really good.

          A pint at the grand prix cost about 8 SGD the last time I went, so it was pretty decent considering that it was at a race! At Sepang, I was paying more that 6 USD for a 350 ml can of beer!

          I got the walkabout ticket when I went the last time. I was great, on Friday and Saturday you can survey all the spots around the track for the best view. I ended up on the back end of the Singapore Sling, very good spot, the cars get real close to the wall there. You can smell the rubber and petrol, which was awesome. The only drawback is that you have to get there very early to be in front of the crowd, which means standing for about 6 to 7 hours in total!.

    2. If you were at a sporting event in Australia, that beer would be a great price. Try paying AU$6.50 (SIN$8.34) for a schooner (425ml) of mid strength at a game, let alone a pint of full strength

  4. I remember having my teeth shaken by the V8’s on the inside of Parabolic at Monza last year, I can only imagine what that sounds like amplified in a dense urban area with a bridge in close proximity. I imagine it’s quite cool if not slightly uncomfortable :P

  5. i cant wait to go to Singapore this Thursday! garage tour with Caterham :)

    1. How did you get the tour?

      1. got a invitation from the team

        1. You made me cry, honestly.

          1. ill post some pictures for f1fanatic to share with you guys

          2. @iman Have a great time – look forward to seeing them!

          3. thanks sir :)

        2. Well isn’t that obvious? It’s hardly likely that you decided yourself that you would do the tour and proceeded to inform the team of your intention. Of course the team invited you.
          What he means is: how did you get the tour invite? Do you know members of the team personally? Are you connected to a sponsor? Are you connected to a business partner? Are you just an “average fan” and wrote a letter requesting one?. etc.

          1. Cool, I’ll look forward to seeing the pics. We’ll be posting on youtube and face thing so I’ll put the links up.

    2. Good for u, now be a nice friend and get me a garage trip for Caterham!!

  6. Not sure if it’s still the case, but Premium General Admission was fantastic in 2010. Unlimited rides on the Singapore flyer gave us some amazing views during the Practice sessions. For the race we stood on the bleachers on the inside of Turns 1-3, which was great, especially at the start of the race when 24 cars were all squashed in there at once. And the pit exit is right there, which provides a bit of action as well. We then moved to the last corner to watch the end of the race. There was plenty of room to watch through the fence, and we managed to squeeze up on to one of the bleachers. Great view of Heikki’s flaming Lotus as it limped past.
    For comparison’s sake, I was at Spa a couple of weeks ago for the F1 and the viewing locations, facilities and access were terrible compared to Singapore. And after Alonso and Hamilton had been knocked out of the race the atmosphere was pretty average as well.

    1. I dont have any other tracks to compare against but I thought it was a bit light on. Inside of T1? i thought that was the paddock club zone. Theres bleachers at the end of pit grandstand next to the T1 stand but it was a zone for wheelchairs last year. I didnt look too hard though. I met a retired couple in my hotel last year who had been to a heap of tracks (thats how I’m going to retire!) and they said that Sg was the best organised theyd been to and classier than Melbourne.

      1. From the map on the website it looks like there are still some GA bleachers in there. I don’t think they’re very well signposted at the track, so you have to know they’re there to be able to find them. There was also a TV screen there, but it was set up for the Turns 1-3 Grandstands so it was on a pretty severe angle for us.
        It was such an amazing event. Our hotel was 15 mins walk from the circuit, and all the post-race concerts and events created an awesome atmosphere. It sure beats the 3 hours it took to get to Spa so that we could cram onto the bank at Pouhon and sit on some rocks! Definitely going back to Singapore next year.

  7. The weather forecast is stormy rain all the weekend. Hack, it would be like putting an ice on the cake – already very tricky track with severe punishment for any mistakes, and with the boosting up heat for the title. Curious if still Ferrari car’s keeping its edges on wet condition or, put another way, whether McLaren has found something in its poor performance under wet for the past several months.

    1. It is? I believe @radarguruf1 says early forecast is dry.
      In any case, I think rain had been forecast every year, but we’ve never had a wet race or qualifying yet. I won’t get my hopes up..

    2. @leotef It is common to have thunderstorms at particular times of the day in Singapore at this time of year – usually before the racing action in the evening. This tends to get reported in a rather inaccurate fashion on some sites, who represent the forecast for an entire day with a picture of a thunderstorm.

      However, as we’ve seen in the past few races this year, this is a considerable exaggeration of the likelihood of rain affecting a competitive session, which hasn’t happened yet at Singapore.

      As usual, the pre-weekend weather forecast article will be up on Thursday, by which time the accuracy of the current forecasts will have improved.

      1. Official forecast by Singapore Met.

  8. I’ve never been to the race in Singapore but stopped of there for two days on a trip to Australia this year in June. Walked teh track in daylight and got a lot of photos including one of me sitting on the tarmac on pole. really cool to see the whole area as working streets and stroll along the pitlane which was completely open with names over teh doors from the 2011 race. Its a really bzzing city. Will definitely plump up for teh folight back in a couple of years to get to the race. Phenominal atmosphere.

  9. Urge all fans going to the race to ditch your jeans, pants and shirts.

    Trust me, T-shirts and bermudas are the way to go.
    It’s terribly humid even at night.

    1. A hand fan is also recommended. We got some $1 fans from a shop and they saved our lives.

      1. Stock up on bottles of COLD Mineral Water from the supermarkets.
        At least 3 to 4 bottles depending on how many your bag can hold.
        The heat will really get to you in no time in the open and you will need some water consumption to fend off thirst.

        Those sold at 7-11 are markedly more costly so avoid buying there. (well-known in Singapore prices in 7-11 are always more expensive than elsewhere).

        1. On my last visit in 2010 I remember there was a 7-11 inside the circuit grounds, at the Singapore Flyer complex. Buying beer from there was so much cheaper than from the ‘proper’ food and drink places around the circuit!

          Hopefully they have kept it open…

  10. I spent my summer backpacking in SE Asia, and spent 3 days in Singapore. I was there over the equivalent of bank holiday weekend in the UK, and setting up the track was well underway. The Metro system was fantastic and means that you can get almost anywhere in the city very cheaply and quickly. I was staying in hostels all through the summer and they are great quality these days. In Singapore, I stayed in BackpackersSG near Lavender Street, and for $10 a night I got wifi, a good bed, a locker, free tea/coffee all day and also met some great people. If you’re travelling on a budget or have spent all your money on an F1 ticket, then do consider hostels. They are a perfectly comfortable way of staying somewhere for a fraction of the price of a hotel. I found the best site is hostelworld.com for looking at reviews and booking hostels in advance – there are literally hundreds of them around.

    Singapore itself is a great city but come prepared. There are often monsoon showers around 4pm which are extremely heavy, so take a rain mac and an umbrella even if its sunny. For a great view of the track and city, the Marina Bay Hotel with the roof thing across the top (called the ‘Skypark’) is open to the public – just go to the Northern-most tower and you can pay $20 to get to the top. You can see most of the F1 track and also get a great panoramic view across the bay to the financial buildings on the other side. Away from the action, the zoo is a good day out but a bit of a of a pain to get to. Personally I found Sentosa Island a bit gimmicky and pricey and wouldn’t bother going unless you have children. For a very in depth and good history of Singapore, go to the Museum near the Raffles Hotel and take the self-guided tour which is very good and was also free when I was there, but not sure that it is year-round.

    As for food, the best and cheapest is the food courts in Chinatown or Little India, or a couple of others that are scattered around. You can get a large bowl or plate of local food away from the touristy spots for around S$5, and personally I found it to be the best and most cultural food around.

    Beer, unfortunately, is just plain expensive everywhere.

  11. Comment from @scribbler moved here

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