2016 Singapore Grand Prix track preview

2016 Singapore Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Hulkenberg and Massa tangled at turn three last year
Singapore’s street race under night lights has been a dazzling addition to the calendar though the track is more a test of endurance than skill.

It boasts 23 turns which are almost all slow and the majority of them are right-angled. Like Baku, Sochi and – of course – Monaco, this is more a tour bus route than a track.

That isn’t to say it can’t catch drivers out. The combination of frequent bumps and braking zones, unforgiving walls and energy-sapping humidity make this one of the toughest races on the calendar along with Malaysia. And for the first time this year drivers will have to contend with both those races within two weeks of each other.

A lap of Singapore

Track data: Singapore

Lap length5.065km (3.147 miles)
Grand prix distance308.965km (191.982 miles)
Lap record (race)1’50.041 (Daniel Ricciardo, 2016)
Fastest lap (any session)1’43.885 (Sebastian Vettel, 2016, qualifying three)
Tyre compoundsSee drivers’ choices
2015 Rate the Race6.55 out of 10
2015 Driver of the WeekendSebastian Vettel

Singapore track data in full

Pirelli have brought their ultra-soft compound for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. Drivers previously found the super-soft tended to wilt at the end of Singapore’s five kilometre lap, so we could see some very slow build-up laps and the possibility of drivers catching traffic in the final sector.

It’s easy to over-commit to the opening sequence of corners, particularly at the start of the race, where we have seen an increasingly tough line being taken on track limits. From the right-angled turn one the drivers file through the simple turn two right-hander into a slow hairpin.

Getting the power down out of this corner is tricky, says Romain Grosjean, but vital as the cars build up to one of the quickest parts of the track here. Turn four is a kink, beyond which the open turn five leads onto the run towards one of the few named corners on the track. Turn seven: Memorial corner.

The second DRS zone after the start/finish line is positioned here, making it the most obvious place for overtaking. The track narrows after turn seven, however, and here too it is easy for drivers to trespass beyond track limits, especially while jockeying for position.

The cars dodge through another pair of right-angled turn and on to another at the former site of the awkward Singapore Sling chicane. The unpopular trip across the bumps is now gone, though the track remains very narrow at the exit.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

Turn 18 has caught out a lot of drivers
Singapore had another one of its minor makeovers last year. The next section of track was reconfigured, taking drivers across the other side of the Andersen Bridge to what was used previously. The result is a straighter run towards a sharp left-hand hairpin.

“It’s pretty tricky going under the bridge,” explains Grosjean. “There’s a bit of a bump, tricky braking at the end before that left hairpin. On the back straight it’s important to get good traction.”

The revised corner didn’t produce much notable action last year, except for when an inebriated spectator wandered onto the track nearby, bringing out the Safety Car.

The right-angled turns come thick and fast in the final section of the lap. At turn 18 the track swerves beneath a spectator enclosure and the barrier on the right has caught out many drivers in the past. After turn 21 – “lots of inside kerb”, notes Grosjean – the drivers end the lap with two of the circuit’s few quick corners.

Over to you

Is Singapore one of F1’s better street circuits? What do you like about this race? And have you ever been to it?

Have your say in the comments.

2016 Singapore Grand Prix

Browse all 2016 Singapore Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

23 comments on “2016 Singapore Grand Prix track preview”

  1. Force India has a chance to beat Williams here in Singapore, with Mclaren might be lurking around.

  2. Willem Cecchi (@)
    14th September 2016, 13:55

    The drivers are going to be put through their paces with the new cars in 2017.

    1. The drivers are going to be put through the procession with the new cars in 2017.
      (Fixed that for you)

      1. Guybrush Threepwood
        14th September 2016, 19:27

        And how is this different to 2016?

    2. Wont improve racing

  3. Singapore is not one of my favorite races in the season. It comes at an odd time here in the USA and it has never produced great racing. I don’t get why it’s considered a bright jewel on the schedule

    1. The times in the US time zones are the same as with the European races (5 am PT, 6 am MT, 7 am CT, and 8 am ET), so it isn’t any different with this race in that regard.

    2. Try watching F1 in Australia. Middle of the night every race pretty much

  4. I think the brevity of the article alone indicates Keith’s lack of interest in the place. If not the tone of the first paragraph confirms it.

  5. I’d love to see another change to the circuit which would improve overtaking – lengthening the back straight (Raffles Boluevard) after the kink of turn 6. So Turn 7 (90deg left hander) would be moved one block down past the memorial. Then it would re-join the current circuit with a right-left chicane and onto the straight that ends with the Singapore Sling. Maybe the speeds would be too high a the end of the straight? Pfft!

  6. Not one of my favourite tracks, i have to say. I still think that the section in front of the waterside grandstand (17 and 18?) where the track goes under the stand is a complete waste of opportunity. The track should have continued straight on at the back of the grandstand and given us a proper overtaking opportunity at the ninety degree turn 21 (I think).
    Too many right-angle turns, and too much ‘point and squirt’.

    1. It’s not possible to go straight on from turn 18, drivers would be crashing into a staircase coming from the Helix Bridge otherwise. I don’t think your idea would create an overtaking opportunity at the final two corners either, there’s not enough deceleration on the entry and it’s too tight, drivers can only really follow through there.

      I also like how turn 18 catches out drivers every year, it looks innocent but is actually very easy to get wrong.

      1. Ooh. Didn’t know about the staircases, I couldn’t see them on the Google maps images. Have you been there?
        But I’m sure you agree Haribo, that there are just too many 90 degree corners.

        1. Yes I’ve been there. The bridge ends roughly around the run-off area at turn 18 and there some stairs that take you down to the track if I remember correctly, definitely no chance of the cars going straight on. It’s pretty cool to check out the permanent sections of the track when the race is not on, definitely worth seeing if you ever have an opportunity.

          I just look at the 90 degrees as part of the slow, long and inelegant nature of the circuit, which improves it’s appeal to me. Whenever drivers have complained about the circuit, I’ve loved it even more, I hope we’ve seen the last of the changes made to it.

  7. I agree that the track is somewhat repetitive, and doesn’t always produce amazing racing, but I do like the fact that this race is basically like an endurance race, as opposed to Italy which has more of a sprint race feel to it.

    It’s one of the better completely new additions to the calendar in recent years, but saying that isn’t exactly much of a compliment.

  8. Many of the recent circuits introduced into the sport have really struggled to find their own identity, with many containing the classic combination of long straights entering slow chicanes or hairpins, along with fast and twisty sections attempting to recreate the likes of Becketts and Turn 8. The Singapore Grand Prix on the other hand is a nasty and grueling race hiding underneath a beautiful skyline accompanied by the night sky, it is a beast that does not care for your love but does command your respect, it is the ultimate examination of the drivers’ physical conditioning and mental fortitude. With all this taken into consideration, the Singapore Grand Prix is my personal favourite.

  9. Surprised to see negative sentiments. I really like this GP, if only for the visual spectacle of a night race in the middle of the city. I like Monza for it’s history and Tifosi. But I’m going to enjoy this race more than the 6 corner track.

    1. +1 One of the most looked forward to races for me. Right up there with Monaco in terms of the spectacle. For the racing.. it is not too bad strategically.

    2. Well, let’s compare notes on Sunday evening and see if the ‘Rate the Race’ score is above average or not.
      Visual spectacle? Yes fine. Racing? Not so much.

  10. Singapore has definitely earned its place in the calendar, simply for being something different. Sure, it is a boring and repetitive tour round some landmarks, but the endurance element is what makes this an interesting race: basically we are always waiting for the safety car to appear, and it seems like it will always come and cause some drama. Even the lap itself is too long and slow: it takes the same time to lap Singapore as it takes to blast round Spa, but the latter is two kilometres longer. The race is two hours of street fighting, and it is great to see something so different to the norm.

    1. Well put.

      As others have also said, the endurance aspect, the night lights and the glamour make it quite an enjoyable GP to watch even if it doesn’t typically provide ”edge of your seat” racing. It’s like the night version of Monaco which I look forward to every year.

    2. LovelyLovelyLuffield
      15th September 2016, 7:17

      “The race is two hours of street fighting”

      I love this phrase so much.

Comments are closed.