The temporary loss of the seafront ‘float’ sequence in the final sector of the Marina Bay circuit should improve racing, drivers feel.
In place of the double chicane, which saw the track run alongside and then under a grandstand, the circuit now runs directly from turn 15 to chicane which previously formed turns 20 and 21 before the pit entrance. The new section should be one of the longest full-throttle stretches of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, but will be the only one without a DRS zone along it.
Mercedes’ George Russell thinks the new-look circuit should improve on-track action during the Singapore Grand Prix.
“I think it’s going to make the racing a bit more exciting,” Russell said.
“I think Singapore is a really great circuit to drive, but it’s a little bit challenging to race on. Historically, it’s only really been turn five which has been an overtaking opportunity, whereas now I hope maybe with the new turn 16 there’ll be another chance.”
AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda echoed Russell’s prediction of better racing but said he was surprised that the FIA have opted not to place a DRS zone along the section.
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“I think [we’ll see] more overtaking,” Tsunoda said. “I think more chances, which is good. We have a DRS zone before that so hopefully we can close the gap there with a bit of slipstream until the second-to-last corner and maybe we can overtake there.
“I’m not sure why they didn’t add a DRS zone there. In the simulator so far it’s not easy to follow with DRS. There’s a bit of a left-hand corner and a long straight in sector three where they modified. It’s kind of a blind corner, so I can get why they want to do it, but we’ll see the real track if it is a real issue to put a DRS zone or not.”
However Alpine driver Pierre Gasly feels the loss of four of Singapore’s 22 corners along the lap will take away some of the challenge of the circuit.
“Usually the more corners, the better it is for us,” he said. “So I wasn’t so keen.
“But I’ve always loved Singapore for how twisty and technical it is in a way. So it’s two chicanes which have been taken away and now one grandstand which is facing the wrong way – hopefully they didn’t sell too many tickets there – but apart from that it is still going to be very cool.”
The total track length has fallen to just under five kilometres, meaning that the total laps of the race have increased by one from 61 to 62 laps. As Singapore is often the longest race of the season, Russell believes that the total race time will be reduced as a result of the change.
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“It’ll make it slightly easier physically for us, because it was obviously the longest race of the season in terms of time duration,” Russell explained. “So I think the track will probably be nine seconds or so quicker this year – so a bit shorter on Sunday. So less fun in quali, but should be better for the race.”
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll echoed his view. “It’s a lot of fun on Saturdays, but can be a little bit dull on Sundays, so hopefully that can give us a bit more exciting racing on Sunday.”
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