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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Night Racing in Singapore

Michael Schumacher describes the method by which the drivers prepare for the night race:
The reality is that you have to work hard to stay on European time and in the right bio-rhythms, so that you can perform perfectly in the race - because it´s unusual to be competing at this time of day.
Life goes on as normal over and around the brightly lit circuit
Courtesy of Mercedes AMG Petronas
Mark Gillian, Chief Operations Engineer, Williams provides an interesting take on the problems encountered as a result of the high heat and humidity:
The circuit is extremely severe on brakes and due to the hot ambient temperatures we will be required to open the bodywork for engine cooling. Aero wise we run near the maximum down-force level and from a set-up perspective you have to be mindful of the harsh kerbs.
The night Race always throws up interesting photographs,
Barrichello in the light surrounded by darkness
Courtesy of Williams F1
McLaren provide the following Singapore "Facts" for the snippet hungry F1 audience:
  1. As the Singapore night race schedule is run to a timetable to suit European TV schedules, drivers and team members don’t readjust their body clock to the far-east time difference. They sleep from 5am until mid-afternoon – blacking out windows in their rooms
  2. The 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was the first night-time event in Formula 1 history
  3. The Marina Bay circuit which hosts the Singapore Grand Prix is one of only five anti-clockwise circuits on the Formula 1 calendar, alongside Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, Interlagos in Brazil, Istanbul Park in Turkey and the new Yeongam track in South Korea
  4. Drivers are on full throttle for less than 50 per cent of the lap in Singapore
  5. The inaugural Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 marked the debut of an electronic flag system to supplement the conventional warning flags at the marshal posts
  6. The nature of the Marina Bay street circuit is tight, twisty and very narrow in places with many first- and second-gear corners. As a result of the low average speeds, the MP4-25 will be set-up for a high aerodynamic downforce configuration
  7. The lighting system for the Marina Bay street circuit uses 1500 2000-watt projectors on 240 steel pylons, linked by 110,000 metres of power cable to 12 twin-power generators. It produces 3000 lux illumination which is four times brighter than a sports stadium
  8. Lewis’s victory in the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix was the 60th grand prix victory of the McLaren-Mercedes partnership
  9. Running in an anti-clockwise direction, the circuit crosses two bridges and travels beneath a grandstand
  10. The 5.073km Marina Bay circuit passes several famous Singapore landmarks including Saint Andrew's Cathedral, City Hall, the Supreme Court and the Esplanade Bridge
Overtaking is difficult in this Monacoesque street environment. Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering for Sauber F1 describes it in their Singapore Preview:
Singapore is a street circuit with lots of corners and short straights. Therefore overtaking is difficult, which makes qualifying particularly important.
The cars always seem to look better under the lights
Courtesy of Sauber F1
Can you believe that Pedro De La Rosa has never raced Singapore? This is his first trip, as he says in the HRT Preview:
I’ve never raced at Singapore but I know the circuit because of my simulator work as a test driver for McLaren. It’s a spectacular track and probably the toughest circuit on the brakes in the entire Championship besides being a very physically demanding race because of the heat and humidity
Keeping close to the barriers is essential to a good lap
Courtesy of HRT F1
Pirelli's preview says that a good lap means the cars will mean:
The driver tends to leave the braking as late as possible, turning in and decelerating at the same time. This subjects the tyre to both longitudinal and lateral forces at the same time, working the structure hard.
Photo: Charles Coates/LAT Photographicref
Courtesy of Pirelli