F1 Singapore GP 2023: Everything you need to know
The 15th Grand Prix of the season is upon us as the Formula 1 circus heads to the twisty and daunting challenge of the Marina Bay Street circuit. Although Red Bull and Sergio Pérez took the checkered flag last time around, it won’t be plain sailing for the Austrian outfit who themselves are chasing the record books.
Can Max Verstappen get that all-elusive Singapore GP win under his belt and take the record to 11 consecutive victories in a row? Can Checo Pérez keep up his hot form? Or will the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren be up for it to challenge the Red Bulls on a track that has traditionally never suited them?
Marina Bay Circuit: History and Characteristics
The Singapore GP made its debut in 2008, with Fernando Alonso taking an unlikely win for mid-table Renault, however, it soon became apparent as to what led to his win but the Spaniard was allowed to keep his victory.
In the following years, Sebastian Vettel emerged as the driver to beat, winning a record five times–thrice with Red Bull and twice with Ferrari. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is just behind Seb with four race wins of his own while among the new generation of drivers, it is Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who seems to have a stronghold of this tight and twisty Marina Bay Street Circuit.
This year the track layout for the Singapore GP has seen some changes with multiple tight and twisty sections in the third sector removed to facilitate a longer straight. The said change is aimed at helping facilitate overtaking on a track where overtaking has proven to be a hindrance.
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Like most race weekends this season, there is rain forecasted for this week’s Singapore GP. However, the good news for teams is that there is less chance of rain during each session, but Singapore being overly hot and humid, one can never bet against the rain Gods.
During the two free practice sessions on Friday, there is about a 25% chance of rain. Chances of rain on Saturday and Sunday morning local time are high, but during qualifying and the race, the precipitation levels drop below 10%.
With temperatures around 30 to 32 degrees this weekend, expect conditions to be very clammy and humid.
Besides, the FIA technical directive that is supposed to be a clampdown on the flexible wings will come into effect this weekend.
Just like every other directive teams across the paddock will be keeping an eye on the kind of impact this has on the pecking order and different teams.
Last season, the technical directive to help with bouncing propelled Red Bull further ahead of the pack. Thus, everyone will be keeping close tabs on what this one brings.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has already claimed that if Red Bull wins the Singapore GP then it can dream of winning all races this season.
The low-speed nature of the track is somewhat mitigated by the long straights in the third sector but the track still retains most of its identity. Red Bull will surely face a stern test this weekend from teams like Ferrari and Mercedes but it remains to be seen if it will be sufficient enough to hold them back.
This season, Red Bull’s only Achilles heel has been qualifying. However, irrespective of the track layout, the team held an advantage over the rest of the field in race pace.
By that logic, the same should be the case here as Max Verstappen heads to the F1 Singapore GP as the favourite to win the race, but the Dutchman is yet to step on the top step of the podium at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Moreover, Aston Martin’s lack of pace at Monza was a bit of a disappointment for many after their impressive showing at Zandvoort, but much of that was expected.
With the Aston’s being one of those track-specific cars, this weekend’s tight and twisty track layout might suit the team once again. Thus, expect Fernando Alonso in his Aston Martin to be a contender for the podium this weekend.
When and Where to watch the Singapore GP?
For viewers in India, the Singapore GP will not be broadcast on any TV channel. One can watch the live stream of the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix only on F1 TV Pro in India.
The schedule for the Singapore GP is as follows:
Friday, September 15
Free Practice 1: 15:00–16:00 IST
Free Practice 2: 18:30–19:30 IST
Saturday, September 16
Free Practice 3: 15:00–16:00 IST
Qualifying: 18:30–19:30 IST
Sunday, September 17
Main Race: 17:30–19:30 IST
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