September 11, 2017

Are you ready for a night time lap of discovery in the Lion City? If that sounds a bit like a holiday tour, it is in fact quite close. Jump on board with Daniil Kvyat as he guides his race car around the Marina Bay Street Circuit which hosts this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

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This event is one of the toughest on the calendar, as the Singaporean heat and humidity test the reliability of the cars and the fitness of the drivers, who will encounter temperatures in excess of 50 degrees inside the cockpit. However, all that training means they are always in top condition and they should be fine, when it comes to tackling the 61 race laps. But they will have to prepare well in the run up to Sunday night, as during the course of the actual race they might lose 3 kilos of fluid while only being able to take on board one kilo.

After Monaco, this is the slowest race of the championship and it often gets close to the maximum two hour time limit. Its stop and go characteristics and endless acceleration and braking mean the engineers have to pay particularly close attention to fuel consumption and tyre management. The cars run high downforce levels to deal with the 23 corners at Marina Bay, which means they need to carry 98 kilos of fuel to see the chequered flag. However, the inevitable arrival of the Safety Car, because of the lack of run-off areas, means that this element is not too hard to manage. What can cause a headache are the brakes and tyres. The brake pedal stays depressed for 21 seconds, almost a quarter of the lap and the transmission also comes in for a hard time, with around 57 gear changes per lap, or 3,500 to get through a race distance! As for the tyres, Pirelli is bringing its softest compounds: Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft. The endless braking and acceleration puts the tyres under heavy loads, the left rear most of all.

Probably, the majority of you will follow the Singapore Grand Prix on television. As the race is run at night in Marina Bay, the time difference means that everything runs at the traditional time back in Europe. And, in order to avoid the problems of jet lag, the drivers and team personnel all stay on European time, getting up around 2pm local time and leaving the track around 3 in the morning. It's an unusual timetable, but it is all part of what makes the Singapore event special.