ICYMI: The F1 #AustrianGP Edition Roundup.

Standard

The Roundup returns after a one-race break! The Austrian hills may not have come alive with the sound of (engine) music, but the Dutch contingent made sure to paint the town orange that weekend…

.

A third DRS Zone was added in a bid to help overtaking:

Test yourself with this Austrian GP quiz:

Nico Hulkenberg looks really good in a…dress?

All four F1 rookies have previously raced on this track. Which one will impress the most?

Looks like the Mercedes lineup will be unchanged for 2019…

In things you never thought you’d read again: Kimi Raikkonen back to…McLaren?!

He doesn’t want to talk about it, though…

Updated PU Elements used by drivers pre-Austrian GP:

Pierre Gasly drove a badass KTM X-Bow around the Ring in an exhibition run:

Can Daniel Ricciardo notch a (positive) record on his birthday?

Max Verstappen has a special helmet for the weekend:

FP1: Sebastian Vettel & Stoffel Vandoorne almost collided in the pitlane. Yikes.

F1 teams want even less testing for next year…

McLaren then got fined for Vandoorne’s FP1 unsafe release:

That’s a lot of Freddos.

FP2: Pierre Gasly broke his suspension after riding a kerb, causing a Red Flag.

Spotted: Bernie Ecclestone in the paddock!

Perhaps he was waiting for his backgammon buddy, Seb Vettel?

Haas were also investigated for Kevin Magnussen’s unsafe release:

In really weird things to do at the Paddock:

Udderly ridiculous.

Meanwhile, The “Charles Leclerc to Ferrari 2019” talks have gone into overdrive:

FP3: It’s now Brendon Hartley who gets caught out by the kerb

Max’s car wasn’t very cooperative:

The Universal Fave Charles Leclerc, got a 5-place grid penalty for an unauthorized gearbox change

Quali: Vettel was put under investigation after seemingly blocking Carlos Sainz on a hot lap:

Drama at Red Bull, when Max was ordered to overtake Dan to give him a tow, but refused:

Meanwhile, the McLaren pitbox line has been…angled?

Ron Dennis just shuddered at the sight of that photo.

Valtteri Bottas coolly took pole, & then celebrated with…ice cream.

Magnum and Finns: A Winning Combination.

Vettel took a 3-place grid penalty for the incident vs Sainz. Opinion among fans and experts were divided. Were the stewards robbing the fans of a fair title fight?

Raceday:

Toro Rosso had to fit a new PU on Hartley’s car, demoting him to P20 on the grid:

The Red Bull drivers don their usual lederhosens for their home race:

#Fashion.

Fernando Alonso started from the pitlane after a late front wing change:

Ex-F1 driver Ant Davidson explains the buttons on the Mercedes steering wheel:

That three-way fight at the opening lap got fans yelling. Just look at that balls-to-the-wall racing!

Nico Hulkenberg was surprisingly the first to retire, though through no fault of his own:

From poleman to nowhereman. Bottas was forced to retire after a hydraulic failure:

Misfortune also struck the birthday boy, as Ricciardo retired due to a gearbox issue:

An odd stat for birthday boys in F1:

He got a pretty snazzy birthday cake from Red Bull, if it’s any consolation:

The Move of the Day: Sebastian Vettel’s thrilling overtake on championship rival Lewis Hamilton:

Seven laps from the end, Hamilton was also forced to retire. Shocker!

The stats on Mercedes retirements:

Max Verstappen and his lion helmet roared to a win, and recreated the same podium as his 1st win in Spain:

More Max stats:

He was voted DoTD:

Safe to say the Dutch fans who turned out in droves to support Max were pleased.

Kimi Raikkonen took a solid P2, and snatched the Fastest Lap, his 1st of the 2018 season:

The Sauber boys had a good race, too. Yes, not just Leclerc, Ericsson joined in on the party as well!

Haas finally got a break, and took their best finish so far this year:

Let’s not forget Fernando Alonso’s mega pitlane to P8 drive:

Just waiting for his quote saying it’s his best career drive…

Carlos Sainz got a reprimand post-race for the incident with Esteban Ocon:

Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez got investigated for an incident involving blue flags:

Stroll got a 10 second penalty and 3 penalty points:

Fans weren’t such…fans of the virtual advertising:

There seems to be a developing bromance between Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen:

#Sax? #Vetstappen?

The new Driver standings:

And the Constructor’s:

A new record for F1:

.

How close is this Championship turning out to be?

They go again in a few days’ time, when F1 is “coming home”. Silverstone, you have a lot to live up to!

ICYMI: The F1 #AzerbaijanGP Edition Roundup.

Standard

The Azerbaijan GP is like a steak–it (the action) is either rare or well done.

With that horrible analogy out of the way, here are the talking points from a rather action-packed weekend:

Daniel Ricciardo has allegedly signed a pre-contract with Ferrari for 2019. This rumor started around the time of the Bahrain GP, and has resurfaced, this time with more…emphasis? No concrete sources have been named, so this remains a solid rumor (for now).

Red Bull have allegedly given Ricciardo until August to sign a new contract:

Ricciardo has also promised to do something very interesting if he wins the title this year:

Over to you, Sebastian and Lewis!

He also managed to squeeze in a minor lip surgery in between races. Yes, you read it right: a lip surgery.

It’s very tempting to put the blame on the infamous shoey.

Nico Hulkenberg (and Stoffel Vandoorne) got some unexpected comedy relief when they arrived at Azerbaijan…

Vandoome sounds like a comic book villain. Move over, Thanos!

Speculation spread like wildfire about that mysterious 3rd paddle on Sebastian Vettel’s steering wheel. What did he say when asked about it?

Whether or not you are a McLaren fan, try this tricky quiz to see how geeky you are when it comes to F1:

Baku’s F1 Drivers’ Wall has become quite popular/controversial, to say the least:

Those images are sort of difficult to forget. Well done, Baku.

FOM started superimposing graphics on the halo during FP1, and fans approved:

Both Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin made it into Q2 for the 1st time this season. The Battle of the Rookies is On like Donkey Kong!

Sebastian Vettel was unimpressive in both FP1 and FP2, but managed a strong FP3 and then snatched pole during Quali. And in case you’re interested, he only needs 1 more pole to complete a set of go-kart tires from Pirelli.

The Toro Rosso teammates both had a scare during quali. It could have resulted in a horrific crash but thankfully, some fantastic reflexes from Gasly prevented any accident.

Nico Hulkenberg admitted he uses (/used?) a dating app. Apparently, half the paddock is on it, too.

There really should be a dating app exclusively for motorsport personnel and fans alike. Get on it, developers!

Meanwhile, his teammate Carlos Sainz likes rap music, and already has his very own rapper name:

Raceday: Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon clashed during the 1st lap, which ended the Frenchman’s race. Ocon was definitely not happy with Kimi and had harsh words for him:

Perhaps the most shocking, and biggest controversy of the race, was when the two Red Bulls collided, effectively ending their race and steady march to a points haul.

Adrian Newey and his notebook were not impressed.

Ricciardo and Verstappen were ordered to apologize to the whole team:

Pierre Gasly was hugely unhappy with Kevin Magnussen after they tussled during the SC restart. He branded him “the most dangerous driver I’ve ever raced with”.

Gasly and Hulkenberg should form a club of Magnussen non-admirers.

Romain Grosjean was doing so well, he quietly made up tons of places and was on his way to a points finish–that was, until he crashed behind the Safety Car.

With that crash, Grosjean now holds a stat that isn’t something to be proud of:

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was on his way to his (and Mercedes’) first win of the season, until he ran over some debris from previous incidents which blew up his right rear tire and led to his retirement. He was understandably crushed, and this photo spoke volumes of his heartbreak:

(Some are even saying this photo is already a strong contender for the F1 2018 Photo of the Season.)

Bottas’ teammate, and defending Champion Lewis Hamilton then went on to take the win, but before appearing for the podium ceremonies, Lewis went to see his teammate and offered his consolations. Look at him sharing his #blessedness…

Force India’s Sergio Perez also snatched a sneaky P3, despite having had a 5-second penalty earlier in the race. This was Perez’s return to the podium after nearly 2 years.

The feel-good story of the GP: Sauber’s Charles Leclerc scored the first few points of his F1 career by finishing P6, and became a Driver of the Day as well.

The Monégasque also broke a 68-year old standing record!

Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also registered his first F1 points, thereby breaking a 42-year old standing record by a Kiwi:

The race was definitely not short on incidents. So here’s the “Reprimands! Sanctions! Penalties! No further actions!” Section:

The 2018 Azerbaijan GP summed up in a GIF:

Or, if you prefer a superquick recap, here’s the race in 60 seconds:

.
Four races in: three different winners, plenty of on-track action and off-track debates. 2018 is shaping up to be a nail-biting season!

ICYMI: The F1 #ChineseGP Edition Roundup.

Standard

Three words: What. A. Race!

However, let’s back up a bit, shall we?

.

Kimi Raikkonen proved his unparalleled popularity in China yet again:

F1 driver or rockstar? You decide.

Bonus: Here’s Kimi saying ‘I love you’ in Chinese:

This is the content you never knew you needed.

Sebastian Vettel engaged with the fans at the airport, and encouraged them to sing Happy Birthday to his trainer Antti:

Fernando Alonso opened a branch of his FA Karting School in China. It’s a pretty huge step, and hopefully will help find a future Asian F1 Champion!

Lewis Hamilton officially launched his collaboration with American Fashion Brand Tommy Hilfiger. The logo actually looks quite cool.

Following the hoopla over Dickheadgate last Bahrain GP, Lewis and Max Verstappen looked to have cleared the air. Lewis said he will be more careful now over what he says:

Former McLaren and Red Bull driver, and now C4 F1 Pundit David Coulthard will have a new book out this May, focusing on the leadership, motivation, and business aspects of F1:

Remember Pierre Gasly’s Alonso-esque “Now we can fight!” radio message to his team post-Bahrain GP? He had to explain that it was meant to give credit to Honda, after some Spanish and Alonso fans apparently sent him negative/abusive messages on social media:

Come on, now. Leave Pierre alone!

The much-anticipated F1 TV will finally launch the weekend of the Spanish GP. Want to know if you can enjoy it from your country? Check out the list below:

Would you like to know the favorite songs of the Alfa Romeo Sauber drivers, Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc? Would you like to hear them sing? Of course you do.

Speaking of things that are difficult to forget, these F1 Driver…3D Caricatures(?)/Mascots are honestly something else. I for one cannot unsee them.

During Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel snatched pole from his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, and took the new track record at Shanghai.

Ferrari also broke a long-standing drought, registering their 1st back-to-back front row lockout in 12 years!

Nico Hulkenberg seems to have an affinity with P7, judging from his last 6 grid positions…

Raceday: Mercedes gave Ferrari a dose of their own medicine via Valtteri Bottas undercutting Vettel. How do you say “Take That!” in German?

The two Toro Rossos suffer a surprise collision, with Brendon Hartley’s car coming off worse and spewing debris onto the track. Pierre Gasly promptly complained on Team Radio about his teammate closing doors…

Polesitter and erstwhile race leader Sebastian Vettel was already trying to salvage a screwed-up race, but Max Verstappen thought he can make Seb’s race worse by diving for an overtake when there wasn’t enough room. The 2 cars collided and did synchronized spinning. Ferrari fans were not amused.

Overtake of the Race goes to Ricciardo on Hamilton. Scratch that, it goes to Ricciardo vs Bottas. Actually, let’s just have ALL of Dan’s overtakes as the highlights of the race. Bold, but clean–that’s how it should be done!

Dan “I don’t seem to win boring races” Ricciardo celebrated his victory by bringing back the infamous Shoey:

Kimi actually looked mildly amused on the podium! Sadly, Dan didn’t dare offer him a Shoey.

Meanwhile, fans who expected fireworks post-race were disappointed when they saw how calm Vettel and Verstappen were while discussing their ontrack tussle:

Max has admitted that he was at fault for the incident, and that he had already apologized to Sebastian.

Expectedly, Ricciardo also won Driver of the Day. There really was no contest!

This is basically the race in a tweetshell:

.
The first three races have been mad in their own special ways–perhaps we need a nice, steady race to calm us down? Oh wait, Baku is up next…

The Alternative Guide To The 2018 F1 Grid.

Standard

.

The countdown is on. Within a few days, the F1 Circus will wreak havoc in our lives (and body clocks) yet again, and oh how we love it!

Let’s get to know the twenty drivers who will take part in this year’s championship, not by stats or scientifically-measured data (come on, surely you can easily Wikipedia them), but by the common perceptions (and misconceptions) they are known within social media*:

(*N.B. Remember to take these with a humorous grain of salt! )

Lewis Hamilton

#Blessed. Defending Champ. Menswear Ambassador of Tommy Hilfiger (i.e. He gets to rub elbows with Gigi Hadid). Resident Fashionista of F1. The British Racing Messiah. Will most likely dominate again if rivals don’t step up. Pawrent to dogs Roscoe and Coco. Shows off his abs on Instagram. Still not friends with Nico Rosberg.

Valtteri Bottas

The Other Finn. Cool as a cucumber but needs to rile Lewis up a bit. Famously and sensibly turned down a Ricciardo podium shoey. Owns a cat named Turbo. He likes Moomin, apparently? It’s been awhile since #BOTTAS took off–will we see the return of it this season?

Sebastian Vettel

The Finger. Does the Egyptian dance on the podium when he wins because of an inside joke with his kids. Demands blue flags over the radio. Names his cars after women. Ferrari AF. Yells “Grazie Ragazzi!” at the drop of a hat. Refuses to join social media. Lawnmowing gives him satisfaction. Mr. Honestly and Obviously.

Kimi Raikkonen

(Will) The Iceman (cometh?). Officially the oldest driver on the F1 grid. Still the last Ferrari Champion. Still the sentimental fave of many. Ex-Shampoo endorser. Most-followed Finnish racer on Instagram. Future owner of a karaoke bar. Sleep is Life. Sassy when he wants to be. Allergic to BS.

Daniel Ricciardo

The Honey Badger. Bearer of a smile that deserves a toothpaste endorsement. Currently in a limbo–this season will determine whether he stays with Red Bull or moves on to greener pastures. Occasionally does the infamous (and disgusting) shoey. Will sneakily nick your phone and take silly selfies. Friendly but ruthless. Game for practically anything.

Max Verstappen

The Great Dutch Hope. No titles in junior formulae or in F1 (yet), but already has grandstands named after him in various GPs. F1 Legacy Kid, but already surpassed the achievements of his opinionated (i.e. annoying) father. Likes to annoy the Ferrari drivers. Horner’s fave. Prince of Social Media Polls. Plays video games a lot.

Sergio Perez

Got caught with a facial expression that launched many memes. He used to be a McLaren driver. New dad. (Alleged) Tom Cruise doppelganger. His Mission (Impossible): To keep his highly-rated teammate behind him at all costs.

Esteban Ocon

Monsieur (O)Consistency. Has the longest name among the 2018 drivers: Try saying Esteban Jose Jean-Pierre Ocon-Khelfane 5 times in a row. Not afraid to rub his teammate the wrong way (on-track, at least). Tipped by many to get at least a podium finish this year. Likes to post gym photos and videos. Nice to fans. Eerily looks like someone famous–if you can figure out who, please let me know.

Nico Hulkenberg

The (Not Yet So) Incredible Hulk. Is this the year he finally gets a podium finish? Needs to deliver so he can shake off those unwanted F1 records. He won Le Mans, so there’s that. Occasionally puts foot in mouth with his statements on controversial issues. The Tall One. Impressive hair. Not a fan of Kevin Magnussen.

Carlos Sainz Jr.

Had Renault and Toro Rosso fighting over him. Can you blame them? Alonso fanboy. Possible heir to Alonso? He makes helmet hair look good. Lowkey fella. His (racing and hair) rivalry with Hulkenberg should be an interesting one. Not afraid to eat out alone. Dates himself because he’s worth it.

Romain Grosjean

Monsieur Snitch/Monsieur Savage–Depending on which driver he’s discussing with Charlie Whiting. Takes his GPDA role very seriously. Likes to cook in his spare time. Doesn’t crash during first laps anymore. Still has his sights set on a Ferrari drive.

Kevin Magnussen

Told Hulkenberg to suck his balls on live tv. Gives 0 f*cks about what other drivers think of him. Another F1 Legacy Kid. People forget he once got P2. New Dubai resident. Not a fan of oysters.

Fernando Alonso

The Best Driver on the Grid. Or so his fans say. This year will be his year. Another thing his fans say. Most Distinctive Eyebrows in F1. Second oldest driver on the grid. Will be unfaithful to F1 several times this season to chase an elusive motorsport victory. Sticks Kimoa decals on a lot of things. Generally a good sport about his questionable career choices. He once sat on a deck chair and turned social media batshit crazy.

Stoffel Vandoorne

Possibly has the patience of a saint. Give him a good car already! Handles Alonso like a champ. Silent waters run deep. Difficult to dislike. He may be Belgian, but he’s not a waffle fan.

Pierre Gasly

Circle game aficionado. Don’t look at his hands when he posts a photo or a video. Got denied a Super Formula title by a typhoon. Benedict Cumberbatch lookalike. Decent at bellydancing. Nicknamed his car Gasmobile. Already affectionately messing with his teammate.

Brendon Hartley

Look, a Kiwi! Super chill and laidback. Made a surprise “comeback” to F1. Again, a Kiwi: Don’t put the Aussie flag next to his name. Has an interesting hairstyle history (search his old pics on Twitter).

Lance Stroll

Grumpy Richie Rich? Didn’t pay much attention to what Felipe Massa taught him. Got one back on Jacques Villeneuve when he managed a podium in Baku last year. CBA with Twitter, stays mainly on Instagram. Couldn’t do a royal wave as well as Nico Rosberg.

Sergey Sirotkin

Not Robert Kubica. Also not a bad driver but will always have the bad rap of preventing the Kubica Comeback. Missed out on a Renault seat. Must overcome the label of Pay Driver.

Marcus Ericsson

“Why is he still here?” Not Pascal Wehrlein. Must perform well or risk being overshadowed by a rookie. His helmet design this year is retro decent, though.

Charles Leclerc

Hype! The rookie to watch out for. Self-confessed Harry Potter lookalike. Can he work magic in F1? Fave of the teenage girls and Mums alike. He’s not French, he’s Monégasque. Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari fanboy. Chronic liker of tweets.

.

.

So who among the 20 will emerge as the ultimate victor? Who will surprise and who will disappoint? Who will shatter their narratives and rewrite their stories? Only way to find out is to stay tuned (and online). Don’t get left in the dust!

Introducing The F1 Class of 2015: Game Of Thrones-style.

Standard

After I started watching the HBO Masterpiece Game of Thrones, I now categorize people into two sections:

1. People who love Game of Thrones and; 2. People who have no idea yet how much they’re going to love Game of Thrones.

The show, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s series of books titled A Song Of Ice And Fire, contains drama, sex, wars, power plays, politicking, violence, and hedonism, among others. What’s not to love? Also, doesn’t it sound a lot like the world of Formula One that we love (and hate)?

And so this season, I have decided to imagine F1 in terms of the GoT World. Shall we get to know the main characters who shall contest the Iron Throne…er, the 2015 WDC?

.

LH

House Hamilton

Led by: Lord Lewis Hamilton

Liege to the Realm of Mercedes

House words:

“Only God Can Judge Me.”

He is the current ruler who the rest will do their best to dethrone. His swagger is immeasurable. His temper flares, unpredictable. And he’s too #Blessed to care what other people think of him. Stay pressed.

.

NR

House Rosberg

Led by: Lord Nico Rosberg

Liege to the Realm of Mercedes

House words:

“The Pretty Remembers.”

Beneath that blonde gleam is steel. Valyrian steel. Don’t provoke him and make him channel his inner Lannister, this heir to the 1986 F1 WDC is both beauty and brains and he knows how to play this game pretty damn well.

.

DR

House Ricciardo

Led by: Lord Daniel Ricciardo

Liege to the Realm of Red Bull Racing

House words:

“We Do Not Frown.”

This Aussie’s biggest, and possibly most baffling weapon in his armory, is none other than his ability to maintain a smile upon his face. Do not be fooled by it and be lulled into thinking he is a racing pushover, for you just might wake up his alter ego, the honey badger.

.

DK

House Kvyat

Led by: Lord Daniil Kvyat

Liege to the Realm of Red Bull Racing

House words:

“A Russian Always Pays His Debts.”

He may be young, but you would not want to mess with this one. His teenage looks belie the ice (vodka?) in his veins, and while it is easy to dismiss him as one of those entitled, backed-by-wealth racers, he has already shown flashes of brilliance that neither money, nor political influence, can acquire.

.

SV

House Vettel

Led by: Lord Sebastian Vettel

Liege to the Realm of Ferrari

House words:

“The Finger Is Coming.”

Having been dethroned after ruling this racing kingdom for four straight years, Sebastian has switched allegiances and is now ready to take back what was once his. Can he channel his inner Targaryen and restore House Vettel’s prestige? Watch out for the Finger, it may have been down, but it’s certainly not out.

.

KR

House Raikkonen

Led by: Lord Kimi Raikkonen

Liege to the Realm of Ferrari

House words:

“Racing. Fishing. Screwing.”

Way before his now infamous quote, “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” the verbose (not) Finn has already made it known what his life priorities are (actually, that’s what he said Finns pretty much do). And who can blame him? Sounds like a life truly worth living. Carry on being you, Kimi.

.

FA

House Alonso

Led by: Lord Fernando Alonso

Liege to the Realm of McLaren-Honda

House words:

“Scheming Strong.”

There is no one more savvy on the grid when it comes to politics and psych wars than our beloved Fernando. He makes hardcore politicians and champion chess players look like amateurs compared to his tireless tactics. Could he be F1’s very own Peter Baelish, aka Littlefinger? Think you can stay one step ahead of him? He’s already plotting your downfall as you read this. So good luck. And better leave him space.

.

JB

House Button

Led by: Lord Jenson Button

Liege to the Realm of McLaren-Honda

House words:

“Get A Grip.”

Our Jenson is like a Tyrell—rich (in racing talent), popular and attractive but seemingly lacking in ruthlessness that is necessary to claim the throne in not-so-perfect conditions (i.e, not having the ideal/dominant car). His time may be running out soon so he’ll want to up the ante, lessen the groans and grind it out each race. And with a teammate like Fernando, it’s more than necessary for him to watch his back!

.

Williams F1 Driver Studio Images. January 2015. Felipe Massa. Photo: Williams F1 (Copyright Free FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) ref: Digital Image WILLIAMS JAN1240 Edit House Massa

Led by: Lord Felipe Massa

Liege to the Realm of Williams Racing

House words:

“Uncrowned. Unbent. Unbroken. For Sure.”

He was World Champion for a few precious seconds in 2008, until…he wasn’t. Still, despite a change in teams, this peppy Brazilian has not given up on that crown and is still actively contributing to the number of “For sures” in every article/press release.

.

VB

House Bottas

Led by: Lord Valtteri Bottas

Liege to the Realm of Williams Racing

House words:

“See Me Soar.”

Because he is the new Flying Finn. Get it?! Besides, we should know by now that Finns would rather show than tell.

.

NH

House Hulkenberg

Led by: Lord Nico Hulkenberg

Liege to the Realm of Sahara Force India

House words:

“As Tall As Talent.”

He stands out in the paddock for more than just his height, and yet he is still waiting for that Eureka Moment (i.e, a top team to sign him up) to arrive. Nico is like a Lord in the Vale: Well-regarded, yet often overlooked and vastly underestimated.

.

SP

House Perez

Led by: Lord Sergio Perez

Liege to the Realm of Sahara Force India

House words:

“I Don’t Know Nothing.”

People are quick to criticize Sergio when he makes on-track mistakes, but they forget that he was a podium finisher twice in his young F1 career now and has proven he can dice with the best of them.

.

MV

House Verstappen

Led by: Lord Max Verstappen

Liege to the Realm of Scuderia Toro Rosso

House words:

“The Seed Is Strong.”

Father Jos may not have set the world of F1 alight, but the son has already set the record for being the youngest-ever F1 driver in history at the age of 17. Max has been touted by pundits and insiders alike to be the 2015 Rookie to watch out for. Premature hype? Watch Lord Max prove his critics wrong.

.

CS

House Sainz

Led by: Lord Carlos Sainz Jr.

Liege to the Realm of Scuderia Toro Rosso

House words:

“Fire In (Spanish) Blood.”

He is not the offspring of the Carlos Sainz for nothing. And he has already shown that he is not scared of going wheel-to-wheel with veterans and newbies alike. Could this hombre be out to dethrone Fernando Alonso as the Great Spanish Hope? I smell a n F1 Kingslayer in training…

.

PM

House Maldonado

Led by: Lord Pastor Maldonado

Liege to the Realm of Lotus

House words:

“Ours Is The Notoriety.”

You know you’ve made it into F1 Infamy when you have your very own website dedicated to your on-track snafus: http://www.haspastormaldonadocrashedtoday.com

Nevertheless, let us not forget that this is the last driver to have won a race that is not from Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren. There is clearly talent there, but hey, good on Pastor for owning his notoriety so well that it’s only a matter of time before critics can’t use it against him anymore.

.

RG

House Grosjean

Led by: Lord Romain Grosjean

Liege to the Realm of Lotus

House words:

“Mistakes Are Wind.”

Who are you calling “1st Lap Nutcase”? Romain has surprisingly shed this infamous nickname this past couple of seasons and has emerged a calmer, more…subdued racer. But to be honest, more than a few fans are missing the ballsy Romain of old. Lets’ hope he finds that precocious balance between calm and ballsy this year and regains a valuable place in the pecking order.

.

ME

House Ericsson

Led by: Lord Marcus Ericsson

Liege to the Realm of Sauber

House words:

“Stealth Is Wealth.”

Hands up if you still remember what Ericsson achieved last season and what team he drove for. Anyone? Well, what is important is that he is still on the grid, waiting for that one chance where he can do something spectacular that will make the racing world remember his name once again.

.

FN

House Nasr

Led by: Lord Felipe Nasr

Liege to the Realm of Sauber

House words:

“It Is Known (I Am My Own Felipe).”

It is not easy to enter F1 when the name Felipe is automatically connected to Massa, but this seasoned young racer is already debunking the “there can only be one” memes out there with his early results. Can he sustain this good fortune and win the Battle of Felipes this season? Stay tuned.

.

WS

 

House Stevens

Led by: Lord Will Stevens

Liege to the Realm of Manor GP

House words:

“Now My Race Has Begun.”

After a lot of…roadblocks and difficulties, Stevens has finally made his proper F1 debut, and already had a race finish under his belt! Now the question is, until when can he extend his stay and can he do the impossible and fill the boots of Jules Bianchi?

.

RM

House Merhi

Led by: Lord Roberto Merhi

Liege to the Realm of Manor GP

House words:

“A Start Is A Start.”

His future in F1 is as unknown as Jon Snow’s parentage, but perhaps Merhi can take comfort in the adage, “Enjoy the present, for it is a gift.” Take it one race at a time, and let’s see where that leads…

.

.

Which House will win the F1 Game Of Thrones 2015?

All I know is that: All Men Must…Race.

 

 

An Open Letter to Sebastian Vettel.

Standard

Dear Sebastian,

This is going to sound weird considering that you don’t know me, but I feel like a proud…older sister*.

See, I liked you instantly the moment I laid eyes on you as a Friday Driver for BMW-Sauber in 2006. In all my years as an F1 fan, that has only happened with 2 other drivers: Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen, so you should be flattered as you’re in good, nay, excellent company. I cannot quite explain it, but there was something about you that stood out for me. When I found out that you were nicknamed “Baby Schumi” in your native Germany (let it never be said that I don’t do proper research on the drivers I like), I knew my talent-spotting instinct was golden. And when you got fined for speeding in the pitlane in that same season? Instead of rolling my eyes and tut-tutting, I laughed and thought, “This kid is going to become a World Champion.”

And boy, you sure made my 2006 prediction come true.

In massive, trailblazing style, at that. You made the then-relatively obscure, B-team Toro Rosso a fan favorite; You took the proverbial “David” that was Red Bull Racing to the top by beating the F1 “Goliaths” left, right, front and center; You raised the bar ridiculously high for F1 newbies; You took the hype surrounding your name and smashed it into pieces with pure talent; You rewrote F1 and Motorsport History Books over and over again.

But, you are not perfect. You have your flaws. You hated losing and it showed. You didn’t just beat your teammates, you crushed them. You disobeyed your team. You won so much and dominated so much (not in the ways that Max Moseley likes, though) that you “inspired” a band of ill-informed, so-called F1 fans to boo you every time you appeared on the podium. You became a polarizing F1 figure. I mean, when you get compared to Darth Vader, you know you truly have it made as a Hero/Villain hybrid.

And then that hope, that prayer at the back of my mind finally happened: You decided to join Scuderia Ferrari, a.k.a. the F1 team that I still love/support even if it keeps on breaking my heart into smithereens (masochist much). I know it wasn’t a very-well kept secret, but it was one of those things that refused to sink in with me until I saw you wear that famous red racesuit, much like what happened with Kimi Raikkonen.

Speaking of, it is still pretty much blowing my mind right now that you will finally be teammates with Kimi. Could there be any more of a kickass pairing in F1 2015? None. Zilch. Nada. So please, carry on with that unique bromance thing you have with the Kimster. I’m so looking forward to the (unintentionally) hilarious adverts, interviews and shenanigans you two will provide for us fans this year. Oh, and there’s the racing too, I suppose.

I’m trying my best to keep this funny and light-hearted, but you see, every time I look at you in the Red of Ferrari, I am somehow reminded of Michael Schumacher, and it’s making me—for lack of a better term—very emotional.

I want you to know that I am not expecting a Schumacher-type of domination from you. I am not going to expect you to be The New Ferrari Messiah. While I want to say that I will not put undue pressure on you, I know that you are more than capable of handling the harsh and unrealistic expectations of both fans and critics. You live for the pressure. You thrive on pressure. You are not a World Champion four times over for nothing. You have the talent, the heart, the dedication, the determination, the moxie, the ruthlessness, that intangible something that separates the ordinary drivers from the extraordinary ones. You are someone special and you know it.

Never ever be sorry for following your heart. The fight has not even properly started yet but I already want to thank you: Thank you for breaking out of your comfort zone. Thank you for having the balls to try to revive the wheezing Prancing Horse. Thank you for the leap of faith. Danke.

In my heart, I would like to believe that your childhood hero, your ex-ROC teammate and your beloved friend Schumi is already so, so proud of you.

Whatever happens this year and beyond, you are guaranteed my support and respect.

Best of luck and may you and your finger give them all hell!

 

P.S.

See you in Singapore later this year. There’s no way in the world I’ll be missing the Night Race with you and Kimi now representing Ferrari.

 

 

 

svsf

Sebastian Vettel and The Door of Destiny.

 

 
*I may be relatively old but I’m nowhere near the “I could be your mother” type of old.

The Bouncebackable Guide: The A-Z Of Attending The F1 Singapore Night Race.

Standard

So you want to experience the first and only night race in the Formula One Calendar? Congratulations! You’ve made a very wise decision, indeed. However, no F1 fan (whether you are a GP virgin or not) should embark on a journey unprepared. Be not afraid, for help is right here!

While I’m most certainly not an expert, I would still like to share some tips and tricks I’ve accumulated throughout my numerous years (2009-2012, 2015 ) of attending this GP. So be prepared to sacrifice an hour’s worth of your life (or just minutes, if you’re a speed-reader) if you’re serious about maximizing your F1 Night Race experience.

Ready, steady, GO!

.

A

ASK!

Let me veer away from alphabetical order for a bit just to state this very important tip: Do not be afraid to ask questions! If you know of any fellow fans (real-life or virtual) who’ve been there, then drop them a line and let them know that you need their help. F1 fans and Singaporeans (natives and residents alike) are quite helpful, so if you need help with anything, whether GP-related or not, do not hesitate to ask.

Airport

Singapore’s Changi Airport is world-famous for being one of the travelers’ most-preferred airports, and with good reason. It is well-designed, extremely clean, organized, and just 1000 shades of awesome (it has a pool, for goodness’ sake!). It will seriously make you change the way you look at airports. It takes around 30-40 minutes to get to the city from the airport, and transportation choices abound, so there really is virtually no hassle waiting for you once you touch down in Singapore.

Apps

The F1 Night Race has its very own app, specially designed to enhance and improve your GP experience. You can download it for Apple devices HERE and for Android devices HERE .

Personally, I like the app named Singapore Map by Streetdirectory because it not only helps me navigate through the city but it also provides up-to-date information on public transportation and even fare prices. You can download it for Apple devices HERE and for Android devices HERE .

.

B

Baggage

  • Pack light for your trip on-track. Just bring your essentials like your camera, mobile phone, hotel key, wallet, and the like. You’re going to be doing loads of walking so it’s not the best of ideas to bring your shopping bags with you when you enter the circuit.
  • Please make sure to read the tiny brochure included with your race ticket (or take a free circuit map outside the track) and read up in advance on what you can and cannot bring inside the track. Also, there’s a mandatory baggage search before you enter the circuit, so spare the security guys the tedium of going through your life’s belongings and shopping, okay?

Note: I have to admit, I always break this rule because I cannot seem to function without having a capacious handbag with me. However, I always make sure to make a pit stop back to my hotel to drop off all my shopping before I proceed to the track. Trust me, you will function better and enjoy more if you have 2 hands available.

Banners

Fans are allowed to bring banners or flags in support of drivers and teams, but they are not allowed to be tied/mounted on railings.

*Please contact the organizers if you plan to bring huge banners or flags, to make sure they will be allowed inside the track.

Behavior

No one is going to tell you off for making some noise, so go ahead and express your support for your fave driver/s! But, don’t get too over-excited, either. Basically, know when to cheer and know when to jeer (if you’re brave enough!). Also, there will be certain parts of the track that will be extremely crowded, mainly the passageways from one Zone to another and bridgeways/exit points, so always be nice and polite to your fellow F1 fans and mind the queues!

.

C

Clothing

Dress appropriately. It will be hot and humid in the afternoon, and after the sun sets, it can even turn a little chilly, especially in the areas close to the bay. Now is not the time to channel your inner fashionista, especially if you have walkabout tickets. Comfort is key, especially with your choice of footwear, as you will be walking on different materials and terrain and standing for several hours. Wear light and breathable shirts. Bring an extra one, if you sweat a lot. Believe me, once you’re there, you’ll thank me for this.

Commentary

Live commentary will be heard throughout the whole track (via 102FM), so even if you’re not within eyesight of a wide-screen, you’ll still be able to keep up with drivers’ positions and everything relevant that is happening on- and off-track.

*You can now buy headsets that provide commentary inside the track.

Companion/s

To go solo or to bring companions? This can be a bit of a sticky situation. For the 1st 3 years that I’ve attended this GP, I’ve brought companions with me, and while I enjoyed spending time with them, the truth is that they’re not as huge of an F1 fan as I am, so I had to take into consideration their feelings/interests. As a result, I didn’t get to 100% explore and enjoy the circuit offerings. I went alone for 2012 and 2015, and found that I quite enjoyed the experience, because I got to move around freely, quickly and was somehow “forced” to interact with fellow fans—in a good way. So yes, this is quite subjective, depends on you really on how you’d like to experience the GP weekend.

Contests

Want to win goodies or get the chance to meet your favourite drivers in person? Then vigilantly check the drivers’ and teams’ Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as their official websites on news regarding contests and promos. You can also check out the accounts of their major sponsors. Check regularly and join as many as you can! Good luck!

 .

D

Drivers’ Autograph Session

Unlike the other GPs, the autograph session for the Singapore GP operates quite differently. Yes, it does occur and is not just a myth, but from my understanding, you have to be a winner in one of their promos in order to attend this super-exclusive event. If you have already purchased tickets, check your email regularly and be on the lookout for the one promoting the contest to win tickets for this event—all you have to do is to do submit your ticket transaction number, cross your fingers and hope with all your heart that you win those much-coveted passes.

Driver-Spotting

So you’ve joined all the contests, but didn’t win any? Don’t fret, not all hope is lost. You can still see your favourite driver/s in person using several ways:

  • Refer to Contests above and then note the times and locations of their PR events. Go to the said locations and try to catch them when they arrive or when they leave.
  • F1 teams usually book the same hotels every year, so use your best sleuthing skills and again, try to catch the drivers when they’re about to leave or enter the hotel. This is a bit tricky, as I’m sure hotel personnel may become strict with fans interrupting/ambushing the drivers.
  • Work out the Gate/s nearest the hotels where the drivers stay, and try to catch them before they enter and exit the track (Hint: Check the circuit map and zoom in on the Gate near the Ritz-Carlton).
  • If your ticket allows it, wait outside the Paddock/VIP entrance in Zone 1 and try to catch the drivers there before they enter or leave. Just make sure to behave and not to be too aggressive so as not to provoke the ire of security.
  • Keep your eyes peeled! I once chanced upon then-Force India test driver Nico Hulkenberg on a taxi queue outside a shopping mall (Yes, he very politely queued up with his companions and weirdly enough, nobody else recognized him but me!). The city isn’t that big so if you know where to look, you’re bound to find members of the F1 circus!

Note: From experience, I’ve found that drivers respond better to fans who are calm and polite, so keep your emotions in check and try not to be too excited when interacting with the drivers. Oh, and don’t forget to thank them after they sign your stuff and pose for photos!

Nico Rosberg at the Puma pop-up store outside Raffles City Mall (2012 Night Race).

Jenson Button at the Tag Heuer store opening at Wisma Atria, along Orchard Road (2012 Night Race).

Hulk signing stuff for fans (2015).

.

Drivers’ Track Parade

This occurs at 18:30 on the race day, and one of the good things about the Night Race is that the drivers are given their own vintage car to ride around the track, they’re not just lumped into a single truck, so the fans will get to see each driver more. From experience, if you position yourself in one of the sparsely-populated areas (like some viewing platforms on Zones 2 and 3) during the parade, you can stay really close to the barriers, and if you’re brave enough, you can shout your fave drivers’ name as they pass by to get them to acknowledge you. I’ve done that a couple of times, and it works, honestly!

 

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher during the 2012 Night Race’s Drivers’ Track Parade.

The drivers during the 2015 parade

.

 E

Earplugs

You need them. Without question*. Don’t even attempt to be cool or hipster or macho because your eardrums will be mercilessly assaulted by the roar of the engines. I always bring my own pair, but just in case you forget, you can always pick up a pair at convenience stores for a couple of dollars or buy the “Survival Kit” on track, which consists of a pair of earplugs and a plastic poncho. Proceeds go to charity so you’re hitting 2 birds with 1 stone.

(*Now that the V8 era is over and the V6 engines rule, the roar isn’t as fierce as they once were. However, that doesn’t mean that you can forego wearing earplugs. Better safe than sorry!)

Entertainment

There’s no shortage of entertainment options around the circuit park. Go around the F1 Village and you’ll spend hours shopping, amusing yourself, or even getting to meet some like-minded petrol heads.

Check out this guy channeling his inner Ferrari driver (2015).

 .

F

Fireworks

Keep your eyes peeled for the firework show at the end of the race. They’re always spectacular and a memorable way to cap off the race and to signal the start of the all-night Sunday partying!

Flights

  • Book early! Diligently monitor the websites of your fave airlines, sign up for e-newsletters or download apps like Skyscanner to get the best deals on flights going to Singapore. The earliest I’ve booked my flights for the GP was during a seat sale on a January, but I know of some fans who’ve booked their flights as early as November of the previous year! So do your research and remember to read the fine print and the terms & conditions of your flight details, just in case you need to make necessary/emergency changes.
  • Based on personal experience, if you’re returning home on the Monday after the GP, do not book a flight earlier than 8 am local time. Leave ample time for you and your companions to enjoy everything the track has to offer before you head back to your hotel and pack everything up. Trust me, it is not fun to be speed-packing with barely an hour’s worth of sleep just to catch a very early flight the next morning!

Food and Beverage

  • Food and drinks are more expensive inside the track. That’s a fact. Bottled water, for example, are priced twice, even thrice as much as those sold in convenience stores, so my advice is to buy your water outside (each person is allowed to bring up to 500mL of bottled water inside the track) if you want to save on cash. As for food, if your ticket allows it, you can head over to the Singapore Flyer and try the different food stalls there. If you’re a Zone 4 ticket holder, exit through Gate 3 or Gate 7/8 and head over to the nearby malls to find more affordable nosh. If you’re not a heavy eater like I am, you can just bring some energy bars and/or granola bars to tide you over.
  • On raceday, there will be some areas where the race marshals will generously give away extra bottled water. Usually, they are the sparsely-populated areas in Zones 2 or 3. I’ve experienced this twice and my advice is, even if you already have some water with you, accept an extra bottle still, because believe me, you will need to rehydrate yourself during and after the race.
  • If you run out of water in a part of the track that’s far away from a beverage stand, please do not hesitate to approach a race marshal and politely ask for some bottled water.

Free Practice Sessions

FP1 is on Friday at 18:00-19:30 local time; FP2 is on later at 21:30-23:00 local time while FP3 is on Saturday at 18:00-19:30 local time. Practice sessions are a great time to move around the track to try to find the best vantage points, and also to practice and improve your photo- and video-taking skills.

 .

G

Gates

  • I’m a creature of habit, and to be honest, I’ve only ever used 3 gates in my 4 years of attending this GP: Gates 2, 3 and 7/8. Gate 2, I’ve used to exit the track after “stalking” the drivers, Gate 3 to check out the track early in the afternoon after claiming my tickets (it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Swissotel Stamford), and Gate 7/8 has always been my preferred entry/exit point, mainly because you have to go through several shopping malls to get there after you get off the City Hall train station (multitasking for the win!).
  • Study the circuit map and choose your entry/exit points in advance, to save time and effort.

Note: The organizers sometimes reassign Gate numbers, so do check the updated Circuit Map for reference.

Interior view of Gate 7.


 .

Greek Theatre

Located in Zone 2. My favorite place to: hang out in/rest my legs/have a bite to eat/update my social media sites/people-watch in-between practice/qualifying sessions. Lots of race marshals like to hang out there to rest, too.

View of the Greek Theatre.

.

H

Hawker’s Centers

Singapore is a foodie paradise, and if you want to experience the rich culinary offerings of the LionCity, then definitely go to one of the numerous hawker’s centers around the city and eat, drink and be merry! A lot of them stay open until the wee hours of the morning, so you’ll have plenty of time to get your cravings satisfied.

Heat and Humidity

Singapore is a tropical country, and you will be subjected to different levels of heat and humidity throughout the race weekend. As previously mentioned under Clothing, dress appropriately, don’t forget to put on your sun cream, and remember to constantly hydrate yourself!

Hotels/Hostels

Hotels and hostels apparently report close to 90+% occupancy rates during the race weekend, so make sure to book your accommodation early, to save on rates as well. Regularly check websites such as booking.com, agoda.com, expedia.com, etc. to get news on room sales and get the best deals. If you have a certain chain of hotel that you’re loyal to, it may be a better idea to book directly through them or their website, as they will be less strict on cancellations or rebookings. Remember that the closer the hotel is to the track, the more expensive their rates will be. However, take note that the city is not that large, so definitely don’t discount the hotels/hostels that may not necessarily be near the track, because with their very efficient transport system, I can guarantee that you won’t spend more than an hour (at worst) to get to the track and back to your hotel. Alternatively, check out the offerings at Airbnb.

.

 I

Internet

There’s no free wifi inside the track, so if you’re on a foreign service provider and don’t want to be shocked by overseas roaming charges, then I suggest you buy a prepaid SIM card from a local service provider, whether in the airport,  convenience stores, or mobile phone shops. They’re speedy, reliable, and cheap too.

.

K

Kimi Raikkonen

Finnish driver also known as the Iceman. Known to be one of the most-difficult drivers to track down during the race weekend. If you do manage to find out which hotel he is billeted in (hint: it’s usually the same one every year), then your best chance to see him up close or to get his autograph is to patiently wait outside his hotel and catch him when he goes out of the hotel to go to the track or vice-versa.

Note: He now does a lot of PR Events for Ferrari and their sponsors, so do check their social media accounts to find out how to (possibly) see the Iceman up close.

 .

L

Little India

One of the more famous tourist spots in Singapore. It’s also where the country’s only 24-hr shopping mall, Mustafa Centre, is located.

 .

M

Map

Ushers inside and outside the track will be handing out maps throughout the race weekend. Get not just one but a couple or more, so you can always refer to it, use it to fan yourself, and even use it as emergency seating when you want to rest your legs.

Merchandise

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to racing-related merchandise not just during the GP weekend but pre- and post- GP weekend as well. Official merchandise shops will be present along Orchard Road as well as in several areas inside the track. There will also be numerous pop-up stores inside and outside other major shopping malls. Prepare yourself, though—official merchandise are most certainly not cheap.

Some of the merchandise stalls inside the circuit park (2012).

One of the GP Merchandise Stores along Orchard Road (2012).

Official Singapore GP Merchandise stall (2015).

.

Miscellaneous Travel Tips

  • Do not forget to bring extra three-prong travel adaptors for your electronics.
  • Singapore, like the UK and Japan, drives on the right-hand side. Be careful when you cross the street and look both ways twice!
  • Please use the zebra crossing when you cross the street. I always see a lot of foreigners disregard them and it makes me cringe because it’s not very respectful to a country that works hard to maintain order.
  • Bring a pair of mini-binoculars if you really want to see the F1 cars/drivers up close. I have a set of folding mini-binoculars and it’s always interesting to use them when I watch the cars race as you get an extreme close-up of so many fascinating things.
  • Don’t forget to wear sunscreen! It may be a night race, but no doubt that you’ll be exploring the city during the day as well and if you’re an ‘early bird’ like me,  you’ll be arriving on-track way before the sun sets–so avoid the unsightly tan lines and possible sunburns and remember that you’ll be in the tropics. Better safe than sorry!

 

Musical Acts

Musical acts are usually announced and confirmed 3-4 months before the GP. However, 2 or 3 major acts are also usually revealed during the Early Bird Ticket Sales Phase.

.

O

Orchard Road

Singapore’s famous shopping district. If you’re a shopaholic, then you’d definitely love it. However, even if you’re not a fan of shopping, this place absolutely comes alive during the GP week, so it’s definitely worth checking out because it will be teeming with loads of interesting exhibits and activities!

 .

P

Padang Stage

This is where the major musical acts will play on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the race weekend. It’s a bit of a walk from Zone 1, so if you want to get a good place to watch the musical acts, then you’d better be prepared to channel your inner Road Runner!

Some fans who want to get prime locations for the musical concerts actually camp out in Padang early and just watch the race there via the wide screens.

Paddock

Want to satisfy your inner paparazzi? Then head to the area just outside the Paddock Entrance/Exit (if your ticket allows it) and see the who’s who of F1, motorsport and the media pass right before your eyes. Try to stay cool and be friendly to the security, so you won’t get shooed away.

Defending Champ Sebastian Vettel signs for fans outside the Paddock Entrance (2012).

7x WDC Michael Schumacher signs for fans outside the Paddock Entrance (2012).

Nico Rosberg chats with fans (2015).

.

Petrol Ed

He’s like The Stig, only he’s Singaporean and yeah, he’s the F1 Night Race’s beloved “mascot”. Try to find him around the circuit and take creative photos with him, and you might stand a chance to win some cool prizes!

 

Photography/ Photographic Equipment

  • Tripods and monopods are not allowed in the grandstands, only in the general walkabout zones.
  • I’m no expert when it comes to taking photos or videos, so it might be a good idea to ask your tech-savvy/photography buff friends for tips in advance on taking photos of high-speed objects such as F1 cars. I can confirm, however, that using my Lumix camera’s “Burst Mode” was extremely helpful whenever I took photos of the F1 cars in action. Oh, and when in doubt, just switch to video mode.

 

Podium Ceremonies

If you’re a Pit Grandstand ticket holder, then you’ll pretty much get a clear view of the post-race podium ceremonies. If you have Premier Walkabout Tickets, then get yourself to the area nearest the start straight several laps before the end of the race, because after the chequered flag is waved and all of the cars have been brought to parc ferme, the marshals will open a gate there and allow the fans to “invade” the track and watch the podium ceremonies up close. It really is worth the trek (and barrier-climbing experience), as the atmosphere there is quite incredible.

The 2012 Podium Finishers.

The 2015 Podium Finishers.

.

 Post-Race

Think the action stops at the dance of the chequered flag? Wrong! The party’s just beginning! Do the track walk, search for tyre marbles and/or crash debris, take as many photos as you can, and then head on over to the Fan Village to watch the concerts, ogle the cars at the vintage car display, channel your inner F1 driver by trying out the simulators, or what the heck, even get a motorsport-related tattoo (temporary, of course)! There are absolutely loads to do and check out so just…start walking!

PR Events

They are usually held on the Wednesday or Thursday of the GP week, all after 12 noon local time (see Time zone for explanation). If you want to see the drivers up close then diligently check the schedules for their PR events (see Social Media for helpful links).

 .

Q

Qualifying Session

This starts at 21:00 local time on the Saturday and lasts an hour. Usually, it takes a while for the stands and viewing platforms to fill up because a lot of people leave the track after the FP3 to head to the nearby malls to have dinner.

 .

R

Race Officials

Would you like to try the awesome, possibly life-changing experience of being a race official in the F1 Night Race? Then check this LINK regularly for updates on how to apply!

Restrooms

  • There are a sufficient number of restrooms around the track, but my tip is: go and use one already before the race/qualifying/practice sessions. They can become quite congested and the queues annoyingly long after the sessions, so save yourself the trouble and force yourself to use one in advance.
  • For the picky ones: If you’re in Zone 4, then you can exit through Gate 7/8 and use the restrooms in the nearby shopping malls. If you’re in Zone 1/2, then you can head over to the Singapore Flyer and use the restrooms there.

 .

S

Shopping

Singapore is an absolute shopper’s paradise! Just head over to the famous Orchard Road and you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you want more shopping choices, you can go to Bugis or even Sim Lim Square (for all your techie needs). If you want a comprehensive guide to all the shopping places, then grab a “shopping specific” map at the airport or at one of the Visitor’s Centres around the city.

Singapore Flyer

Want to have a different perspective of the race track? Then check out the Singapore Flyer and see the many facets not just of the GP but the city as well! Premier Walkabout, Zone 1 and Zone 2 Ticket Holders get to enjoy unlimited rides* throughout the race weekend, so if you want a temporary airconditioned refuge without spending a penny, then this experience is for you.

*This provision seems to change yearly, so do check with the organizers.

View from the Singapore Flyer.

.

Social Media

The Singapore GP is on Facebook and Twitter and has an official app as well. Follow them and be “in the know’ with regards contests, promos and latest developments.

Use the hashtags #F1NightRace and #SingaporeGP to share your thoughts, pics and videos, as well as to find other awesome content and insider info!

@F1NightRace – Singapore GP’s official Twitter account

@visitsingapore– Singapore Tourist Board’s official Twitter account

F1 Teams Twitter Accounts:

@redbullracing –Red Bull

@ScuderiaFerrari -Ferrari

@McLarenF1 –McLaren

@RenaultSportF1 – Renault

@MercedesAMGF1 -Mercedes

@ForceIndiaF1 –Sahara Force India

@tororosso – Toro Rosso

@HaasF1Team –Haas F1

@WilliamsRacing –Williams

@SauberF1Team –Sauber

.

Souvenir Programme

They will be sold at several areas around the circuit park, in case you want a little something to remember the GP by. Would also be very useful to have on hand in case you bump into a driver and need something for him to autograph.

Support Races

The Porsche Carrera Cup, the Ferrari Challenge Cup, and the GP2 Series also race in the Marina Bay Track the same weekend as F1, so even if you arrive at the track early, you’ll rarely see an empty/silent track.

Note: The lineup changes yearly.

Survival Kit

What—in my humble opinion—should be in your possession during raceday:

  • Race ticket
  • Circuit map (can also double as a fan)
  • Water
  • Earplugs
  • Mobile phone
  • Digital camera (+ extra battery, memory card)
  • Power bank
  • Sharpie/pen and notebook (just in case you see/encounter someone famous!)
  • Small, folding umbrella (or plastic poncho, in case of rain)
  • Some money and a credit card (although not too much, for the temptation to shop and spend may prove to be too strong to resist!)
  • Passport or a valid ID

 .

 T

Tickets

  • Race organizers have started a special Super Early Bird promo last year, which enabled fans to purchase tickets for the next night race as early as 2 months after the previous night race. If you’re extremely sure that you can make it, then this is a good deal, otherwise, you can wait until February for their regular Early Bird Ticket Sales phase which lasts until April. Check www.singaporegp.sg for further details.
  • You may also contact your local travel agents for tickets just in case you didn’t get to purchase tickets during the Early Bird Phases. I did that on the 1st year I attended the GP and I got a pretty good rate.
  • Take good care of your tickets and keep them close! You are required to present them to be scanned as you enter and leave the track. Never detach them from their lanyards and it’s actually quite a normal sight to see loads of people wearing their tickets already even while they’re out shopping and dining outside the track. (*Some shops offer discounts to race attendees so be on the lookout.)

Tiger Balm

One of the most famous Singaporean products. It can soothe and take away all the body aches and pains you are bound to experience on a race weekend, so it’s one of my must-buys in Singapore! It’s available at various convenience stores and chemists/pharmacies.

Time zone

Another thing that’s interesting about the Night Race is that although it’s in Asia and on GMT+8, teams and the media maintain the “European Time zone”, and so it is not unusual for them to start the day past noon local time and end the day way past 2 am local time. So yeah, adjust your body clock accordingly if you plan on “keeping up” with them!

Track walks

The circuit remains open to the public until the Wednesday of the GP week, so if you want to do your very own version of the track walk, you may very well do so. Usually, teams do their track walks on a Thursday, when the circuit is already closed to the public, but there are some instances when drivers and some F1 personalities do their track walks early and/or film on the track for some promo bits on a Wednesday, so keep your eyes peeled if you do decide to try your luck!

I think fans with race tickets are allowed to enter the track on Thursday, but might only be allowed on some parts of it.

Transportation

  • The Singapore MRT is the most popular way of getting around the city—and with good reason. It is fast and reliable (most of the time). There’s rarely a place within Singapore that is not within walking distance to a train station, so resist from hailing taxi cabs and use the MRT instead. Warning, though: It can get a little crowded during the GP weekend, so get to the track early. However, they extend the operating hours of the MRT up to 1:10 am during the GP weekend, so you can still party the night away without worrying about the commute home.
  • You may want to purchase the Singapore Tourist Pass, which will entitle you to unlimited train and bus rides. It comes in 1-,2- and 3- day denominations which is an excellent deal. Check out www.thesingaporetouristpass.com.sg for more details.
  • If you’re a regular Singapore visitor or if you foresee yourself returning to Singapore sometime soon, then you might want to purchase an EZ-Link card instead, as it can also be used to pay for purchases in certain convenience stores, and it is valid within 5 years of first usage and can be topped off /reloaded as needed.
  • Taxi cabs can be a bit expensive, but their drivers are honest and straightforward. Buses are also a good option. There will be massive re-routings throughout the race weekend so expect light to moderate traffic congestion in some parts of the city.

.

U

Umbrellas

It is usually not recommended to bring big umbrellas inside the track, but small, folding umbrellas are allowed just in case the heat gets too much or there’s a sudden drizzle.

Ushers and Usherettes

There will be loads of them scattered in and out of the track during the race weekend, to provide everyone with assistance whenever necessary. Don’t hesitate to approach them whenever you have questions or even if you just need to have a photo taken. They are all friendly and will be happy to help you!

The ushers saying goodbye to the racegoers (2015).

.

V

Viewing Platforms

Right. This might be a bit long. If you are a grandstand ticket holder, then you can skip this part, and if you are a Zone 4 or Premier Walkabout Ticketholder, then this section is for you:

*This section needs a massive update, but most of the info is still valid as of 2015.

Legends:

P1, P2…- Viewing Platforms

V1, V2…- Vantage Points (areas where you can stay as Walkabout Ticket holder, but without a viewing platform)

I’ve only been able to try out the Zone 4 and Premier Walkabout Tickets, and here I will talk about the viewing platforms and vantage points I’ve tested. Please refer to the slightly-modified circuit map below:

*Right-click and open in new tab/window to enlarge photo.

*Note: The modifications I made on the circuit map are for information purposes only.

**For the official and updated Circuit Map, view or download it here.

.

P1- This viewing platform near T14 is probably my most-overused one. Generally, it is best to stay in viewing platforms near corners, as cars will need to slow down as they go through, so you’ll not only get a better view of them but you’ll also have a better chance to take proper photos or videos. Interestingly, a lot of “incidents” have also occurred near this corner throughout the years, too, such as: Nick Heidfeld’s BMW crashing there in 2009, Jenson Button getting stranded in the run-off area and Heikki Kovalainen spinning there in 2010, and Sergio Perez hitting the barrier in 2011. This area gets easily crowded, so be sure to save your spots early!

View of T14 (2011).

BMW driver Nick Heidfeld walks past the viewing platform after crashing out of the 2009 Night Race.

Jenson Button’s McLaren gets stranded at the run-off area near T14 in one of the 2011 Night Race’s FPs.

.

V1- If you are a Premier Walkabout Ticket holder, you’ll pass by this area on the way to Zones 1 & 2 (from Zone 4). It is not really recommended to stay there for a long time as it is a busy passageway.

View of T20 (2012).

*As of 2015, this area has been covered to prevent pedestrian congestion.

.

P2- This viewing platform never really got crowded for the 3 days that I’ve attended last year, which I found curious because it is near Turn 21, which means it is a decent spot to take photos/videos of the cars. I recommend this spot for the Driver’s Track Parade, as you can get close to the barriers, and since there won’t be many people around, you can call out to the drivers and there’s a good chance they’ll acknowledge you.

View 1 of T21 (2012).

View 2 of T21 (2012).

View of the Drivers’ Track Parade from the platforms near T21 (2012).

View of the Drivers’ Parade near T21 (2015).

.

V2- I tried the Singapore Flyer during the Free Practice Sessions, and it is quite a different experience to watch the cars go around the circuit while you’re waaay up there. As you exit, you will get to a balcony where you’ll have a view of the T21-T22 straight, and as a bonus you’ll have a view of a widescreen as well. I stayed up there for several laps alone, since it was a practice session and not many people were using the Flyer, but I’m not sure if their personnel would allow people to stay in that balcony for long during the Qualifying Sessions and Race proper, as more people tend to use the Flyer then.

View from the Sg Flyer balcony.

View from the Sg Flyer balcony (2015).

.

P3- This viewing platform is between the T21 and T22 straight, just opposite the Singapore Flyer. I stayed there to experience seeing the cars literally zoom past me on a straight, as well as to enjoy the widescreens available for better understanding of what’s happening on-track. It’s quite difficult to take decent photos of the cars in this area, as their speed and acceleration rates are crazy!

View of the T21-T22 straight.

.

V3- This is just near T22, and here you can get a pretty good view of the pit entry.

From the viewing area near the pit entry (2015).

.

P4- This viewing platform is a good place to be at the end of the race, because you can partly see the podium ceremonies from there. If you can access this area though then might as well join the post-race track invasion for a closer look at the podium!

View of The Pit building (2012).

View from the platform opposite T23 straight (2015).

Other 2015 Additions:

You can see the back of the grid from the viewing area opposite the T23 straight (2015).

You can get a good view of the cars leaving the pitlane in the platform opposite the Start-Finish straight (2015).

From the viewing area just before T15 (2015).

View along the T14 straight (2015).

.

There you go. There are loads of viewing platforms I haven’t gotten around to trying yet, so my advice is, use the practice sessions to go around and explore—and share your tips with us afterwards, of course!

Visitor Centre

I’ve always made sure to stop by the Visitor Centre for several reasons: a. They usually give out race-related freebies; b. They have free internet stations which you can use for a maximum of 15 minutes; c. They have a wide array of maps and detailed guides categorized according to your interests (shopping, sightseeing, historical walks, etc.); and d. They offer free use of massage chairs! So make sure to stop by and check out what they have in store!

 .

W

Walking

You will be doing a lot of walking. Not just inside the circuit but outside the circuit as well. So be prepared. Don’t fret, though, as Singapore is a very walkable and very safe country.

Weather

As with most tropical countries, Singapore is hot and humid, but you can also expect some rain showers at that time of the year. Every year, weather forecasts predict some rain at some point in the race weekend, but since I do not want to experience the “wet dog look” as a spectator, I always make sure to do my “traditional anti-rain rituals” before I travel to Singapore. And what do you know, it has never failed me yet and there hasn’t been a wet Night Race in the 4 years that I’ve attended!

Widescreens

Several widescreens are available throughout the track, and again, you may refer to your trusty circuit map to locate them.

The widescreen near the T21 straight (2015).

.

X

X-Factor

The track hasn’t always delivered some exciting and nail-biting races throughout the years, but believe me when I say that the magic and atmosphere of the night race is way better experienced in person and is not always transmitted on television. The GP weekend has a certain magic that won’t leave you disappointed, I assure you!

.

Y

YOLO

A good attitude to adopt while attending this GP.  🙂

 .

Z

Zen 

Don’t stress yourself out too much—feel the moment and enjoy!

Zones

The track is divided into 4 zones, each with their own food & beverage and entertainment offerings. So study the circuit map carefully and make the most of the zone/s your ticket allows you to go to.

.

.

There you have it. I do hope that my humble, labor-of-love little guide was able to answer some of your questions regarding the Singapore GP. Please feel free to share this to all those who may be interested, and if you have further enquiries, or even additional tips, then please use the comment box below—I’d be happy to help you further improve your Night Race Experience!

.

.
(P.S. A version of this article is also published on F1 Destinations: http://f1destinations.com/a-z-guide-to-singapore-grand-prix/ )