Road-Racing is getting sparse as series end their seasons, but F1 will still provide some action this weekend with the 2012 Formula One Singtel Singapore Grand Prix Sunday morning.
The Singapore street circuit is long and twisty with 23 turns in its 3.5-mile length setup. Besides the course giving drivers a lot of work, the hot and steamy climate is always challenging. Even though the race is held at night the heat tests both driver and car.
Singapore is totally different from the last two circuits; it is a high-downforce layout with slow corners but a couple of long straightaways. Teams will need to completely change their setups, and maybe cars which did well at Spa and Monza will find they are not on top at Singapore.
McLaren is on a roll, having won the last three Grands Prix, but Ferrari is bringing a major update package for its F2012. Red Bull has traditionally had lots of downforce, but the RB8, without a blown diffuser, hasn’t been as strong. Still Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are great car-handlers, and Webber, with a pair of Monaco wins, is certainly comfortable on street circuits. Sauber, known for being easy on the tires, might make a good showing here.
With seven races left in the season, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso remains top of the heap with 179 points, trailed by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton with 142. Kimi Raikkönen of Lotus is third by only a point at 141; Red Bull’s Vettel and Webber are next in line, Vettel with 140 and Webber with 132.
Several more drivers could mathematically win the championship, but realistically the 2012 champion will most likely come from these five.
Hamilton said the track reminded him of the Hungaroring—where he won—so he felt good about his chances.
“After winning in Hungary and Monza, I head to Singapore full of positivity and optimism that we can take the title fight to Fernando,” he told formula1.com.
“I enjoy the Marina Bay circuit in the same way that I like racing at the Hungaroring—it’s a darty track that requires you to really be on top of the car to get the best from it. It requires more finesse, though: most of the braking zones are approached at very high speed, and the walls are never far away. Factor in the heat and humidity and it’s a very challenging weekend.”
Vettel said, “Singapore is one of the highlights on the calendar, because the atmosphere of a night race is amazing. I also like it because the track is really great to race on.”
His teammate Webber agreed. “It’s a very, very challenging circuit and one that the car should work well on. We’ve been solid on street circuits this year, so that gives us some confidence that the car will be towards the sharp end again. Everyone embraces the event, but I also love the fact that we have a lot of Australians attending, especially from the West Coast as it’s an easy flight from there. That’s quite unique.”
Tickets and travel packages (for those lucky enough to be able) are available through the Formula1.com website.
The race starts at 10 p.m. local time, which is 8 a.m. Eastern, and will be televised on the Speed channel.
Blancpain, FIA GT1 at the Nürburgring
For those who really need a stronger fix of racing, the Blancpain GT series and the FIA GT1 Championship series will be racing at the Nürburgring Saturday and Sunday. These races are not televised in the U.S., but may be available on the Internet depending in where one lives and how hard one looks.Blancpain has practice and qualifying Saturday and the three-hour feature race Sunday starting at 14:30 local (12:30 GMT or 8:30 a.m. EST)
FIA GT1 will qualify at 8:10 GMT and run its qualifying race at 12:20 GMT Saturday, and its feature race Sunday at 10:45 GMT.
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