British Grand Prix 2016 – An Open Ending

The Union Jack flies high, and Great Britain’s Golden Boy takes the crown at home.

Silverstone circuit was blanketed by a canopy of dense grey, rain lay on its surface in fresh sheets, and the British Grand Prix was opened by a Safety Car start. The pack crept behind for the first few laps – leader Lewis Hamilton prowled with impatience, coming close to overtaking the Safety Car as it weaved around the bends. Perhaps an overtly unnecessary precaution by the FIA – Silverstone is one of those tracks that can largely be counted on to produce a wet race; with water spraying from the tail-ends and challenging the drivers finding the dry line, fans yearn for the wet to see who is able to manage the unpredictability. The rain had stopped falling, the wet tyres were itching to fulfil their purpose: to race.

And sure enough, most contenders — save the first four: Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen and Ricciardo – rushed for a set of intermediate tyres once the Safety Car was recalled. Chaos ensued in the pitlane, with many drivers almost colliding from unsafe releases and the scramble for track position. With so many getting held up in the pit lane, the main beneficiary of the pit lane scramble was Sergio Perez in his Force India, who had managed to climb from tenth on the grid to fourth after the shuffle.

As the skies cleared and the track slowly dried, drivers sought the medium tyres over the intermediates, and Vettel was the first to make the switch on lap 16. Mercedes were now facing a threat in the form of young Max Verstappen, then running in third, whose lap times had started to match that of Hamilton’s, with Rosberg falling short by one second per lap. Soon enough, Verstappen overtook Rosberg on lap 17, just as Jolyon Palmer left his pit box without a rear right tyre, for which he incurred a ten-second stop-go penalty.

Sunlight bathed the circuit, but the remnants of the showers had left behind sporadic puddles that almost claimed the likes of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and Carlos Sainz Jr as victims when they caught the water and nearly spun out of the race. It was an especially narrow miss for Alonso who managed to partially regain control and avoid the barriers as he skidded across the gravel.

No more pit stops were to be made – everyone was running to the finish on the medium tyres. By lap 24 Rosberg had started to pick up speed, sweeping purple sectors and claiming the fastest lap. The gap between him and Verstappen gradually started to narrow as both his teammate and the Dutchman lost control at the first turn of the 29th lap and ran wide onto the service road. Verstappen put up an admirable defence, but the Red Bull was no match for the power and agility of the Mercedes – Rosberg reclaimed second on lap 39.

Red Bull may have made a tactical error – it might have been worth pitting Verstappen before he was overtaken for fresh tyres to better engage the Mercedes in a fight to the finish. Verstappen would have exited the pit lane just behind his teammate Ricciardo, with Perez too far behind to pose any threat to his race. Verstappen could have easily overtaken Ricciardo on newer tyres (or well, Red Bull could have issued team orders if it came to that), and he would have been back in third place, except with tyres that were much newer and very much more competitive than what both Mercedes were carrying. Verstappen was feeling the stretch of his tyres by the time Rosberg had caught up with him – with his proximity, the state of the tyres, the remaining race distance and the superiority of the Mercedes, Red Bull should have realised much earlier on that holding Rosberg off until the end of the race was an impossible feat. They had nothing to lose, and would have at least gained the chance to challenge the Mercedes towards the end of the race.

Mercedes had come so close to nailing the perfect one-two finish when Rosberg reported a gearbox problem on lap 48. Over the radio, his engineer explicitly instructed him to “avoid seventh gear” and to “shift through it” to prevent any further damage to the car. Immediately, the stewards launched an investigation over Mercedes’ possible violation of the rule prohibiting ‘driver coaching’ – this is only permissible if instructions are given to prevent imminent failure. But Mercedes had decided to run the risk, possibly because the lack of information to Rosberg could have resulted in the German pulling out of the race altogether – in that case, what did they have to lose?

Shrouded in uncertainty, the British Grand Prix ended with a massive twist – clear skies prevailed after an overcast beginning, but with no clear conclusion. As the stewards evaluate the intent and implications of Mercedes’ radio comments to Rosberg, Hamilton awaits the verdict that could finally eliminate his teammate’s four-point advantage. But in the meantime, he can drink in the summer sun and the added sweetness of a home victory.

Canadian Grand Prix 2016 – Pit Flops

We often forget that pit stops are an important roll of the die in the game of racing – the last two races have shown us precisely that. The Canadian Grand Prix told a similar story to that of Monaco: careful and measured driving, a seemingly assured lead… Only to be dismantled by tactical errors and pit stop miscalculations.

Vettel’s start was spectacular. His Ferrari humming in P3 behind both Mercedes on the starting grid, he swiped the lead with a clean overtake from the outside curve, settling into P1 at the first turn. The two Mercedes behind him grappling for position, light contact forced Rosberg off-track into ninth place as a scuffle between Felipe Nasr in his Sauber and Kevin Magnussen’s Renault caused the former to spin off a nasty start to the race.

Vettel seemed comfortable in the lead, but Hamilton was unrelenting in pressuring the Ferrari, keeping a close eye on the German with a steady 1.5-second gap. All was well until smoke billowed from the rear of Button’s McLaren on the eleventh lap – pulling over to the side of the track as the fire was extinguished triggered the deployment of the virtual safety car. Ferrari took this opportunity to bring Vettel in for his first pit stop, assuming that the temporary restrictions would cause time to work in their favour – but the VSC was recalled as soon as Vettel entered the pit lane. Hamilton was making up time.

It was clear that unlike most others, Ferrari had planned a two-stopper for their drivers, while everyone else – Hamilton included – was targeting a one-stop strategy. The race soon became a contest of tyre management, a battle with rubber, a balancing act of pushing and pulling the car to maximise the trade-off between tyre preservation and all-out attack. Hamilton finally traded his ultra-soft tyres for softs, making them last for 45 laps until the end of the race, while Vettel opted for 26 laps on super-softs before making the switch to soft tyres for the remainder of the race, unable to close the five-second gap to Hamilton before reaching the chequered flag.

The one-stoppers prevailed. Valtteri Bottas clinched a neat third place after Verstappen, previously ahead of him, reneged on his initial one-stop strategy and pitted on lap 46. But young Verstappen held his own when faced with a charging Mercedes helmed by Rosberg, confidently and expertly defending his fourth place against the championship leader. Rosberg finally took it too far when a final surge forced the car into a spin (without contact with Verstappen), finally settling for a fifth.

With two consecutive wins, Hamilton is creeping perilously closely to Rosberg in the standings – he now remains only nine points behind his teammate. It seems that karma has reversed itself – his recent wins have been aided by bad calls from the challengers; the mistake Mercedes made a year ago in Monaco has righted itself, one year later.

The draw of racing for many is the spectacle that it provides: the sharp manoeuvres, the dizzying spins – the performance of on-track action. But once in a while it’s nice to be reminded that racing always involves risk and gamble, and how teams need to play their cards right.

The Relevance of Radical Rules

Hello fellow F1 fans!

After a year-long hiatus – since March 2015 I’ve been bogged down with a full-time internship followed by a huge move to London for university – I am back to my favourite form and subject of writing. Moving halfway across the world to pursue further education has been hectic and exciting, and now that I’ve more or less settled down, I now have more time to write about my favourite sport.

So here’s my latest article, which I have contributed to the website Enter F1, about the implications of the FIA’s constant implementation of radical (and ridiculous!) rules.


To stick to familiar tradition or to flow with the times has always been the age-old question. Formula 1 is notorious for its obsession with keeping up with the times – over the years we have seen a vast number of rule changes catering to technological advancements, the need for sustainable racing and fighting any signs of stagnation; but only recently have we seen the most radical change yet.

In February this year, the FIA announced an extensive overhaul of the qualifying format for the 2016 season in which a system of live elimination would take place during each session – a total of 16 minutes would be dedicated to Q1, during which the slowest driver would be eliminated after the first 7 minutes, followed by the elimination of the slowest driver every 1.5 minutes thereafter until the chequered flag; Q2 would last for a total of 15 minutes, during which the slowest driver would be eliminated after the sixth minute, followed by the elimination of the slowest driver every 1.5 minutes thereafter until the chequered flag; finally, in the 14 minutes of Q3, the slowest driver would be eliminated after the fifth minute, followed by the elimination of the slowest driver every 1.5 minutes, which would leave the fastest two drivers to battle it out in the remaining 1.5 minutes of qualifying.

The change saw mixed reactions from drivers, many concerned about the complexity of the new format but willing to concede if it meant spicing up the qualifying sessions. But it drew a litany of criticism from fans, incensed that the FIA had snatched away what they know and love.

The FIA is known to make rule changes in the name of “entertaining the fans”, but as we saw its debut at the Australian Grand Prix, the new system was a colossal failure, leaving fans with an empty track for the last few minutes of qualifying.

What is even more bizarre is the inability of those involved to come to a decision regarding the qualifying format for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Team bosses want to revert to the old format, but according to the F1 authorities, that is simply out of the question – the best compromise they can come up with is to stick with the elimination rules in Q1 and Q2, while reverting to the old format for Q3; but without a unanimous decision, the new elimination format stays.

Why is the FIA so hell-bent on the constant introduction of new rule changes? 2014 was in uproar when it was announced that double points would be awarded for the final race in Abu Dhabi, in a feeble attempt to sustain the audience’s interest right until the end of the season. Granted, the FIA acknowledged the profound unpopularity of the rule, and scrapped it the following year. So why, after a massive belly-flop of a qualifying session in Australia, do they keep insisting on changing the game?

The beauty of Formula 1 lies in its delicate balance of tradition and modernity – fans stay on because the sport is entrenched in more than half a century’s worth of glorious history, the lasting regality of age-old racing teams, the persistent continuity of old names still making their marks in the days of the present (think Niki Lauda on the board of Mercedes, Damon Hill as an F1 sports presenter, Martin Brundle as an F1 commentator, past winners as podium interviewers, the young sons of former champions striving to fill the shoes of their fathers). And it is beautiful that F1 will never be a sport that lags behind, or become obsolete, with the constant evolution of the increasingly sophisticated automations that fall in line with the demands of the technological world and its laws of speed, safety, sustainability. The beauty of F1 will always lie in the seamless combination of man and machine.

And that is what the focus of the sport should be: to enhance this combination, to make it stronger, to challenge its limits. Radical rule changes undermine these should-be objectives, undercutting what has become the essence of the sport. The rule changes do not reward those who are faster or more skilled; instead, they reward those who have luck on their side, giving them an unfair boost or relegation where it may not be deserved.

F1 is a rare sport that proves it can cope with the changing standards of the modern world, yet remain true to itself as a sport that has blazed an illustrious legacy. To erode that with inessential and ineffective rule changes is to violate what the sport stands for. Fans stay with F1 for years because even with a changing playing field, its principles – its rules, standards, customs – have remained unwavering. To compromise that is to drive fans further away from a sport that already faces regimental control from its governing body.

Even as a modern sport, it is tradition that breathes magic into it. Making thoughtless radical rule changes is taking a big step towards transforming F1 into something we no longer recognise. Contrary to what the FIA believes, maintaining the status quo is the best and safest way to keep its fans with the sport.

Also published on: http://www.enterf1.com/blog/qualifying-chaos-relevance-radical-rules

Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying: Shuffled Surprises

Under the incandescent lights of the Bahrain International Circuit, the Formula 1 entourage set up camp in the pit lane – mechanics crawling to tinker with the bellies of the V6-powered machines, drivers parked at the back of their garages, staring unblinkingly, engineers perched on their stools along the pit wall, feet tapping relentlessly – as a qualifying session blanketed in the colours of twilight unfurled in the fourth leg of the 2015 season. 

McLaren – who so far have dropped drastically in the F1 ranks this season, with no points to their name – prove that they are once again struggling with their developmental processes as Jenson Button made an early exit from Q1, when a technical fault forced him to retire even before his first lap was completed. Given the low expectations, their sole driver remaining on track took everyone by surprise when Fernando Alonso hauled his car out of the relegation zone and into Q2 – the first time a McLaren-Honda has qualified well enough to move beyond Q1 this season. Despite ultimately landing his car on the fourteenth grid slot, it seems that McLaren fans can afford to harbour a glimmer of hope: is McLaren’s turning point just around the corner? Are we seeing a flicker of the tenacious, unrelenting Alonso who so many times outperformed his Ferrari in past seasons? Or was this just a lucky lap?

Another stunner this session was Toro Rosso’s twenty-year-old rookie Carlos Sainz, who brought his team into Q3 and qualified in ninth position on the starting grid. Sainz has been a by-stander of sorts in the sidelines while seventeen-year-old Dutch teammate Max Verstappen enjoyed the limelight for the last few races, with stunning and unexpected performances in his debut season. Given his precise executions of skilful and calculated manoeuvres in Shanghai over drivers with years of F1 experience, it came as a surprise when Sainz instead out-qualified Verstappen in Bahrain. Regardless, it is an unarguable fact that the Toro Rosso rookies – young as they are (I am nineteen and still have not obtained a regular driving license) – will be a force to be reckoned with. 

Nico Rosberg’s disappointment with third place on the grid is salt to the wound after the fiasco that ensued following the Chinese Grand Prix. Failing to clinch the pole position – which was lost, once again, to teammate Lewis Hamilton – Rosberg suffered an added blow when he was bumped out of the front row by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, with Kimi Raikkonen and the Williams duo also hot on his tail. Hamilton remained on top of his game throughout all qualifying sessions, setting a jaw-dropping lap time of 1:32.6 in Q2, only to beat it in Q3 with a pole lap of 1:32.5. Vettel settles himself once again between the feuding Mercedes, and we wonder if we will see a fight in tomorrow’s race not unlike that of Malaysia between Hamilton and Vettel. Raikkonen also seems to be feeling increasingly comfortable with Ferrari’s new and improved model, incrementally closing the gap between himself and Vettel with every race. Hopefully, tomorrow we will see a flurry of red and silver all the way to the chequered flag, instead of a clear-cut getaway by the Arrows to the finish line. 

The cars have been shuffled – let’s see how the teams play their hands. 

Melbourne Magic – Australian Grand Prix 2015

Nestled between low hills, winding through lines of towering trees, framed by the fauna and skyline, Albert Park is a refreshing and unique location for a Grand Prix. Located in the heart of Australia, it is situated just outside of Melbourne’s city centre, encircling a lake dotted with swans and wind surfers. Last Thursday, my father and I caught a flight out of Singapore to Melbourne for one of our “F1 Groupie” trips (as we jokingly term it) – the opening race of the 2015 season, and the 30th year of the Australian Grand Prix. Armed with team merchandise aplenty, sharpie markers, cameras and a lot of enthusiasm, we headed straight to Albert Park circuit right after touching down late Friday morning.

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With two and a half days dedicated entirely to maximizing our Australian Grand Prix experience, here are some things that have made my trip to Albert Park an incredible F1 experience:

It is extremely fan-friendly.

So far, out of all the three different Grands Prix that I have attended (the other two being Singapore and Malaysia), the Australian GP has been the most outstanding in terms of catering to the fans’ needs. One thing that stood out in particular is the Melbourne Walk – a long path leading to the entrance of the Paddock that all drivers and team personnel have to walk through to get to the media centre. Barriers line one side of the Melbourne Walk, where eager fans stand behind for a chance to meet the drivers and teams, while reporters and camera crew linger on the other to catch a word or two from the F1 personalities.

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A member of staff of the Australian GP is situated at the start of the Melbourne Walk to announce the arrivals of the drivers or engineers, as well as to conduct a quick interview with them, which is simultaneously broadcasted to the spectators at the Melbourne Walk. The interviewer then encourages the driver or team personnel to walk down the path and sign autographs for or take photos with the fans – the obliging ones take up to half an hour to finish it – before entering the media centre. Waiting for everyone can take as long as three hours in total, but the fans are kept busy with the camera crew and reporters for various TV stations or websites scurrying up and down the barriers, capturing photos or video footage of the fans. It felt to me like a much larger, more inclusive Drivers Autograph Session, engaging the fans more successfully and enthusiastically than the ones I attended in Singapore and Malaysia. It is so well-organised that it felt like an event in itself. And the best part? This would take place every day for the duration of the entire F1 weekend!

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There is so much to do between the on-track sessions.

I was rather surprised at the number of activities available to spectators for the duration of the weekend – from pit stop challenges and gas pumping contests to Segway obstacle courses and extreme cycling demonstrations, there was nothing short of things to do in between the on-track F1 sessions. Each activity was located at a different part of the circuit, most of which were accessible to all the spectators.

What I enjoyed the most were the air displays put up by the Air Force – this included a sort of supersonic jet whizzing through the air at speeds higher than the speed of sound, performing loop-de-loops in the sky and rocketing upwards before diving once more. A team of fighter planes also took to the skies in synchronised formations, leaving a trail of white in their wake.

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The activities were unique and very entertaining, not just car simulators and stage acts that serve as alternatives to the support races. They were engaging and genuinely interesting to take part in, which is a huge help when you’re at the circuit from ten in the morning to six in the evening!

The atmosphere is electric.

There are two reasons for the vibrant atmosphere at Albert Park, the first being the people. I love that Australians are passionate Petrolheads and take F1 as seriously as I do, and it also helps that Daniel Ricciardo is the hometown hero. It is heartening to walk the streets surrounding Albert Park and see posters of Ricciardo put up in shop windows – there was even a restaurant that stuck Ricciardo face masks on either side of their menu! – or witness members of staff were handing out “C’mon Dan” signs at the circuit entrances. It adds an edge to the already exhilarating atmosphere: in the enthusiastic waving of the Australian flag and the eruption of cheers when Ricciardo’s Red Bull passed the grandstand, there is a palpable tonality of pride and unwavering support that is so utterly contagious.

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The lively atmosphere can also be attributed to the nature of the track location. The Australian Grand Prix is located in Albert Park—wide, open spaces, undulating grounds, the freshness of the lake. It is not far enough from the city centre to feel isolated and inaccessible, yet it is a place of its own: it breathes at a different pace, it buzzes with another rhythm. It has a vibe of its own, and the general feel of the whole event can be likened to a rock festival (except that F1 fanatics respond to a whole different sound).

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Future Australian GP-goers could use a couple of pointers from my own experience, so here are some top tips I strongly recommend if you want to get the most out of your Grand Prix experience!

  1. Dress for any kind of weather.

Someone once told me that one can experience all four seasons in a day in Melbourne, and I assure you that that is a very good description of typical Melbourne weather. The Australian sun burns, but the winds blow through your bones, and it is entirely possible for the temperature to drop a few degrees in a matter of minutes. Bring a bottle of sun block, sunglasses, a cap, a rain coat and a windbreaker. Be prepared for drastic weather changes! (However please take note: I come from the tropics. I live right next to the equator. I live ON the equator. What I experience as “drastic weather changes” may be mild for Europeans or Americans or whichever part of the world you come from, but it will be useful to be prepared anyway.)

  1. Bring a pair of binoculars.

This might depend on where you’re sitting. My ticket was for the Brabham grandstand, and the TV screen showing the broadcast was quite a distance away – the words on the screen (positions and lap times) were too small for me to see with the naked eye. I brought along a pair of binoculars on my second day, and they were a huge help.

  1. Bring a water bottle.

You really do not want to forget a water bottle – drinks at the circuit cost up to $5! If you’re not looking for any sweet carbonated drinks, be sure to bring an empty bottle to the circuit as there are water coolers which you can use to fill your bottles with. I didn’t drink enough to keep myself hydrated, and I am now stuck with cracked lips and a very sore throat. I hope this doesn’t happen to you!

  1. Explore.

Albert Park is very scenic – I’ve made this point pretty clear. The circuit is very open and perfect for taking walks by the lake. There are so many things to do around the circuit, and so many different angles to view the on-track sessions from, it’s worth wandering around and making interesting discoveries! (I found a stall selling warm jam doughnuts, which was thrilling!)

  1. Make friends!

Formula 1 is a very global sport, and it’s so exciting to hear fellow fans share their own F1 experiences. While waiting for the drivers and team personnel at the Melbourne Walk, I met a lady from South Africa who had previously attended the races in India, Brazil and Spa, and was attending the Australian Grand Prix for the first time. Pretty soon everyone in my area started talking, sharing autograph-hunting pointers and informing the rest of the fans further down the pathway of the recent arrival so that we would have time to prepare our materials. It truly is an incredible feeling, being on the same wavelength as so many others you have never met before, but all inexplicably connected through one passion. There is an understanding that passes through all, and a deep respect for each other regardless of which team the other supports, because it takes a large amount of dedication and commitment to understand and appreciate the sport.

So there you have it! One of the best weekends of my life condensed into a measly and inadequate one thousand and five hundred words. To all who are considering attending the Australian Grand Prix in the future, I say “go for it!” because I feel that it is really worth the trip. A huge thank you to the Australians for being so hospitable and accommodating – you lot are a fun bunch – and my father for always letting me live out my F1 dreams, one race at a time. I would love to hear about anyone else’s experience at the Australian Grand Prix, or feel free to add on to the tips for future race-goers.

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Here’s to a promising season ahead!

Singapore vs Sepang

Today, Lewis Hamilton stood on the top step of the podium in Malaysia (admittedly a much happier podium compared to last year’s) for the first time and Mercedes clinched their first 1-2 finish, which, I’m sure, is just one of many to come.

And I was there to witness it!

This weekend’s race was the first live experience I’ve had outside of Singapore, and during my time here I picked out a few interesting differences when comparing the live race experiences between a street circuit and a track circuit. (Heat and humidity, however, remain exactly the same.)

The Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore is located in the heart of the city and surrounded by some of Singapore’s most famous landmarks – the Parliament House, the Esplanade, the Fullerton Hotel, the Singapore Flyer to name a few – and is accessible by any mode of transport: the Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore’s train system) delivers you straight to the gates of the circuit. Woven into the Central Business District, it blends into the Singapore skyline and scorches the streets of the city. Popular shopping centres are found on the periphery of the circuit and the F1 buzz is prevalent not only within the circuit park but in the areas around it as well.

On the other hand, the Sepang International Circuit is almost in the middle of nowhere – it is over an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur city, and accessible only by car or by shuttle bus. It is found just off the highway, a stone’s throw away from the KL International Airport and the low cost terminal.

But the isolation of the Sepang Circuit, and the Malaysian GP, is in no way a negative thing.

On the contrary, I think that the Malaysian Grand Prix brings a very different and refreshing race culture compared to the Singapore Grand Prix – in Singapore, the Marina Bay circuit is just thereand it is just so convenient to attend the night race or the concerts that are held in the vicinity. To me, this dilutes (slightly) the enthusiasm and the passion of the actual F1 fans because there is a large mix of F1 die-hards and fans of the artistes performing at the Padang stage. Because of the isolation and inaccessibility of the Sepang circuit, getting to the race venue and even staying at the race venue takes a great deal of time and effort. There is little to do in the circuit itself, especially during the windows between Free Practices 1 and 2, Free Practice 3 and Qualifying, and between the Drivers Autograph Session, Drivers Parade and the race itself (I actually napped in between). In Singapore, it is so easy to leave the circuit and flee to the nearest shopping centre to escape the heat and humidity; in Malaysia, you can either drive to the airport or back home (which would be too much of a hassle) or wait it out in the heat, which most spectators did. This morning, I met 300 people who queued for the Drivers Autograph Session, which started at noon, from 9 in the morning, and stayed until the race ended at about 7pm. The eagerness and enthusiasm is extremely inspiring.

Another key difference between the two circuits is the placement of all the different activities around the circuit – in Singapore, all the food and beverage, simulators and merchandise stalls can be found all around the circuit; whereas in Malaysia, all the activities are centralised at the F1 Village. I guess both layouts have their own merits: in a centralised area, it is a lot easier finding what you need because everything is concentrated in one place, but having everything scattered around the circuit gives you the opportunity to explore the circuit, and there is a wider variety in goods and services offered as well.

Atmosphere-wise, Malaysia’s was much more subdued, though this can be attributed to the plight of MH370, but I could still feel the  F1 fervour from those who were present. I think that while the energy during the Malaysian GP is more race-driven, the atmosphere during the Singapore GP is more party-centred, especially because of the F1 Rocks concerts on all 3 nights and various other acts around the circuit. I personally have no preference between the two – both are equally revitalising and invigorating!

Personally, I embrace the differences between both circuits (I don’t know if the differences apply to street circuits and track circuits in general, do let me know otherwise) and it has given me a little more insight on how F1 works in other parts of the world. I do marvel at one distinct similarity though: there is great diversity in F1 fans – I have met not only Singaporeans or Malaysians but also British, Australians, French, Chinese, Spanish and Germans at both venues, toddlers, teenagers, adults and the elderly – it is a global sport, and the passion that runs through our blood is one and the same, and this is what I find truly remarkable.

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Drivers Parade

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A wet qualifying session!

Kimi Raikkonen climbing out of his car at Parc Ferme.

Kimi Raikkonen climbing out of his car at Parc Ferme.

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch interviews Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel on the podium.

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch interviews Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel on the podium.

(Photos are all original, I will be posting more photos I took this weekend in a separate post.)

Singapore Grand Prix 2013 Tips: Gearing Up for the Race Weekend!

The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix 2013 starts in less than 24 hours! Spending the afternoon and night in the sweltering Singapore heat with hordes of people can be both exhilarating and exhausting, so here are some packing tips to make sure you get the most out of the incoming race weekend!

1. Comfortable clothes

Singapore has an average daily temperature of about 30-31 degrees Celsius, with a very hot and very humid tropical climate. Unless you are a Paddock or Suite ticket-holder and you plan on spending many hours at the circuit, I suggest that you come dressed in a casual t-shirt (team merchandise, perhaps?) and shorts or three-quarter pants, so that you won’t melt in the tropical heat!

There are lots of activities to do around the circuit located in the different zones, and to experience as many as you can, you will need to do a lot of walking. Wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes or track shoes that won’t give you blisters or make your feet hurt so that you can comfortably check out the F1 scene.

2. Snacks

(I am not actually sure if you are allowed to bring in outside food and drink, here’s assuming you can…)

Bring a water bottle to hydrate yourself! As I’ve mentioned before, it’s hot and humid even at night so keep drinking those fluids.

The food sold at the circuit is very pricey with quite a limited range available. During last year’s qualifying Saturday I stayed at the circuit from 3pm-12am, perpetually roaming the circuit with no time to sit down and have a proper meal. What might’ve helped though, is if I had packed a bite to eat while I explored the circuit park.

3. Camera

F1 at night provides wonderful photo opportunities! Bring a DSLR camera if you have one for quality shots. A normal camera may not have a fast enough shutter speed to capture a clear image of the passing F1 car.

4. Programme

Grab a copy of the programme for the race weekend because it will be filled with lots of useful information – circuit park maps, locations of F&B, merchandise stalls, entertainment stages, gates etc., that will help greatly with navigating through the circuit park. It will also have a detailed timetable of all the various events for you to enjoy – the feeder races (GP2), concert timings and venues (The Killers, Rihanna), the timings for the free practice sessions, qualifying and race (in case you forget) and also the drivers’ parade (on Sunday)! Keep it in your pocket for reference, it will really come in handy.

5. Merchandise

Bring/buy some team merchandise with you for signing, especially if you’re a Zone 1 ticket-holder. Sometime over the race weekend you may actually get the chance to bump into some of the race personnel and get a nice photo with them or an autograph! Bring along a cap or a t-shirt and a marker and you may go home with some exclusive signed memorabilia.

6. Miscellaneous

A pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun, especially in the afternoon. Also bring along a poncho/raincoat in case we have a wet race (which will be very interesting)! 

I hope this short and simple guide will come in handy for all you race-goers. May you have a wonderful, fun-filled race weekend! And for those of you who have flown from foreign countries for the night race, I wish you a pleasant and memorable stay in Singapore (don’t forget to have a taste of the local cuisine).