Why Has Singapore Succeeded Compared to Other Asian F1 Tracks?

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Why Has Singapore Succeeded Compared to Other Asian F1 Tracks?
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

While it’s fair to say that Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix did not throw up a classic in terms of the battle for ultimate victory, the event was once again a huge success with full crowds and an electric atmosphere making it another race to remember.

Although Sebastian Vettel’s romp to victory was somewhat predictable, the race also threw up its fair share of incident behind, with standout drives and fabulous overtakes from Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in particular.

So why does the Singapore event never fail to disappoint in comparison to its Asian rivals? Let’s look at the defining factors of its success.

 

The Timing

The timing of the Singapore Grand Prix makes it unique among all races in that it takes place at night.

1,600 light projectors lining the circuit pump out 3,180,000 watts of power to illuminate the track and its immediate surroundings, making it a truly spectacular spectacle.

It’s also a perfect start time for the European audience, which means an early Sunday afternoon viewing slot in line with the other European events and thus a healthy number of people tuning in.

The evening race slot is also welcomed by the drivers as, while still humid, they are spared the stifling daytime temperatures of, say, a New Delhi. And the seasonal problem that often plagues the Malaysian Grand Prix during monsoon time is also avoided in September, meaning the race is unaffected by weather and usually runs the full two hours.

And aside from this year’s title romp, its slot on the calendar often makes it a pivotal Grand Prix in terms of the drivers’ championship.

 

The Atmosphere

In Singapore, they certainly know how to put on a show. There is always a carnival atmosphere trackside, and the facilities for visiting fans are second to none.

Then there’s the spectacular fireworks, post-race concert and after-parties at many of Singapore’s trendy night spots to look forward to.

 

The Layout

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Singapore is one of the few circuits to run counter-clockwise and is the only to incorporate two bridges.

The circuit layout also poses a challenge to the drivers due to its bumpy nature and high percentage of 90-degree corners. Like Monaco, there are few run-off areas and drivers have to attack the course by getting very close to the wall but push too hard or lose concentration and you could end up in the barriers, as Paul di Resta discovered to his cost.

Because it’s a street circuit, there is also no shortage of excellent vantage points for the fans to spectate and get close to the action.

 

The Location

Despite being one of Asia’s most important business hubs, the country prides itself on its cleanliness and sense of order.

Its colonial history is also prevalent with St. Andrew’s Cathedral, City Hall and Supreme Court dotting the landscape. And no Singapore trip is complete without a visit to the famous Raffles Hotel to sample a Singapore Sling while shelling peanuts in the Long Bar.

 

The History

Yes, the Singapore Grand Prix is still only six years young, but it already commands an infamous place in the history books of this long sport.

Who will ever forget the inaugural race back in 2008 when Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered to deliberately crash his Renault at Turn 17 to bring out the safety car to the advantage of Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.

It’s hard to talk about the many positives of the Singapore Grand Prix without mentioning "Crashgate."

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