September is a busy month here in Singapore, with many events happening during the month. None, however, can compare to the biggest and arguably grandest event that happens not just during the month, but throughout the entire year — the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix (GP).
Every year since 2008, Singapore gets thrust into the international spotlight when they play host to Formula 1 drivers, teams, and fans from all over the world. It’s an exciting time not just for motorsport enthusiasts, as it’s more than just racing. International musical acts and celebrities also can be found here every year, and the whole event feels like one big party.
Indeed, the Singapore GP brings many people from all over to the little red dot, because of its uniqueness — it was the first-of-its-kind Formula 1-night race, and to this day it remains the only night race in Asia. Here are some interesting facts about Singapore’s biggest annual event.
The Singapore Formula 1 GP was first announced in 2008 as an agreement between the Singapore Tourism Board and Bernie Ecclestone, who was then-Chief Executive of the Formula One Group. The initial agreement was to last for five years (till 2012) though it has since been extended to last till 2021. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to the event without fail, either to catch the high-octane racing action or to enjoy the atmosphere and musical acts.
Interesting Facts About The Singapore GP
Now in 2019, the Singapore GP is in its 12th year, and it has certainly come a long way since its inception. There’s been plenty of good times, and even a little drama along the way. Here are some interesting facts you might not have known about the Singapore GP.
First Of Its Kind
The Marina Bay Street Circuit was originally designed by famous racing circuit designer Hermann Tilke, and it was the first street circuit in Asia that was designed specifically for Formula 1 races. More than that, the Singapore GP was also the inaugural night race in Formula 1 history, and it proved to be a hit with both drivers and fans. Since then, other countries have also created their own night race circuits, like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
Light It Up
As with almost any sport, visibility is extremely important — especially if you’re going around a circuit at 300 kilometres an hour. Add in the element of night, and it sounds like an accident just waiting to happen. This is why the Marina Bay Street Circuit is fitted with 1,600 custom-made lighting projectors that bathe the circuit in light and makes the streets glow. The beams of light are also specially angled so drivers won’t get blinded by them.
King Of Corners
The Marina Bay Street Circuit is exactly as the name suggests — a street track. This means regular traffic roads are used to create the circuit, instead of regular tracks that are built specifically for racing. As such, the Marina Bay circuit is stretched along Singapore’s central roads and corners, and the circuit is known for having the most number of corners than any other Formula 1 circuit. There are a total of 23 corners — 14 of these are left-hand turns, while the other 9 are right-handers.
The Longest Race
There are two types of circuits in Formula 1 — track races, and street races. Track races are held at circuits that were built specifically for racing only, and these tend to be wider and longer. On the other hand, street circuits make use of daily-use roads and are set in city streets, hence the name. These circuits are typically twisting, with many sharp corners and tight spaces that will test a driver’s abilities to the limit. In Singapore, the Marina Bay Street Circuit has many sharp turns, so that means it takes longer than any other circuit to complete a single lap. In fact, every race in Singapore has never been completed in under 1 hour and 56 minutes — making it the longest race on the Formula 1 calendar.
Not For The Faint Of Heart
If you did not realize by now, the longest race of the year is also the toughest. Many people do not realize that Formula 1 races, in general, are tough and physically demanding. Drivers have to endure speeds of up to 350 kilometres per hour while experiencing extreme gravitational forces. This is why Formula 1 drivers train like professional athletes and keep themselves in tip-top shape. Still, when you throw in the intense heat and humidity of Singapore, it becomes even more difficult. For almost two hours, drivers are subjected to sauna-like conditions within the cockpit of their cars. This causes them to perspire and lose up to 4 kilograms of water weight, and if they’re not careful, they could end up dehydrated. The Singapore GP is truly not for the faint of heart.