Formula One to return to Singapore

BY Vivek Max R

We’ll get to enjoy F1 cars tearing around our streets yet again from 2022 to 2028

Photo Credits: Singapore GP Pte Ltd

After two-year COVID-led hiatus, the Formula One Night Race will return to Singapore.

In a joint statement released on 27 January, Formula One, along with Singapore GP (SGP), and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) made the announcement that F1 will return to Singapore for another seven years starting from 2022 – with a difference.

According to SGP, “starting this year, STB and SGP will work together to reduce the carbon footprint of the Singapore race and foster the transition to more sustainable business models. Initiatives include switching to renewable energy sources, increasing recycling efforts and switching to sustainable materials. Formula 1 is also exploring maximising logistics and travel efficiency through process and volume optimisation and by using the least carbon intensive transport available.” It will be interesting to see how this green initiative is implemented at ground-level in and around the race event.

Since 2008, Singapore has hosted a total of 12 races, and Singapore holds the distinction of the first F1 night race in the world. Since then, other countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE have also featured variations of night races – usually starting from dusk. Singapore, however, remains the only street circuit race that is run entirely at night. This year’s Singapore F1 Grand Prix is slated to be held from 30 September to 2 October.

There is clearly much enthusiasm in the air surrounding the announcement of F1 returning to the Marina Bay Circuit. For F1 drivers, they have to negotiate the 5.063km street circuit with 23 corners and unforgiving concrete barriers for 61 laps with deft and haste.

“The track layout has some nice features, but the first sector stands out for me – especially the fast right-hand kink of Turn 6 and the braking zone of Turn 7,” recalled former F1 driver, Nico Hülkenberg, 34. ”You need a car that’s able to ride the bumps, can use the kerbs, and gives you confidence through the low and medium-speed corners,” said the German driver who raced in the 2019 Singapore F1 Grand Prix for Renault Sport F1 Team.

For seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, Singapore holds a special meaning. “This race is always a highlight of the season: a great city, which looks really spectacular under the lights with the tricky street circuit below – my favourite kind of track to drive.”

Perhaps the biggest indictment of how tough a race the Singapore F1 Grand Prix really is evidenced by the fact it has only been won by World Champions.

2008: Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2009: Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2010: Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2011: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2012: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2013: Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2014: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2015: Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
2016: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2017: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2018: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2019: Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

Excited about things to come

Work needs to begin 5 months before the event to set up the street circuit. After the race is over, it takes another two months to tear everything down again. A massive undertaking, to say the least, but one that SGP has shown itself adept at since 2008.

“The Singapore F1 race continues to be a strong focal point for tourists, global events and business meetings. We have decided to continue hosting the F1 race for another 7 years, after thoroughly evaluating the long-term benefits that a term extension could bring to Singapore. The renewal will help sustain Singapore’s reputation as a global city with a vibrant lifestyle, attracting international visitors as travel rebounds, and generating business revenue and jobs for Singaporeans,” said S Iswaran, Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations.

“We are very pleased that the night race will continue for seven more years. After more than a decade of celebrating this spectacular event on the racing calendar, we are looking forward to building on its success and working with Formula 1 as well as its partners to take the night race to greater heights,” added Ong Beng Seng of Singapore GP.

“I am delighted that Formula 1 will continue to race in Singapore for another seven years,” said Mr Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO, Formula 1, and Keith Tan, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board echoed this sentiment. “We look forward to welcoming international travellers back to Singapore in 2022 for the race, and encourage them to also explore our new and reimagined offerings.”

We at Burnpavement definitely look forward to Formula One cars tearing around our city streets whilst enthralling fans to no end later this year and for several more years ahead. Let’s hope that this time, the pandemic won’t cause any U-turns for our home street race.