Drivers in favour of Singapore changes

The new straight section at the Singapore F1 circuit approaching Turn 16. Image: Batchelor / XPB Images

The kink in the new straight at the Singapore F1 circuit approaching Turn 16. Image: Batchelor / XPB Images

Drivers are in favour of changes made to the Marina Bay circuit for this year’s edition of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Four corners have been removed as construction work on The Float @ Marina Bay complex begins, rendering it unsuitable for use until at least 2027.

As a result, drivers will now race flat out from the exit of the Esplanade Bridge into the chicane at the end of the lap, in the shadow of the Singapore Flyer.

It’s a change that teams predict will see as much as nine seconds slashed off the lap time, while engineers are predicting it will reduce the need for tyre management.

From the driver’s seat, it has gained support as it opens up a potential overtaking opportunity on what is a notoriously difficult circuit on which to pass.

“I think it’s going to make the races a bit more exciting,” opined George Russell on the changes.

“I think Singapore is already a great circuit to drive but it’s a little bit challenging to race on, and historically has only really been Turn 5 which has been an overtaking opportunity.

“Now, I hope maybe into the new Turn 16, there’ll be another chance.

“I think the track will probably be nine seconds or so quicker this year, so a bit shorter on Sunday but as I said less fun in quali, should be better for the race.

The run to Turn 16 includes a right-hand kink with no DRS, though there is a zone across the bridge just prior.

It’s hoped that will allow cars to close on approach to the right-hander exiting the bridge and see drivers execute the move on the run to the chicane that follows.

“Less braking, less steering, bit more relaxed,” said championship leader Verstappen of the changes.

“Will probably be a little bit less [demanding on the tyres] but I am hoping that it also helps the racing – but it will depend if we can get a DRS zone in there or not.”

It is a matter drivers have suggested they’ll raise at the drivers’ briefing, though it will not be changed this weekend.

The concept was addressed by the teams and governing body earlier this year, with safety concerns given the kink and bumps in that area.

With the absence of real-world data, it was decided not to add a DRS zone – at least this year.

“We won’t be assessing any additional DRS zones for the Singapore Grand Prix,” a statement from the FIA given to Speedcafe confirmed.

“It is something that was considered following the change in layout for this year, and the FIA contacted all of the teams several months ago to ask for their feedback and input.

“There was, however, no clear consensus from those teams that responded and, following our safety simulations, it was decided that we wouldn’t take the matter any further.”

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