Singapore 2008: Things That Go Bump In The Dark Cause Concern

Singapore 2008: Things That Go Bump In The Dark Cause Concern

After the practice sessions yesterday many drivers voiced concern over the bumpy nature of the Singapore track. The new street circuit has a few bumps, and combined with some interesting kerbs and artificial light, the pilots spoke with race director Charlie Whiting. Fernando Alonso also spoke of some parts of the track not being as well lit as it could be, and after discussions, the Singapore organisers have made a few changes.

Tomorrow afternoon (or evening for Singapore locals) will see Formula One’s very first night race, and the drivers were in praise of the organisers for doing a very good job. However, the bumpy nature, which I witnessed prior to the pilot’s comments during the first practice yesterday, has led to concern, particular at Turn Seven and Turn Ten. Unfortunately, little can be done to address the undulations which sees the front of the cars lift cleanly of the track at times, the circuit officials have tweaked the lighting to improve the visibility for the drivers.

It is a kind of Mickey Mouse corner. I don’t know if you have seen it, but if you go and stand next to it you can almost draw a straight line for apex to apex to apex. Lewis Hamilton.

The corner is a sort of extended chicane but it is very short. The drivers, under normal circumstances could probably straight-line it, but the kerbs have cobbled-parts to try and prevent this from happening. As Lewis Hamilton went on to say…

We come up to that corner at such serious speeds that if you have brake failure and go straight on then you will be in trouble. If you hit one of those kerbs, as you saw with Heidfeld yesterday, he nearly hit the wall. Lewis Hamilton.

GPDA director Mark Webber showed understanding though, explaining that the issue of Turn Ten had been raised a year ago, but the Charlie Whiting couldn’t do much to improve the situation (for some unknown reason).

You can see Charlie got totally snookered at Turn 10, it is such an abortion at Turn 10, but he just could not do anything else. He got snookered there and to be fair Charlie brought this up with me a year ago. Mark Webber.

There were concerns over the pitlane entry and exit, and the entrance to the lane has been moved forward a little in order to improve safety. To enter the pitlane now, drivers will have to move off-line to negotiate the entrance. This gives a following driver a clear indication that the car ahead is about move away the track and slow down, allowing a chance for reactions to catch up with the eyes.

The pit entry was a bit tricky, but they have made some changes so the cars behind know that the guy in front is going to go into the pits. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that much, which is a good change. Heikki Kovalainen.

The changes have received praise from the drivers, something which all seems quite rare these days; drivers voicing concern which results in positive action taken with little disruption or delay. Maybe the FIA could learn something in this regard!?

The most impressive thing for me is what an amazing job they done have done here in Singapore to prepare the circuit. I cannot particularly fault it.

It is bumpy, it has got a lot of character, it is anti-clockwise and it not like other bog-standard circuits. It feels like we are going through the streets of a city – and it has kerbs and corners. It is a really challenging circuit.

It feels like a street circuit and I just feel for the first day of handling an F1 event, I think they did a tremendous job, so I feel everyone deserves a real pat on the back because it is really impressive. Lewis Hamilton.

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