12 September


2014 Singapore Grand Prix - Preview


Brackley - 12/09/2014
Round 14 of the 2014 Formula One World Championship brings us to Marina Bay for the Singapore Grand Prix, held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton
It was a good feeling to finally get back on the top step at Monza - especially after another tough start to the race. The car was just flying out there after those difficult first few laps and it was great to be able to capitalise on the pace I felt I'd had right from the beginning of the weekend. Obviously, with Nico coming second I haven't been able to close the gap too much - but there's still plenty of points to be won and I'm glad to have taken a step forwards. Despite the highs and lows, I'm still well and truly in the hunt for the Championship and that is something that gives me huge motivation for the final six races - starting in Singapore. It's a great place to begin the final flyaway phase of the season. The city is buzzing and the track is mega. It's a street circuit and I love street circuits. I won there in 2009 which was a really special experience, plus I had a podium - which should really have been a win - at the first race in 2008. My luck hasn't been great at this circuit since then but hopefully that will change next weekend.

Nico Rosberg
Even though it didn't work out quite the way I'd hoped, there were still plenty of positives to take away from Monza. Once again our Silver Arrow looked super quick compared to our rivals and hopefully we can carry that right through to the end of the season. Of course, I was disappointed to drop points to my team-mate in the Championship battle - but I still have the lead and I'm determined to hold on to it. Next up it's the Singapore Grand Prix, which is definitely one of the highlights of the year. There's an amazing atmosphere and the whole city really comes to life for the race weekend. It's just unreal - I would really recommend anybody to go there if they can as it's a fantastic experience. The circuit, the city, the atmosphere... everything! The way they basically shut down a whole place just for Formula One is incredible and it's amazing to think of all the work that must go into making it happen. I got my second ever podium here with P2 in 2008 and I generally enjoy street circuits, so I'm looking to go one better this time around.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
Italy was a fantastic way to wrap up the European phase of the season after a tough few weekends at the preceding races. It was our first one-two finish since Austria and, realistically, the results in between had not matched the high standards we set ourselves as a team. To see both drivers on the top two steps was a thoroughly deserved reward for all the hard work put in by the people at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart. Lewis produced a fantastic drive to recover from a difficult start and take a well-earned win. For Nico, it was unusual to see a few mistakes when he is usually so consistent - but he has all the mental strength required to bounce back. Away from the racing, it's been a busy week for both the team and for Formula One. On track, it has been confirmed that we will now see less radio traffic. This is a complex and controversial decision which will require a significant effort from the teams to understand how best we can work around it. The directive is not yet fully clear and there will inevitably be some controversy, so it will need further clarification as to how much the essential on-track procedures will be affected - particularly before the start of the race. Also, in the wider world of the sport, we have seen Luca di Montezemolo stand down from his position at Ferrari. Mr di Montezemolo has been an iconic figure in Formula One for many, many years and I personally wish him all the very best. Looking ahead, we now approach the final six races of the season - beginning with the spectacular Singapore Grand Prix. This is an event which the entire paddock looks forward to each year, and we fully intend to kick off the final third of the season with another top result.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
As a team we were incredibly happy with the result in Monza. It's one of the great circuits of the season and a challenging one to take a win, let alone achieve a one-two finish, so that was extremely satisfying. They were fantastic drives from both Lewis and Nico and it was a welcome return to winning ways. Singapore is a race that I'm sure the whole paddock looks forward to. It's a glamorous event with a fantastic atmosphere - to the extent that standing on the starting grid under the thousands of spotlights feels much like being on stage, waiting for the theatre to begin. It really is a unique weekend - not least because of the peculiar timings. The circuit itself could not stand as more of a contrast to Monza, with a lot of low-speed corner content. The demands on the car are still very high in terms of braking, steering and also the engine. It's also a long race - often running to the full two hour limit and frequently characterised by safety cars. It's a tricky one to manage no matter what position you might be in, with fortune playing a part depending on the nature and timing of any issues which may arise. It's always an action-packed, incident-filled race, with the nature of the track and the heat playing a role in retirements - both mechanical and by human error. We'll be aiming to steer clear of any drama and come away with another strong result as the season enters its final third.


Marina Bay Street Circuit: The Inside Line

In the Cockpit

Lewis

What's really unique about Singapore is that we stay on European time throughout the weekend - so you're waking up in the afternoon and going to bed as the sun rises. You're effectively working a night shift, so I'm sure the guys and girls who do that on a regular basis back at our factories would have no problem with it at all! But for us, it's something a bit different and it can take a day or two to adjust. We've been coming here for a few years now, though, so you get used to it.

Singapore is a really special race. The obvious difference is, of course, that it's a night race. But beyond that, it's a spectacular event in a great city. What makes this one quite tough is the heat - and particularly the humidity. As a driver, you can lose as much as a few kilos during the race, which makes it a real challenge to stay focused when you're flat out for nearly two hours. It's so important to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up, as a tiny loss of concentration can easily ruin your race.

Singapore is a really special race. The obvious difference is, of course, that it's a night race. But beyond that, it's a spectacular event in a great city. What makes this one quite tough is the heat - and particularly the humidity. As a driver, you can lose as much as a few kilos during the race, which makes it a real challenge to stay focused when you're flat out for nearly two hours. It's so important to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up, as a tiny loss of concentration can easily ruin your race.

Keeping your minimum speed as high as possible through here is really important, as you need a fast exit heading through the first DRS zone along the back straight. There's a small kink on the way through here and you need to be as smooth as you can, with the car bottoming all the way down to Turn 7. You generally brake at around the 100 metre sign for this corner, carrying lots of speed into the apex. The car is all over the place at this point - again because of the bumps.

It's hard braking again into the tight hairpin at Turn 8. At this point the tyres are really hot so getting good traction can be difficult, which makes Turn 9 even tougher. You have to be really careful and patient through here, as the exit is really tight to the wall and you can easily have an oversteer moment which could ruin your race.

Then, we're into quite a tricky part of the circuit - starting with Turn 10, where we used to have a terrible chicane but now there's quite a quick left-hander into a fast chicane at Turns 11 and 12. The track gets pretty tight here as you go over the bridge, where it's really easy to lock up the front wheels as you brake hard for the Turn 13 hairpin.

The exit from Turn 13 is crucial for a good run down the straight and into Turn 14, where there's surprisingly good grip on entry - allowing you to brake nice and late. After another short straight it's into the really technical final sector - starting with the Turn 15, 16 and 17 sequence. You're braking an turning all the way through the sweeping left-hander at Turn 15 so it's really easy to lock up, then your immediately into a right and immediate left at Turns 16 and 17.

It's easy to lose the back end through Turns 18 and 19, then you have to use the kerbs a little through the fast chicane at Turns 20 and 21 - again a very bumpy part of the track where a small oversteer moment can easily see you clip the wall. The final two corners are almost one double-apex turn, taken really fast and firing you down the start / finish straight for another lap.

Nico

From a drivers' point of view, Singapore is a really tough weekend - mainly because of the strange timings and the heat. We come to this race straight from the European stage of the season, so it's a big change and your body has to adapt quickly to get the best out of the weekend. Again, the heat and humidity is probably the main thing. You're sweating so much during every session that it's hard to stay focused and be at your best for every single lap.

As drivers, we need to do some quite specific training to be ready physically for these kinds of races. You can lose up to four litres of fluid during the race and this can be quite critical as it affects your concentration. The final part of the race is never enjoyable as everything starts to hurt. It's also one of the longest races of the year - running right up to the two hour limit almost every time.

It's not like the track itself makes this any easier either. You're constantly working at the wheel to get the car round a lap and there's not time to relax at all. It's just one corner after the other, with very few straight and the highest number of turns of any circuit we visit. That makes it really demanding physically even in normal conditions, so with the humidity in Singapore it really does become one of the toughest race weekend of the season.

Being a street circuit also means that even the smallest mistake can have big consequences, with the track so narrow and the walls so close. It's a big challenge and one that I really enjoy. Having a night race around a street circuit is something different and spectacular to watch I'm sure. Although it's dark outside, they put so many lights up around the track that it doesn't really make a difference when you're behind the wheel. It's so bright that it's almost like racing in the day time. We use special visors to block out the glare - but if anything your vision is probably even better than at a normal daytime race. We haven't had any rain here before, though, and that could really spice things up. Not only would it be unknown territory for every driver, but visibility could be really tricky with the reflections from the lights.


On the Pit Wall

Street Circuit

Whilst there is certainly more room in which to manoeuvre the car and avoid contact with the walls than in Monaco, drivers are nonetheless running mere centimetres from the barriers in a number of places around the Marina Bay circuit. This has been allayed somewhat following a restructuring of the kerbs - particularly around the reshaped Turn 10 - however there is still very little margin for error. Similar to Monte Carlo, it is important for drivers to maximise track time during the practice sessions to build a good rhythm through the weekend. With that in mind, those who are approaching the limit in terms of engine allocation will potentially struggle. While preserving the life of a Power Unit through reduced running in practice may not have a dramatic effect at some circuits, in Singapore the drivers really do need to be putting in lap after lap with these new cars to both understand their behaviour and explore the limits. Those who are restricted in terms of running time could well find themselves compromised - and it could prove a fine line. Nobody will want to take an engine penalty in Singapore but, with engines being recycled from previous race weekends and approaching the limits of their usable window, mechanical failures may occur.

Track Surface

Sparking - where the plank of the car makes contact with the tarmac - is a frequent sight around the Singapore circuit. Not only due to the darkness, but the uneven nature of the track surface. Resurfacing work was carried out last year which did improve this - but it nonetheless remains the most extreme circuit of the year in terms of surface ripples. Contact with the ground serves only to upset the car on corner entry, so a compromise must be found for the optimal setup. Maximising the potential of the car around a lap whilst minimising the risk of errors is a tough balance to find - and all the more challenging since the removal of certain suspension tools.

Circuit Peculiarities

Unusually for most circuits, the cars cross a bridge around the Singapore circuit, which is magnetic due to the immense amount of power cabling running underneath - particularly that used to power the tram line. This creates a lot of electrical disturbance, which can cause car data systems to drop out and can even affect some car components.

Tyres

The soft and supersoft compounds have been nominated for this race - a standard allocation for the Marina Bay circuit. As proven in Monaco, this should not create any issues and a similar scenario to that of last season can therefore be expected. What is interesting about Singapore is that, when the sun sets, track temperature stabilises at ambient temperature - usually around 30 degrees at this time of year. Although this is not a particularly high figure, tyre overheating is a common occurrence. This is brought about by continuous sets of corners putting high amounts of energy through the rubber, coupled with minimal time spent travelling in a straight line to allow the surface to cool. This is another reason why downforce is crucial around Singapore - the more of it a car has, the better it will manage tyre overheating.

Safety Cars

Once again, the tight nature of the circuit increases the likelihood of incidents and also makes it difficult to clear stricken cars away when they do stop on track. As a relatively new venue on the calendar compared to, say, Melbourne, the Singapore marshals are also not quite as experienced in dealing with such scenarios. Although they do a fine job, it can take a little longer for racing to resume here than at comparable circuits. There are also not as many access points as you might find in Monaco, for example. Each of these factors can contribute to lengthy safety car periods and, as a consequence, a race which often runs right up to the two hour limit.

Upgrades

Singapore is a prime event for upgrades - standing as one of the main weekends where most teams will bring a significant update package as opposed to the smaller, more regular tweaks. With the last two low downforce circuits now out of the way in Spa and Monza, and with updates to competitors' high downforce packages having had plenty of development time, it makes sense to introduce it at the circuit that will be most sensitive to that package. Suzuka is a bit of a balancing act - but such a package can certainly then be carried through the remaining races.

Climate

Since the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix in 2008, there has not been a single wet session to date. It has come close to being so on at least once occasion - but has thus far failed to materialise. This is unlikely to change, as the weather profile in Singapore is such that rain tends to arrive during the late afternoon, which does not clash with track running time. However, this therefore presents a significant unknown factor - one that must be carefully prepared for during a calmer period rather than being dealt with in the heat of the moment should it occur. From visor choices to steering wheel screens and pit stop procedures - anything which may be able to help the driver adapt to wet running could prove crucial. It is also worth noting, once again, that temperatures tend to stay constant at around 30 degrees - both day and night. Add to that an intense humidity, and both the drivers and crew face a battle to remain in peak condition.

Offset Hours

Handling the offset schedule of Singapore in the most effective manner possible is a topic often discussed - and one that does hold some significance. There are a few schools of thought on this - the first being to tackle the change head on come race day. Then, there's the more progressive approach - making the adjustment as early as possible and staging it over a few days. Whichever philosophy is adopted, the end result is very much the same in that team members must wake at around lunch time and head home as the sun rises the next day. Although it may seem a simple transition to the outside world, the fact remains that this is fundamentally confusing to the human body - which very much operates on the principles of daylight being the time to remain awake. For everybody involved, maintaining peak performance and avoiding mistakes during hours in which the body is used to resting is not as simple as it may seem.


Anniversaries

Mercedes-Benz Heritage

16 - 17 September 1989 - 25 Years Ago:
On the penultimate weekend of the truck racing season at the Nürburgring, the first run in Class C ends in a quadruple victory, the second run in double victory for Mercedes-Benz. Thomas Hegmann in a Mercedes-Benz 1450 S takes second place in the first run and wins the second run to capture the driver's title in Class C; Mercedes-Benz finishes by securing the brand classification by a comfortable margin.

16 September 1994 - 20 Years Ago:
Béla Barényi, the architect-in-chief of passive safety in automobiles and from 1939 to 1972 a designer in the passenger car development department at Daimler-Benz, is inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan/USA, in recognition of his ground-breaking work in the development of vehicle safety.

23 September 1934 - 80 Years Ago:
At the Spanish Grand Prix in San Sebastián, the final race of the 1934 season, the Mercedes-Benz racing team gains its first one-two finish, with Luigi Fagioli finishing ahead of Rudolf Caracciola.

On-Track

2009 Singapore Grand Prix - Five Years Ago:
Lewis Hamilton takes his 25th podium finish of his Formula One career with victory at the Marina Bay Street Circuit

Spotlight

17 September 2014 - Sir Stirling Moss Turns 85
Legendary victory at Mille Miglia 1955 in Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing car with co-driver Denis Jenkinson
Successful in the 1955 Formula 1 season in the Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Silver Arrow
Today close ties with Mercedes-Benz Classic as a Brand Ambassador
Sir Stirling Moss is an exceptional motor racing talent. In the 1955 season, the Brit started out for Mercedes-Benz, racking up wins in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR in sports car races and in the Mercedes-Benz W 196 R in Formula 1.

"We would like to wish Sir Stirling Moss many happy returns on his 85th birthday. His victories in a Mercedes-Benz at the Mille Miglia and in the British Grand Prix rank among the crowning moments of the 1955 motor racing season," says Michael Bock, Director of Mercedes-Benz Classic and the Customer Center. "They are dazzling highlights in the career of the then young English racing driver." Moss notched up his first Formula 1 win in the W 196 R Silver Arrow in Aintree and along with co-driver Denis Jenkinson, at the Mille Miglia in 1955, set the best time ever achieved in the Italian 1000-mile race: 10:07:48 hours, equivalent to an average speed of 157.65 km/h.

If Stirling Moss had followed his parents' wishes, the Englishman born in London on 17 September 1929 and raised in Berkshire would not have been sitting in the silver-coloured racing car from Stuttgart in 1955, but in a lecture theatre: their son was meant to become a dentist, according to the wishes of Alfred Moss - himself one of London's leading odontologists - and his wife Aileen. Yet, Stirling dreamt of a career as a racing driver. This vision was also inspired by the respectable successes of both his parents on racing circuits in England and North America as well as in rallies and driving skills competitions.

Moss's first encounter behind the wheel of a motor car came on the family's farm when he was just six years old. He obtained his driving licence thanks to a special permit at the tender age of 15. By then, he had long decided he wanted to become a professional racing driver. In 1948, Moss bought a Cooper 500 racing car and took part in his first race in the British 500 cc formula (Formula 3). He was assisted by the German mechanic Donat Müller who was working on the farm as a prisoner of war. Moss competed in 15 races, taking the chequered flag in twelve of them. It was the lightning start to an international career.

Pioneering a professional approach to motor racing

In 1949, he was already racing in Formula 2 as a member of the British H.W.M. works team, winning the Madgwick Cup in Goodwood in a Cooper T9 on 17 September. He became British Formula 2 champion in 1949 and 1950. The 20-year-old racing driver was not only making his mark on the track: Moss was one of the first professional drivers at the time to take on a manager who would look after his engagements and fees. As such, the Briton became a pioneer in making motor racing a professional sport. In 1950, Moss took the Tourist Trophy in a privately owned Jaguar XK 120, beating even Jaguar's own works racing cars. The next year he would head up the Jaguar team.

In 1953, his manager Ken Gregory approached Alfred Neubauer, the racing director of the former Daimler-Benz AG, to ask about the possibility of taking on Moss. Neubauer had certainly heard of the Brit, but the team line-up had already been fixed for the return of Mercedes-Benz to Grand Prix racing for the 1954 season. Moss's racing successes also appeared too fresh for Mercedes-Benz to expect a string of results over an extended period.

So Moss entered Formula 1 in his own Maserati 250 F in 1954. The private team "Equipe Moss" would later become "Stirling Moss Limited". Among his triumphs in 1954 was third place in the Belgian Grand Prix. And at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Moss got into a thrilling head-to-head duel with Manuel Fangio, the top driver at Mercedes-Benz: Moss held onto the lead, 10 seconds ahead of Fangio, right up to the final twelve laps; then an oil line on the Maserati broke; the fault would put him hopelessly down the field. Fangio won, but paid Moss the ultimate tribute, declaring Moss the actual winner of the race. Despite his limited options as a private driver, Moss finished the season in equal 13th place. The English fans cheered him on throughout his victories, and a wax figure of the 25-year-old racing driver took pride of place at Madame Tussaud's waxworks museum in London.

Moss meanwhile gained a reputation for thrashing his racing cars. Yet for the Brit, the competition car was primarily a powerful tool that allowed him to cross the line as fast as possible. In the next season, this tool would bear the Mercedes star and be painted silver. The talented British racing driver had made a strong impression on Alfred Neubauer. After a series of successful test drives, in December 1954 Neubauer signed him up to the Mercedes-Benz works team for the 1955 season. Back home, Moss was heavily criticised by certain sectors for having joined a German racing team - and the most successful of the time to boot. The public's disapproval did not sway the ambitious racing driver though, and he signed up for a total of 17 races in the W 196 R Formula 1 racing car, which proved so successful in 1954, and in the new 300 SLR racing car.

Moss made his Formula 1 debut in the W 196 R at the Argentine Grand Prix on 16 January 1955 where he took the forth place together with Hans Herrmann and Karl Kling. The highlight of the season was his victory at the British Grand Prix in Aintree on 16 July, ahead of his teammate Juan Manuel Fangio. In two other Formula 1 races in 1955 (Belgian Grand Prix, Dutch Grand Prix), Moss crossed the finishing line 2nd behind Fangio and finished the season nd in the drivers' rankings.

The British racing driver was, however, truly in his element in 1955 when at the wheel of the 300 SLR racing car developed specially for this season. Mercedes-Benz was still using the W 196 R chassis fitted with the 3-litre engine from the 300 SLR (W 196 S) for the Buenos Aires Grand Prix on 30 January 1955. The 300 SLR then made its premiere at the Mille Miglia from 30 April to 1 May 1955. Moss won the 1000-mile race with his co-driver Denis Jenkinson in the best time ever set in the Mille Miglia. Moss also won the Tourist Trophy in Dundrod (Northern Ireland) and the Targa Florio in Sicily in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.

Moss brought home the World Sportscar Championship in 1955 for the Stuttgart-based brand. Yet, Mercedes-Benz withdrew from active motor racing after this successful season, and the British racing driver continued his career with other racing teams - initially at Maserati. In the ensuing years, Stirling Moss drove racing cars for teams such as Vanwall, Cooper, Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lotus and B.R.M. He consistently showed himself to be a world-class driver who notched up numerous victories and excellent finishes in Formula 1 and sports car races.

Following a serious accident in the 100 mile race in Goodwood on 30 April 1962, Moss retired from racing aged 33. At the time, the Brit could look back on his racing achievements, including 222 victories in 495 races in which he took part in no less than 84 different car models. This versatility underscores the immense prestige which the English motor racing legend enjoys as one of the best racing drivers of his day. Stirling Moss, who was knighted by the Queen in 1999, also maintained close ties with motor racing even after the end of his racing career.

Moss became involved in particular as a Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador and eyewitness of one of the most dazzling eras in motor racing history at Mercedes-Benz Classic events.


Successes of Sir Stirling Moss with Mercedes-Benz

Formula 1 season 1955 with Mercedes-Benz W 196 R
Argentine Grand Prix (Buenos Aires), 16 January 1955 - 4th place (with Hans Herrmann and Karl Kling)
Buenos Aires Grand Prix, 30 January 1955 (Formula-free race, W 196 R with 3-litre engine) - Runner-up
Belgium Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps), 5 June 1955 - Runner-up
Dutch Grand Prix (Zandvoort), 19 June 1955 - Runner-up
British Grand Prix (Aintree), 16 July 1955 - 1st place and fastest lap
Formula 1 Driver's World Championship for the 1955 season - Runner-up
Sports car races 1955 with Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S)
Mille Miglia (Italy, Brescia-Rome-Brescia), 30 April - 1 May 1955 - 1st place in overall classification
International Eifel Race (Nürburgring), 29 May 1955 - Runner-up in overall classification
Swedish Grand Prix (Kristianstad), 7 August 1955 - Runner-up in the sports car race
International Tourist Trophy (Dundrod, Northern Ireland), 17 September 1955 - 1st place in overall classification (with John Cooper Fitch)
Targa Florio (Sicily), 16 October 1955 - 1st place in overall classification (with Peter Collins)


posted at 15:28:00 on 09/12/14 by webmaster - Category: races