Marina Bay in numbers : (with 1 being the easiest, 5 being the most severe)
Internal combustion engine 2
Fuel consumption 5
Energy recovery 4
Marina Bay overview:
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations:
Singapore stands in stark contrast to the high speed tracks we have just visited. It has 23 corners, the highest number of any track on the calendar, with several hard braking points over the lap. These factors combine to bring the average speed down to around 170kph, with just 45% of the lap spent at wide open throttle.
The ICE and turbo are therefore given an easy time here. The Energy Store and MGU-K, however, are really put through their paces. Each braking event is long and hard, particularly around the ‘hotel’ section through the grandstands, where the K will be able to recover enough energy to keep the battery at a relatively high level of charge throughout the lap. In contrast, the MGU-H is used a little less as the short straights between the corners do not really offer ample time for the exhaust to develop a steady flow.
These short bursts of power naturally require good torque response and driveability but they also bring fuel consumption well up. In fact we will use the largest amount of fuel per lap over the season here and we will be right on the limit of the 100kg permitted. To put this in context, last year we used 150kg of fuel – over 30% more. Here, more than anywhere else, shows the advances we have made in efficiency.
Singapore should suit the Renault Energy F1-2014 far more than the previous two tracks. We’ve made good progress in energy recovery and management and these two elements are key to success here. We know the competition will still have an edge, but we expect to be closer here than we were at Monza. Getting a good position in qualifying, which should be possible, will set the tone for the race so the focus will be to maximize the one-lap pace and start as far forward as possible.
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Renault Energy F1-2014 Fast Facts:
Singapore has a notoriously humid climate and the water content in the air can be an oppressive 90%. Luckily, running in the evening will see the relative humidity reduce as the sun goes down. The electrical components of the PU will therefore be insulated against moisture and, in case of rain, the water will be diverted away using special ducts. Having had the experience of Belgium and Malaysia, however, we do not expect there to be any problems.
The ICE is not put under a lot of pressure over one lap so an older unit, potentially one towards the end of its life, will be used over the weekend. This will save a newer unit for the tracks where power is more crucial, namely Suzuka and Interlagos.
Any team that played its gear ratio change joker in Spa or Monza will have to live with the longer gears for the rest of the season. Having learnt how to maximise our current power unit, this may not turn be a disadvantage in Singapore, where shorter gear ratios have typically been thought to be more beneficial in optimising acceleration between turns. Better drivability and higher torque capacity could offer a better mix with long ratios.
The Marina Bay circuit has 23 corners, of which 10 are taken in third or second, giving plenty of opportunity for the MGU-K to recover energy. Corner 3 is a good example of a ‘typical’ Singapore corner. The driver brakes down from around 290kph at the end of the pit straight, shifting down the gears before a quick blip of the throttle for turn 2. He then brakes even further, shifting down to second gear for turn 3. In contrast Singapore has just two short straights: the pit straight and then the curved straight between turns five and seven, which shoots down Raffles Boulevard with its luxury hotels and boutiques. This short straight – only 700m – will see the driver touch the 300kph mark, and give the MGU-H one of the few chances to recover energy.
Fuel consumption in Singapore will be high, but engineers may be able to use less than expected if there is a safety car period, when the driver may be able to turn settings down and conserve fuel. Although every race so far held in Singapore has had a safety car, it’s by no means a given so there needs to be enough flexibility in the strategy to deal with every eventuality.