Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Ten reasons Singapore is fabulous despite Flavio's best efforts // Renault may have ruined it, but the Singapore GP still rocks

Published by Christine

There have only been two Singapore GPs at the modern circuit, and both have been completely dominated by controversial escapades by Renault. I touched upon this in the recent mini series episode dedicated to the track, where once again, Renault was the only thing worth talking about. In 2008, we were both shocked and skeptical when Nelson Piquet crashed at such a convenient moment, allowing his teammate to win the race.

In 2009, the affair finally came to light and Renault were punished for meddling with the race results. By the time the Singapore race came around, we were all hoping the news would go away, but returning to the scene of the crime didn't help. It also didn't help when Grosjean spun his car at exactly the same spot - so-called Piquet corner. Simultaneously the best and worst moment of F1 in 2009.

Anyway, this year, I'm not having any of it. I've compiled a list of reasons why F1 will still be awesome at Marina Bay, once you have bleached your mind of any on-demand crashing.

1. It's a night race

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Credit: Steven Tee/LAT Photographic

Obviously. It's the only real night race, and it was the first.

Even though there is enough lighting there to make it brighter than day time, the environment is still unnatural, unnerving, and gives the drivers something to think about. From the fundamental things, such as trying to stay on European time and deciding when it's best to have breakfast, to the more important details like visor colour and avoiding the shadows, Singapore offers up a unique challenge. The ability to see a driver's eyes as he navigates the lengthy track adds an extra dimension for the viewer, as well.

2. They recognise the fans

I'll admit that I was a bit disappointed when I saw what they had chosen for their fan-decided corner names, but even going down that route in the first place gives Singapore a big thumbs up. They also pioneered the F1 Rocks concert, and whilst there has always been mixed reviews of that, it at least shows a desire to think outside the box, step up to the plate, take a helicopter view, and other such management affirmations. They're not on the rocking calendar this year, with just the two events planned so far - Italy just gone, and Brazil still to come - but I suspect Singapore will still treat it's fans and visitors exceptionally well.

3. It gets people genuinely excited

For a brand new track, this isn't something to be overlooked. When you consider the muted reactions to F1 at Bahrain, or the snoozefest that is Valencia, having a little bit of buzz about you makes a weekend something special. 5Live have not been shy about expressing their feelings:

We are all really looking forward to Singapore! Awesome venue, awesome event, awesome atmosphere and hopefully and awesome race! AWESOME!!!

5liveF1 5liveF1

Let's hope it's awesome! Singapore has the makings of being a new Monaco, and although it lacks the history, it's well on the way to becoming unforgettable.

4. It's in the midst of the city

Bernie would love to have more street circuits, and on some level, I agree with him. Rather than being in the middle of nowhere, causing awkward transportation problems, and offering up very little in the way of cover, the Marina Bay circuit is in the heart of the city. Racing on your doorstep is a great idea, as it allows far better access to drivers both when they are on and off duty. Also, it allows for people to watch from their balconies, and that gets right up Bernie's nose.

5. All sparks must burn out

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Credit: GEPA pictures/ Mathias Kniepeiss

I was hoping to be able to include the epic sparks we have seen in the two races so far. An incredibly bumpy track, plus the darker conditions of night racing, has allowed for some great bottoming out of the cars and plenty of sparks flying. Unfortunately for us, but at the request of the drivers, the track has been resurfaced to try and solve the problem. We may or may not see sparks this weekend, but I still think it should be on the list.

6. Ant is back

Fresh from a dominant win for Peugeot at the 1,000KM of Silverstone, Ant rejoins his best buddy Crofty in the 5live commentary box. Karun Chandhok filled in for him during the Italian Grand Prix, and turned out to be a walking encyclopedia of F1 knowledge - it was hard to keep up! There was a lot of debate over whether Karun was a hit or not - I know a lot of what he said went over my head, and I do prefer the banter between Ant and Crofty, but Karun has a lot of up-to-date knowledge that it will be a shame to miss out on. Still, the sooner he gets back in a car the better.

7. Jérôme gets a go at Virgin Racing

Talking of drivers getting into cars, Renault are lending out their reserve driver Jérôme D'Ambrosio to Virgin Racing for the rest of the season, with the Belgian getting some seat time during Friday practice. We've discussed the reasons this move may be happening already, but it will be interesting to see how he does. It must be hard to jump into a car as a rookie - especially when you are borrowing someone else's machinery. If he crashes, it's not just him who will suffer, but Di Grassi as well. However, we aren't going to talk about Renault drivers crashing, so let us move on.

8. It could be on much earlier

We all know that Bernie's real motivation behind the night race was not so much the spectacle and more about the European audience. As a part of that audience, I must say, I am glad I will not have to get up before 6am to watch the race.

9. It's a crucial point of the season

There are five drivers left with a chance of winning this championship, and boy, it is close at the top. A small mistake now could signal the end of a title campaign, and if any of them retire from the race, it's going to mix things up even more. Webber and Hamilton have the upper hand right now, but their teammate's aren't far behind and as the old saying goes, it really is all to play for. Could the twists and turns of Singapore sort the men from the boys?

10. There's a big wheel

Who doesn't like a big wheel?

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Credit: Toyota Motorsports GmbH

That's ten(ish) reasons why Singapore is going to be excellent with or without Renault playing games. What do you think of the race? Are they going to be able to shed their surprisingly controversial short history, or are they destined to race under Flavio's shadow forever? What are you looking forward to about the weekend?