F1 drivers expect ‘more exciting’ Singapore GP after track changes

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Singapore street circuit has lost four corners due to construction of a multi-purpose outdoor venue, creating a new straight in the final sector of lap; watch all sessions from the Singapore GP live on Sky Sports F1 starting this Friday, with the race on Sunday at 1pm

Last Updated: 15/09/23 6:19am

Sky F1's Karun Chandhok takes a closer look at the Marina Bay Street Circuit ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

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Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok takes a closer look at the Marina Bay Street Circuit ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok takes a closer look at the Marina Bay Street Circuit ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Formula 1 drivers believe this year’s track changes to the Singapore circuit will deliver more exciting racing in Sunday’s Grand Prix.

The construction of the multi-purpose outdoor venue NS Square means Turns 16, 17, 18 and 19 have been removed from the final sector, so the track will no longer go under the grandstand towards the end of the lap.

Instead, there will be a straight from Turn 15 to the old Turn 20 and 21 chicane, which will now be the Turn 16 and 17 chicane.

This change is expected to decrease lap times by close to 10 seconds, while the shortened lap length from 5.063km to 4.928km means Sunday’s lap count has been increased from 61 laps to 62.

And with the approach to the new Turn 16 now offering up an additional overtaking opportunity, many drivers feel that historically “dull” races in Singapore will now be enhanced.

George Russell hopes Mercedes can be the closest challengers to Red Bull at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

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George Russell hopes Mercedes can be the closest challengers to Red Bull at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

George Russell hopes Mercedes can be the closest challengers to Red Bull at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Mercedes’ George Russell said: “It’s going to make the racing a bit more exciting. Singapore is a really great circuit to drive but is a little bit challenging to race on and historically it’s only ever been Turn Five that has been an overtaking opportunity. Now I hope maybe into the new Turn 16 there will be another chance.

“It will make it slightly easier physically for us as it was the longest race of the season in terms of time duration. The track will be about nine seconds or so quicker this year so a bit shorter on Sunday.

“Less fun in qualifying but should be better for the race.”

Lap times could be almost 10 seconds quicker due to the track changes

Lap times could be almost 10 seconds quicker due to the track changes

Russell’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton suggested the change could help teams stay a little bit closer to Red Bull, who remain unbeaten in the 2023 season.

The seven-time world champion said: “It will make the lap easier that’s for sure.

“It gives less corners for Red Bull to be further ahead. That particular section they were always very strong and in this car of theirs they would be particularly strong.

“Maybe that can potentially create more opportunities to overtake because there are not a huge amount.”

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll echoed the Mercedes drivers, saying: “I think it’s good for racing on Sunday for sure.

“It’s been a place that is a lot of fun on Saturdays but can be a little bit dull on Sunday.

“Hopefully it can give us a bit more exciting racing on Sunday.”

Despite Ferrari's good showing last time out, Charles Leclerc isn't optimistic about their chances at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix.

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Despite Ferrari’s good showing last time out, Charles Leclerc isn’t optimistic about their chances at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix.

Despite Ferrari’s good showing last time out, Charles Leclerc isn’t optimistic about their chances at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda also hopes the change will provide more opportunities to make on-track passes.

“I think more overtaking,” Tsunoda said. “I think more chances, which is good. We have a DRS zone before that so hopefully we can close the gap there with a bit of slipstream until the second-to-last corner and maybe we can overtake there.”

However Alpine’s Pierre Gasly thinks the removal of the four corners could hurt his team and says it has removed some of the challenge of driving Singapore’s streets.

“Usually more corners the better it is for us, so I wasn’t so keen,” Gasly said.

“I’ve always loved Singapore for how twisty and technical it is.

“Two chicanes have been taken away and now one grandstand which is facing the wrong way there – hopefully they didn’t sell too many tickets there – but apart from that it is still going to be very cool.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Singapore GP schedule

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Singapore Grand Prix.

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Friday September 15
10am: Singapore GP Practice One (session starts at 10.30am)
1.45pm: Singapore GP Practice Two (session starts at 2pm)
3.30pm: The F1 Show

Saturday September 16
10.15am: Singapore GP Practice Three (session starts at 10.30am)
1pm: Singapore GP Qualifying build-up
2pm: Singapore GP Qualifying
3.45pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday September 17
11.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Singapore GP build-up
1pm: THE SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
3pm: Chequered Flag: Singapore GP reaction
4pm: Ted’s Notebook

Next up for the F1 circus are the stunning streets of Singapore under the lights. All sessions from the Singapore GP will be live on Sky Sports F1 from September 15-17. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW. Cancel anytime

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