Round 16 of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship takes us this weekend to Southeast Asia for the annual Singapore Grand Prix.
It’s a race where having the fastest car isn’t a prime factor for securing the win, meaning it’s the ideal spot for a rival to end Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen’s run of consecutive wins, which currently stands at a record 10. Singapore is also a location where Verstappen is yet to win a race.
Like Monaco, speeds don’t get very high due to the short straights, tight corners, and bumpy surface of Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit, a combination that nevertheless makes the race one of the trickiest to arrive at the ideal car setup. Another tricky factor is the high heat and humidity which make Singapore a real challenge for both car and driver, something that isn’t helped by the race’s long two-hour duration. To help against the heat, the race is run at night.
The race this year will feature a revised layout due to some construction taking place in the vicinity of the street circuit. The part of the circuit between what was Turns 16 to 19 will now become one long straight, reducing the number of corners from 23 to 19. Lap times are expected to be about 10 seconds slower due to the change, which will also result in the number of laps increasing from 61 to 62.
Marina Bay Circuit’s revised layout for 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix
Changeable weather can also be an issue in Singapore, with the current forecast calling for rain throughout the weekend. The peak temperature is expected to reach about 88 degrees F (31 degrees C) during the race.
Pirelli’s tire nominations include the softer C3 as the white hard, C4 as the yellow medium, and C5 as the red soft, the same combination as last year. Teams need to concern themselves with the high degree of track evolution as the race is held on a street circuit—something also brings typical street furniture such as manholes and white lines that can alter grip levels.
Following some early practice on Friday, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the fastest, followed by teammate Carlos Sainz.
Going into Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race, Verstappen leads the 2023 Drivers’ Championship with 364 points. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is second with 219 points and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso is third with 170 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 583 points followed by Mercedes-Benz AMG in second with 273 points and Ferrari in third with 228 points. Last year’s winner in Singapore was Perez driving for Red Bull.