A number of changes are to be made to the Marina Bay Street Circuit – home to the Singapore Grand Prix – in an effort to increase overtaking opportunities, after the inaugural 2008 event provided precious little in the way of exciting on-track action.
Having collected feedback from the race held in September – Formula 1's first-ever outing under spotlights – and consulted with governing body the FIA and the sport's teams, it has been revealed that there will be minor alterations at turns one, 13 and 14, road surface improvements at turns five, six and seven and revisions to both the controversial pit-lane entry and exit as well as to the run-off area at turn 22.
“While the circuit and the event exceeded expectations around the world, as with any brand new event there are always things which we now know we can do better,” explained the circuit's technical and race operations director, Michael McDonough.
“Minor modifications are proposed on the track, at turns one, seven and 14, in order to improve overtaking opportunities, whilst the main changes will be to the pit entry and pit exit to provide added margins of safety for cars entering and leaving the pit-lane.”
The full list of alterations is as follows:TURN ONE:
The changes to turn one will involve modification to the geometry to reduce corner speed, so that it provides potential overtaking opportunities in the braking zone at the approach to the corner. The modifications will involve relocating the corner apex, reducing the corner radius and thereby reducing the estimated cornering speed.
Once the cars took to the track last September, some drivers took a far wider line, turning in from the concrete verge next to the wall. Kerbing will therefore be installed on the entry to turn one so as to prevent cars utilising the concrete verge to obtain a wider line into the corner.TURNS 13/14:
Turn 13 – the tight left-handed hairpin after the historic Anderson Bridge – will be amended to increase cornering speed, providing additional speed on Esplanade Drive and increasing the opportunity for overtaking in the braking zone at turn 14. With the revision, the cars are likely to reach speeds of approximately 275km/h along Esplanade Drive.
In addition, the geometry of turn 14 will also be modified to improve overtaking opportunities in the braking zone. The modifications will involve relocating the corner apex to reduce the corner radius, reducing the estimated cornering speed of the cars.PIT-LANE ENTRY:
During the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, a significant speed differential was observed at the apex of turn 22 between cars entering the pit-lane and those lapping the track. A dedicated pit entry lane will be constructed to separate slowing cars from the lapping vehicles, in order to reduce any risk of interference caused by pitting vehicles on those lapping the track. The run-off distances at turn 22 will be reduced, providing better spectator circulation in the area.PIT-LANE EXIT:
For the 2008 race, the pit exit lane entered the circuit into the braking zone for turn one, immediately after the pit wall. Following suggestions from the FIA, the pit-lane will be re-aligned and lengthened for 2009, exiting on the drivers' left at turn two, away from the racing line and onto a part of the circuit where the cars will all be accelerating.