23 September 2012
'Singapore Sling' to be axed ahead of 2013 grand rpix?
Layout changes could be forthcoming ahead of next year's Singapore Grand Prix following further complaints from drivers.
Next year's Singapore Grand Prix - and the four remaining beyond that on the event's new contract - could take place on a different circuit, and not just due to suggestions that it could be moved to another part of the city.
Although race organisers hinted at changes for 2013 and beyond, it is more likely that the current layout could be modified to take into account several factors, not least the concerns of locals, but also the safety worries of the drivers, who have been frustrated by the inability to improve conditions at the infamous 'Singapore Sling' section since the race was inaugurated five years ago.
The chicane, turn ten of 23 on the tortuous city centre circuit, has come in for particular criticism due to the severity of the kerbs bordering the road - even though they have been lowered since Kimi Raikkonen took off into retirement there in 2008 - but, while the drivers have asked for the section to be turned into a conventional corner, that has proved impossible because of the proximity of buildings and other landmarks, notably the Supreme Court and cricket club.
Asked in general about the safety of the Marina Bay circuit during Saturday's post-qualifying press conference, Sebastian Vettel led calls for the chicane to be revised as a primary concern.
"I think we've discussed it many times, every year actually, to find a better solution in turn ten," he confirmed, "In terms of safety, yeah, I think that's one of the worst corners we have on the calendar, because you've got these big kerbs, big bumps and it's a bit tricky to find a better solution right now with the space we have, but I think that's something we need to work on.
"It probably requires [the organisers] to take a little bit of land from the cricket club for those couple of days, or maybe remove the pavement for three or four days. If you consider the costs for this whole event, I think taking a pavement away and putting it back on shouldn't be a big problem....."
While no definitive changes have been made for 2013 and beyond, there were whispers on Sunday morning that the offending section could be removed altogether, with the track re-routed elsewhere before linking back into the existing layout.
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