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Singapore F1 Grand Prix: Singapore and a battle of the teams

The 'stunning' city of Singapore is destined to host one of the most crucial rounds of an increasingly interesting 2014 Formula 1 World Championship.
Even more so than in the previous six races on Singapore's Marina Bay Street Circuit, the 2014 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX in September could offer a fascinating race to the finish between both rival teams and closely matched team-mates, adding more spice and excitement to the night race which is now firmly established as a high point of the season.

While the Petronas AMG Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening four races, there are signs that Red Bull and Ferrari are starting to match the pace of the 'Silver Arrows' and an enticing late season title battle is in prospect.

The Singapore Grand Prix of course, makes its own history as the first Formula One™ street race, held at night, under the stars. The Marina Bay Street Circuit puts spectators close to the action and the track's location in the heart of downtown Singapore is one of the most accessible on the Formula One™ calendar with close proximity to public transport, hotels, restaurants, shops and many other attractions; if you can tear yourself away from the on-track action and off-track entertainment!

The new 'eco-friendly' 2014 regulations have pushed the teams to their technical limits and despite reliability issues in the early races; teams have risen to the challenge. What is particularly impressive is by just the fourth race of the season in China, only two cars failed to finish the race, clearly demonstrating that Formula One™ engineers are the among the fastest problem-solvers in the world.

Equally impressive is the turbocharged 1.6 litre cars completing the Chinese Grand Prix at a pace little different to that of their 2.4 litre predecessors, yet consuming around 30 percent less fuel. Technologies that are developed in this new generation of Formula One™ cars are already being used to provide “real world” solutions. With variations of the ERS energy recovery technology being developed for buses, MRT metro trains as well as road cars, one can expect an even more efficient, environmentally friendly and economical modes of transportation in the near future.

WHAT TO WATCH
Looking at the start of the 2014 season, there will certainly be plenty to look out for when Formula One™ arrives in Singapore this September. With victories in three of the opening four races, 2009 Singapore Grand Prix race winner and 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton could well be on target to take his second victory on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. There is also an equally strong chance that his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg who currently leads the championship, could also be a tip for the top spot.

As one of the most challenging circuits in the race calendar, drivers have to manoeuvre tight, slow corners such as the Memorial (Turn 7) and Turn 14 before reaching speeds of up to 290km/h on the Pit Straight. The The Marina Bay Street Circuit will push the new car's Energy Recovery System (ERS) and 'brake-by-wire' technology to their limits. So far, the power units produced by Mercedes have proved dominant in both terms of horsepower and reliability.

The pace of Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid power units has allowed the Mercedes cars to score over their Renault and Ferrari powered rivals. In addition, it has also given a front-running advantage to the similarly Mercedes-powered McLaren and Force India teams which only means that their rivals are catching up fast.

PLAYING CATCH-UP
Ferrari suffered a disappointingly slow start to their season with Fernando Alonso complaining of a lack of initial pace and Kimi Räikkönen struggling to come to terms with the handling of his car. Ferrari's two drivers are known as the best 'street fighters' in the championship where patrons can expect an unpredictable race 'under the lights' in Singapore.

Alonso is a two-time Singapore Grand Prix winner, scoring victory for Renault in the inaugural race in 2008 and again, in 2010 for Ferrari. Meanwhile, Räikkönen will be keen to improve on his third place last year which was his first visit to the podium at one of his favourite Grand Prix destinations.

“I really like going to Singapore” said Raikkonen. “It's a great place to be, I love the local food and I don't mind the unusual times we run in the car, as it means I don't have to get up so early. I think everybody in Formula One enjoys the night race. It's worked out really well as Singapore is a buzzing city and lots of people turn up.”

The Renault-powered teams struggled more than most to overcome their early development problems, but steady improvements mean that Caterham and Toro Rosso are now battling hard at the tail of the order with Ferrari-powered rivals Sauber and Marussia. Meanwhile Lotus, with the feisty driver combination of Romain Grosjean and of Pastor Maldonado, is challenging McLaren, Force India and Williams to create a tense mid-field battle, and reigning champions Red Bull are rapidly closing the performance gap on Mercedes.

TEAM DYNAMICS
One of the big stories so far this season has been the performance of new Red Bull recruit Daniel Ricciardo, who has proved a match for the pace of four-time world champion and the winner of the past three Singapore races in succession; Sebastian Vettel. The affable Australian could potentially beat his illustrious team-mate, which would delight the huge contingent of Australian fans who travel to Singapore each year.

“I like street races - obviously there are walls and the surface tends to be much more slippery than you'd have on a permanent circuit, and that tilts the balance between driver and car a little bit more toward the driver” says Ricciardo. “The light isn't really an issue, but the heat definitely is. When your body temperature rises, you have to stay alert to avoid making mistakes. Being a street circuit your concentration has to be pretty high anyway, so there's a real challenge there to stay on top of your game - and because it's challenging, it's fun.”

Last year's race recorded the highest attendance since the inaugural 2008 race, with a total of 262,527 visitors to the Marina Bay Street Circuit over the three-day sell-out race weekend. This year, race fans can expect exciting on-track action and an equally spectacular off-track entertainment at various stages and roving international artistes from 19 to 21 September; all for the price of one ticket. To purchase tickets to the event, visit WWW.SINGAPOREGP.SG

Scroll down for more images of this enticing GP venue and holiday destination.



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Tagged as: Singapore

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