Bridgestone Motorsport will introduce a variation on its tyre marking initiative to cater for the unfamiliar conditions that the Formula One teams will face in Singapore later this month.
The 15th round of the world championship marks a radical departure for Formula One, with the advent of the category's first-ever night race. Although other series, notably the American-based NASCAR and IndyCar, have long run under floodlights, F1 is taking the plunge for the first time over the weekend of 28 September, and introducing a new element to the mix in the shape of a 5.067km street circuit laid out around the Marina Bay area of the sovereign city state.
The fifth and final street course of the season sees Bridgestone revert to its 'soft' and 'super soft' tyres for the mix of slow-, medium- and high-speed corners and top speeds approaching 300kph, but with an added element to, literally, reflect that fact that most of the action will take place after dark.
“The layout looks challenging and we have not seen any races on the circuit, so teams will be relying solely on their simulations before cars take to the track," Bridgestone's director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima commented, "As with any street course, we expect finding grip to be the focus for many and the grip level to change over the weekend. The circuit layout looks interesting and this will be a very exciting, unique race track.”
The circuit will be artificially lit but, to help observers identify which tyres drivers are running on at any given time, Bridgestone has applied extra reflective markings to some of the 2200 tyres it will take to Singapore to differentiate the two compounds of dry tyre and the two types of wets, with the 'super soft' dry and 'extreme' wet being marked.
“We have looked at many different aspects regarding a race taking place at night and we have no specific concerns," Hamashima continued, "Bridgestone have good experience in endurance motor races which run at night, so this has been useful. The temperatures will be cooler than during the day and there will be no heat generated from the sun's radiation, but we predict an ambient and track temperature of around 27 degrees Celsius, which is warmer than some tracks we visit during the day. Ultimately, the way the tyre works at night will be the same as it works during the day.”