It will be 'more difficult to overtake' in Singapore than it was in Valencia – that is the view of Formula 1 World Championship contender Felipe Massa, as the inaugural grand prix to be held both in the city-state and also under beaming floodlights dawns this weekend.
The European Grand Prix in the Spanish city last month – also a street race – was lambasted for its lack of action and passing manoeuvres, with a processional outing leaving many fans and spectators feeling somewhat short-changed.
Massa – the indisputable qualifying star of 2008, with four pole positions and four further front row starts to his name from the first 14 races of the campaign – fears this weekend there could be even less.
“Saturday will be very important,” underlined the Brazilian – who consummately triumphed from pole position in Valencia to turn up the heat on championship leader Lewis Hamilton, the McLaren-Mercedes ace now holding a sole one-point advantage at the top of the title chase following the failure of his Belgian Grand Prix appeal earlier this week – in an interview with Singapore's Straits Times
“I've never driven on the Singapore track, but it'll be even more difficult to overtake compared to Valencia, because the straights are even shorter.
“These days it is not very easy to overtake in Formula 1. The cars have great aerodynamic downforce, [and] when you are behind a car you lose downforce.”
Street circuits are notoriously difficult for overtaking, even if a number of opportunities are expected to be presented by the challenging Marina Bay layout, and with tropical, monsoon-like rain also a distinct possibility – particularly in the evenings, when the cars will be out on-track – safety could be a potential issue too. It is still unclear how distracting reflections from puddles on the track surface and glimmering rain droplets will be.
“I would prefer it to be dry,” Massa confessed, “but we can do well and have a consistent race in the wet as well. I'm concentrating on my season and my race here.”
Further complicating what will be a unique event are drivers' preparations, with the 20 F1 stars set to fly into Singapore as late as possible, eat breakfast in the afternoon, have dinner after midnight and go to sleep in the early hours of the morning.
“We will concentrate on getting our rest and nutrition right to ensure the body is ready to react in the right way when required,” explained Honda's Jenson Button.