Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix are more than happy with how their first event went, it was considered a great success, and the introduction of a night race to the F1 calendar has spiced things up.
However, there were just a few little things that niggled at the teams and drivers, so for the 2009 season, Singapore have confirmed they will be making a few changes. Organisers have talked it through with both the FIA and the teams to make sure that this second year in Singapore will be more to their liking.
Although the sparks kicked up by the cars in 2008 just added to the overall spectacle of the first night race, the teams were not impressed with how bad the road surface was in Singapore. Turns 5, 6 and 7 are due to be resurfaced to try and reduce the problem areas.
Many of the corners will face slight alterations to try and improve the chances of overtaking. Although it was a good race in 2008, the addition of a safety car and a surprise winner added to the success of the weekend. Without a safety car intervention, the race could have ended up a procession. To solve this, a number of corners are going to be looked at. The first corner will be made sharper and kerbs added, which will see the first lap made more exciting and hopefully harsher braking for overtaking during the race. Turn 13 is being made faster, and therefore braking into Turn 14 will also be affected.
The original plans for Singapore were that the race should go in the opposite direction. These changed relatively near to the Grand Prix, so there were massive concerns that the pit lane entry and exit were just not suitable. Both fed drivers in and out of the racing line, meaning traffic would come across drivers slowing to make their pit stop, or exiting full of fuel. For 2009, organisers intend to build a dedicated pitlane entry to avoid the problem, and will move the exit away from the racing line.
This last point is the most important and definitely needed some attention before we go racing in Singapore again. They haven't mentioned whether the marshals will be trained up better, as there was a noticeable lack of marshalling ability in 2008. If something serious had happened, it could have been disastrous. However, if this is sorted, Singapore will be something to look out for in 2009.