GP of Singapore one of the most complex tactical races
Formula 1 (where many teams involved are equipped by BMC), on 15th – 17th September, heads to one of the most complex tactical races of the year, around the illuminated streets of Singapore. The three softest tyres in the P Zero range – soft, supersoft, and ultrasoft – have once again been brought to Singapore, just as was the case last year, ready for a 61-lap race that normally lasts close to the full two-hour limit, with more than one pit stop. Added to this unusual challenge are the usual considerations of a non-permanent street circuit: variable levels of low grip, street furniture such as manholes and white lines, as well as a high probability of safety cars: 100% so far in the track’s nine-year history.
Teams have generally favoured the ultrasoft tyre for Singapore, with the soft and supersoft being chosen in more modest quantities.
There are no major modifications to the circuit layout and infrastructure this year.
Pirelli’s 2018 slick tyre prototype test programme continued at Paul Ricard last week, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas driving for Mercedes and fully completing the test schedule.
The analysis of…
Mario Isola – Pirelli Motorsport – Head of Car Racing
“Singapore is always one of the most exciting and unpredictable races of the year, in which pit stop strategy often plays a crucial role in the outcome: also because of the near certainty of a safety car at some point during the arduous two hours. Having said that, pole position has historically had a strong influence on the race win at Marina Bay, so qualifying will be crucial as well. In order to prepare, teams will have to pay particularly close attention to the free practice data as track temperature at night will evolve in quite a different way than it does at a conventional daytime race. Understanding this will be key to getting a good handle on wear and degradation rates, and so implementing an effective tyre strategy”.
Hard work for the brakes at Marina Bay
The track was designed by architect Hermann Tilke and was changed first in 2009 then in 2013 when the chicane at turn 10 was eliminated. A third and final revision took place in 2015 when corrections were made to turns 11, 12 and 13.
Compared to the other street circuits, this one stands out for its length (5,065 meters against 3,337 yards in Monaco) and speeds (the average speed per lap is 178 km/h, 12 km/h more than Monaco), besides the inconsistencies on the tarmac due to manhole covers and painted lines that can cause a loss of grip.
The quick pace and lack of space to cool down (the longest straight measures just 832 meters), make this one of the most difficult circuits on the braking systems. Wear of the friction material is only one of the channels that has to be constantly monitored via telemetry.
According to Brembo technicians, who classified the 20 tracks in the World Championship on a scale of 1 to 10, the Marina Bay Street Circuit falls into the category of tracks that are extremely demanding on the brakes. The Singapore circuit earned a 10 on the difficulty index, the exact same score given to the Montreal, Mexico City and Abu Dhabi tracks.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
The 23 corners on the track require drivers to use their brakes 15 times per lap, which is the record for the championship. Of all the other 19 tracks, only Monaco gets close with 12 braking sections per lap. Baku, Budapest and Abu Dhabi have eleven and the rest of the circuits have even fewer.
Another record is the time spent braking. More than 22 seconds per lap. The brakes are used for 23% of the overall duration of the race, the same percentage recorded in Monaco. Just think, two weeks ago the Formula 1 cars raced in Monza using their brakes only six times per lap, which equals 12% of the overall race.
The extreme windy nature of the track keeps the peak decelerations under 4.8 G, even going below 4 G at turn 7, resulting in an average peak deceleration per lap of 3.8 G.
From the starting line to the checkered flag, each driver exerts a total load of 120 tons on the brake pedal. In other words, the force is more than 1 metric ton for every minute of the race. This physical exertion is significant especially when considering the high levels of humidity that distinguish this race, along with the elevated air temperatures.
The most demanding braking sections
Of the 15 braking sectionsat Marina Bay Street Circuit, three are classified by Brembo technicians as very demanding on the brakes, six are of medium difficulty and the remaining six are light.
The most challenging over all is Memorial Curve(turn 7, the name comes from the nearby park that commemorates the victims of World War II): the single-seaters go from 322 km/h to 123 km/h in 2.08 seconds, traveling barely 57 meters. At this point, the drivers are subjected to a deceleration of 4.7 G and they apply a 158 kg load on the brake pedal.
Major force is put on the drivers (4.9 G) and on the braking systems at Sheares Curve(turn 1, named in memory of Benjamin Sheares, former President of Singapore). The cars drop from 303 mph to 132 km/h in 49 meters and 1.93 seconds thanks to a load of 156 kg on the brake pedal.
Slightly less demanding is braking at turn 14 because the single-seaters arrive going less than 300 km/h. They go from 282 km/h to 97 km/h in 53 meters with 4.7 G in deceleration and 159 kg applied to the pedal.
A prime example of the braking force in the Brembo systems is the braking section at turn 9. Almost 70 km/h of speed lost (from 207 km/h to 138 km/h) in a space of just 20 meters, enough to register 3.2 G in deceleration.
Info and curiosities
18.5 psi(1.27 bar) minimum starting pressures (front slick)
17.0 psi(1.17 bar) minimum starting pressures (rear slicks)
–3.75° camber limit (front)
–2.00° camber limit (rear)
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