Earlier this year, at the height of the Mosleygate came a surprising piece of news from FIA – plans to revive the Formula 2 series. Thanks to the timing of the announcement it was almost immediately considered to be just another shot fired in the Bernie vs. Max war. Thanks to the planned low budget (£195,000 per car) it was also almost immediately branded as impossible. Things have however moved ahead. Jonathan Palmer’s MotorSport Vision has been selected to run the series and the plans for 2009 season were announced last weekend including the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship calendar (see the bottom of this post).
Many people are a bit confused with this Formula 2 thing especially when there already exists rather successful Formula 1 feeder series – GP2. So what are the differences between current GP2 series and the planned Formula 2 championship ?
When my lense went on strike after about 5 minutes of Singapore F1 GP Friday practice session I thought that this time there will be no pictures at all. Fortunately I realized that besides auto there is also a manual mode. It took me a while to find the suitable set up but few minutes later I was ready to shoot again. Here are 2 slideshows with pictures from Singapore. You can see the original photos on the Singapore GP pictures page, on Flickr and at F1Wolf Club – Part 1 and Part 2.
I decided to go to the Singapore GP the moment it was announced just over a year ago. I was so excited about the race that I even travelled down to Singapore last December to walk to the Formula 1 track to be. After that visit there was no way back, the 2008 Singapore GP was a go, for me and for a bunch of friends. It got a bit tense first when the ticketing system failed, then again when the F1 time hotel prices were published. But we overcame all these issues and we were all set. So, how did it go ?
There has been a lot said about the current Safety Car regulations. If the Safety Car comes out in about the time one needs to pit for fuel there are only 2 options – pit and face the penalty or run out of fuel. Either of them is good enough to ruin the race.
But after watching the Singapore GP it looks like there may be also another outcome. Pit early, come out in front of the field, hope the stewards will take their time to confirm the obvious then once the penalty is announced stay out as long as legally possible. If all goes well by the time you do have to serve the 10 second penalty you may have well over 20 second lead and a chance to fight for a podium.
It was a great weekend in Singapore and the whole experience deserves a special post (coming soon ). This review however will focus on the race only.
Following his technical problems in second the part of qualifying Fernando Alonso had to start from lowly P15. It had to be great disappointment after very promising performances in free practice sessions and Q1. His post qualifying words sounded like he will only be there on Sunday to get over with the race:
“The race is lost. You can’t overtake here and I’m starting from 15th, so I will be going out just to lap the track, but it’s over already. If there are 10 or 12 retirements and there are safety cars… but there are no miracles. We have to do a better job on Saturday, especially on tracks like this where you can’t overtake. We said all weekend that starting from eighth or ninth would be a problem, so starting from 15th it’s all over.”
But then Sunday came and he looked very relaxed on the grid. When the commentator on the track asked him about his feelings before the race that seemed to be ruined before it even started, Alonso’s replied with a smile on his face – “who knows, perhaps there will be a safety car and we will get lucky” (this is not the exact quote). He had no idea …
I haven’ had chance to post any of race day and race follow up posts yet. The race ended at 10pm, took another hour before we reached our minibus and the only thing I was interested in afterwards was something to eat and something drink. I will post photos (some in high resolution) and reviews in next few days, after I return from this trip and settle down a bit. Please check back. Besides the usual prediction game results and race report there will also be some views on the Singapore GP as an event itself plus some issues that the Singapore GP brought up (again) like for example the pit stops, the safety car rules and the funny penalty business.
In the meantime you may check out few pictures that I managed to upload despite the not so high speed internet connection in my hotel room – Friday here and Saturday here.
Saturday was another beautiful day in Singapore. Still not a drop of rain, but I can smell it in the air today (Sunday). The atmosphere on the track is perhaps the best I ever experienced at F1 race, perhaps because it is so unique. So far the action – free practice and quali – was very exciting to watch. I hope that we will see some action in the race itself too. My prediction is at least 2 safety cars :-), the cars kept getting way too close to the walls and that was on fresh tyres …
You can see some photos from Saturday action inside this post. For me it is beach time now :-).
The trip to Singapore started with a little hick up. Our plane was delayed for over an hour because of some minor technical difficulties. But at the end we took off and we also landed so we are all here.
It was raining in Singapore of Friday morning (before our arrival) but since we landed here there hasn’t been a drop of rain.
The track itself is very impressive. It is hard to describe, it has to felt, but the atmosphere here is very special. Things seem to be working well, lights stayed on for the whole Friday practice session, beer is a bit cheaper than it was in Valencia . And when I need to get us and our minibus driver to the same place I simply gave my phone to do policeman to the all the talking, worked perfectly :-). All good so far.
On the track action itself. The drivers seemed to have difficulties with the final corner where several of them spun – Barrichello, Trulli, Kovalainen. Then there was that crash of Mark Webber early on in P1 that kept him out of action till about last half an hour of the P2. But the place where real trouble may be brewing is the pit lane exit. Several drivers had to drive on the dusty patch near the wall to avoid the cars on full speed taking the same corner (see the title photo). Watch out for this place on the track.
No major surprises in performances I would say. Ferrari, McLaren seem to be the quickest early on, BMW Sauber not doing too bad too. And then there was that quick lap from Alonso …
See inside this post for few pictures I took on Friday. Taking photos in this light is really a challenge …
This is the final video before my departure for Singapore GP. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel get their names wrong, look at the track from about 300 metres above the ground, conduct a business meeting and then take a short trishaw ride to the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel to fix themselves a glass of Singapore Sling. We may have to wait till next season who is the better driver, but you can find out now which one of these two is a better bartender.
The European part of 2008 F1 season is over, it is time for the fly away races. The post European show begins with the night race in Singapore. The Prediction Game is back with round 15. Hamilton lost his appeal, Massa kept his Spa win, the gap between top 2 is only 1 point but there are still another 4 drivers with mathematical chances to win the title … How will this change after Singapore GP ?
So place your predictions as usual in the comments below this post:
– Top eight finishers in the race
– Pole position
– Fastest lap
The Singapore GP organizers have this nice habit of keeping the ticket holders up to date with all the changes. Following their previous good news message on photo and video equipment I found another one in my mailbox today. The highlight – We can bring a bottle of water with us without risk of having it confiscated at the gates (as was the case in Valencia this year and as has been the case in Sepang or Shanghai forever )!
I cut the original twenty things down to seventeen – here is the list of what I believe are some useful tips for those who perhaps haven’t received the email and are planning to go to the Singapore GP track this weekend:
Jean Eric VERGNE
2014 F1 Calendar
14-16 March - Australia
28-30 March - Malaysia
4-6 April - Bahrain
18-20 April - China
9-11 May - Spain
22-25 May - Monaco
6-8 June - Canada
20-22 June - Austria
4-6 July - Great Britain
18-20 July - Germany
25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
5-7 September - Italy
19-21 September - Singapore
3-5 October - Japan
10-12 October - Russia
31 October-2 November - USA
7-9 November - Brazil
21-23 November - Abu Dhabi