The Best Street Circuit; Singapore Grand Prix
In November 2007, a contract was signed between Singapore GP Pte Ltd, the Singapore tourism board, and Bernie Ecclestone. What made this new addition so special though?
In 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix became the first night race to ever be held in the FIA Formula 1 world championship calendar. This is just one of the many reasons that I think that Marina Bay Street Circuit is the best street circuit on the calendar.
Firstly, due to the race being at night-time, the grand prix offers stunning views for fans in person and on television alike. The Marina Bay Street Circuit travels its way through the centre of Singapore's CBD, providing an incredible image of skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, and Marina Bay itself. The circuit showcases Singapore’s architectural beauty, making it a unique grand prix on the Formula 1 calendar, and unlike any other street circuits.
Secondly, the circuit is notorious for being a challenging circuit for drivers. There are many slow speed, technical corners, which require skill and precision. The proximity of the barriers to the track adds another element of difficulty to the circuit where drivers are often seen crashing at certain corners. Only recently (In 2023), has the layout of the circuit been changed, reducing the number of corners from 23, to 19, effectively removing a bus-stop chicane. The Singapore Grand Prix has a record of being the only grand prix on the F1 calendar which has had a safety car in every single race since 2008. This further adds to the action which is regularly seen each year at Marina Bay.
Thirdly, the race is known for being one of the longest (in time) grand prix on the F1 calendar, often surpassing the 2 hour mark (in elapsed time). In perspective, most grand prix have a run time of approximately 1.5 hours. This adds another factor in the challenge of Marina Bay, where drivers have to prepare and endure the gruelling, and unpredictable weather of Singapore.
Finally, the Singapore Grand Prix offers fans entertainment, including concerts, exhibitions, simulators, and live music. This creates a festival-like atmosphere for the fans, even if they may not be there for the race itself. The accessibility of the grand prix is also what makes it convenient for international fans from abroad because of the efficient public transport, and location of the circuit in proximity to Changi Airport (Singapore’s international airport).
In conclusion, the Singapore Grand Prix, held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, revolutionised Formula 1 by introducing the first-ever night race in 2008. This distinctive event offers breathtaking cityscape views, a challenging track for drivers, an extended race duration, and a vibrant festival atmosphere, making it a standout on the F1 calendar.