F1 2016: Singapore GP Preview

The Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore first appeared on the F1 calendar in 2008. It was the sport’s first ever night race and remains the only one still held completely under the lights at night.

Teams, drivers and personnel remain on European time to help them deal with the odd timings of the Singapore Grand Prix. Due to the length of the circuit – 23 corners, the most of any race this year – and the probability of safety cars, the race normally pushes the two hour limit and is a tough challenge for drivers.

Circuit: Marina Bay Street Circuit
Number of Laps: 61
Circuit Length: 5.065km
Number of Corners: 23
Lap Record: 1:50.041 Daniel Ricciardo (2015)
Previous Singapore Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 3
Most Successful Team: Red Bull (3 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft

As is the case with any street circuit, there are low grip levels and the average speed is the second lowest of any on the calendar – Monaco being the slowest. 45% of the lap is spent at full throttle with approximately 80 gear changes per lap.

Pirelli have brought the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft tyre compounds with the latter making its first appearance since the Austrian Grand Prix earlier in the year. Drivers will have to contend with degradation as well as the humidity and extra challenges a street circuit brings.

The 2015 race proved to be a weakness in Mercedes’ armour with Nico Rosberg finishing fourth and Lewis Hamilton failing to finish. They struggled in qualifying and were unable to match the Ferraris and Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. It was Sebastian Vettel who won the race for Ferrari with Ricciardo second and Kimi Raikkonen in third.

Last time out it was Rosberg who won, beating team-mate Hamilton who had a disappointing start to the race. Vettel was third ahead of Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. The result means that the gap between the top two in the championship stands at just two points, with Rosberg getting right back in contention with Hamilton.

Mercedes will be hoping to avoid the difficulties they suffered at the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix. Elsewhere in the championship, Red Bull are ahead of Ferrari and they are a team who have won the modern Singapore Grand Prix more than anyone else. Ferrari have won it twice with other previous winning teams McLaren and Renault unlikely to win it this year.

 

 

F1 2016: Italian Grand Prix Preview

From one iconic circuit to another, the Formula One circus has travelled from Spa-Francorchamps to Monza for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

The gap at the top of the championship stands at nine points between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Hamilton took a number of engine penalties in Spa, resulting in him starting at the back of the grid. He was fortuitous in the timing of a safety car period and red flag and finished in third place, limiting the cut in his championship lead to just 10 points. Rosberg won with Daniel Ricciardo finishing in second at the longest circuit on the calendar.

Circuit: Autodromo di Monza
Number of Laps: 53
Circuit Length: 5.793km
Number of Corners: 11
Lap Record: 1:21.046 Rubens Barrichello (2004)
Previous Italian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 3
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (19 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft

From the longest circuit to the fastest on the calendar, Monza is dubbed the “temple of speed”. While cornering speeds are relatively low, drivers reach speeds of up to 370kph on the pit straight. The famous Parabolica corner leads onto the straight where drivers pick up speed on the run to first chicane. Due to the nature of the circuit – low speed corners and high speed straights – brake wear is high while drivers will change gear approximately 46 times per lap. Grip levels are low meaning teams will run cars at their lowest downforce levels of the year.

Of the current field only Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have won at Monza. The 2015 running of the race saw Hamilton complete the treble – pole position, race win and fastest lap. He also won the race in 2014. Following all his engine changes in Spa he is well placed to make it a third victory in a row in Italy.

In Belgium Red Bull extended their lead over Ferrari in the constructors championship while Force India moved into fourth ahead of Williams. Further down the order McLaren moved ahead of Toro Rosso into 6th place.

F1 2016: Belgian Grand Prix Preview

The summer break is over and it’s time for the Formula One season to recommence at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps. Featuring the likes of Eau Rouge, La Source, and Pouhon, the circuit is a real favourite amongst drivers and fans alike.

The longest circuit on the calendar is 7.004km and drivers will lap it 44 times. Due to the nature of the circuit it can be raining at one part of the circuit and completely dry at another meaning weather conditions can come more into play than they necessarily do at other races.

Circuit: Spa-Francorchamps
Number of Laps: 44
Circuit Length: 7.004km
Number of Corners: 19
Lap Record: 1:47.263 Sebastian Vettel (2009)
Previous Belgian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (16 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft

Lewis Hamilton has clawed back the gap to Nico Rosberg and currently leads the championship by 19 points. He does however have the knowledge of an engine penalty hanging over him and it could be taken at Spa.

The circuit features a mixture of long straights and and fast corners and results in one of the fastest speeds of the year at 235km/h. The nature of the track means teams will have to find a balance between low drag and downforce. There are plenty of overtaking opportunities meaning qualifying is not as key as at other races.

Last year Hamilton led home a Mercedes 1-2, ahead of Rosberg, with Romain Grosjean in third for Lotus. In the two years prior to that it has been Red Bull drivers standing on the top step of the podium. Red Bull have been in good form in recent times and look the team most likely to challenge Mercedes.

In the German Grand Prix – the last race before the summer break – Hamilton finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Rosberg was fourth after a torrid race which included picking up a penalty for running another driver off the track. The Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were fifth and sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Valtteri Bottas, and Sergio Perez.

 

F1 2016: German GP Preview

Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, the German Grand Prix is the last race before the summer break. Lewis Hamilton leads the championship by six points following his win last time out, but a win for Nico Rosberg on home soil would see him move back to the top of the table.

The Hungarian Grand Prix was a somewhat uneventful race but it did have some close battles, particularly between Red Bull and Ferrari. In their fight for second in the constructors championship Ferrari have the edge – but only just. Just one point separates the two teams so it is finely poised.

In Hungary it was Daniel Ricciardo who joined the Mercedes duo on the podium but Sebastian Vettel had a late charge and could have taken it. Similarly, Kimi Raikkonen closed in on fifth placed Max Verstappen but was unable to find a way pass. Raikkonen was voted Driver of the Day for his charge through from 14th.

Circuit: Hockenheimring
Number of Laps: 67
Circuit Length:4.574km
Number of Corners: 17
Lap Record: 1:13.780 Kimi Raikkonen (2004)
Previous German Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 4
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (22 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Supersoft, Soft and Medium

The German Grand Prix was last held in 2014 – at the Hockenheimring – having been cancelled last year. That race was one by Rosberg and he will undoubtedly be looking to repeat that feat this year.

The track features a mix of fast long straights as well as technical corners. Due to the nature of the circuit there are some heavy braking zones into medium to low speed corners. Drivers will change gear approximately 49 times per lap and will reach a top speed of 350kmh. The Hockenheimring is also considered a power circuit.

Pirelli have brought the same tyre compounds as were used in Hungary – the Supersoft, Soft and Mediums.

F1 2016: Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

The Hungarian Grand Prix has been on the Formula One calendar since 1986, with the circuit having been purpose built for the sport.

Lewis Hamilton goes into the weekend having won his home race at Silverstone where he reduced the championship gap to just a point. Nico Rosberg has led from the start of the season but the momentum is currently with Hamilton. The three leading teams at the minute – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – have all won at the circuit at the Hungaroring in the past.

Circuit: Hungaroring
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length:4.381km
Number of Corners: 14
Lap Record: 1:19.071 Michael Schumacher (2004)
Previous Hungarian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: McLaren (11 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium, Soft and Supersoft

The circuit has been resurfaced for the 2016 event and Pirelli have brought the Medium, Soft and Supersoft compound tyres. Thermal degradation can be an issue due to the high temperatures normally experienced. The Hungaroring requires an emphasis on mechanical grip with a number of low speed corners. It has a low average speed while brake wear is medium.

It is often compared to Monaco due to being a tight and twisty track, although obviously there is a lot more run off. This means that drivers normally place a lot of emphasis on qualifying as track position can be key.

The championship is finely poised at the top with just a point separating Hamilton and Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen is third, six points ahead of Daniel Ricciardo with Sebastian Vettel just eight points ahead of Max Verstappen. Last year saw the Mercedes duo suffer a number of misfortunes allowing Vettel to win. He had been leading a Ferrari 1-2 before Raikkonen unfortunately retired. Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo were second and third respectively. Ricciardo has previously won the race in 2014.

A number of drivers in Formula One history took their first wins in the sport at the Hungaroring including Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Following Button’s highs in Austria, the team were disappointed to finish 12th and 13th in tricky conditions at Silverstone. They scored their best results of the season last year in Hungary so will no doubt be trying to repeat their form this year.

Both Williams drivers finished outside the points at the British Grand Prix while both Force India drivers finished in the points. There are 19 points between the two teams and Force India are aiming to close the gap and claim fourth in the constructors championship. Ferrari are just six points ahead of Red Bull while Mercedes are well clear at the top.

F1 2016: British Grand Prix Preview

Formula One returns to its home this weekend with the British Grand Prix. Seven of the 11 teams on the grid are based in the UK so it is a big event on the Formula One calendar. Silverstone hosted the first ever World Championship F1 race way back in 1950 and it has been the permanent home of the British Grand Prix since 1987.

Last time out Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix following a last lap incident with his team-mate Nico Rosberg. It wasn’t the first time this season the two have come together and with such a quick turnaround there could be fireworks this weekend. Hamilton was joined on the podium by Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen.

Rosberg still leads the championship although now just by 11 points.

Circuit: Silverstone
Number of Laps: 52
Circuit Length: 5.891km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: 1:33.401 Mark Webber (2013)
Previous British Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (15 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Soft, Medium and Hard

For a lap around Silverstone drivers spend 66% of it at full throttle. It is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and features fast flowing sections. For the mixture of high and low speed corners, Silverstone requires medium to high downforce.

The soft, medium and hard compound tyres have been brought to this race by Pirelli and circuit offers high levels of grip. Due to high levels of degradation Pirelli are expecting at least two pit stops per driver during the race.

Last year’s race was won by Hamilton after he switched to intermediate tyres at just the right time. Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel were also on the podium. Hamilton will be going for a hat-trick of victories having won the British Grand Prix in 2015 and 2016. As always, the weather could play a role during the race as it can range from sunshine to rain very quickly.

In Austria there were notable drives from a number of drivers. Verstappen got his second ever Formula One podium by finishing second. While Raikkonen finished third, many thought Ferrari wasted an opportunity to win the race by pitting at the wrong time. Jenson Button finished in sixth place for McLaren having started from third on the grid – their best qualifying result for quite some time. Romain Grosjean returned to the points for Haas finishing seventh while Pascal Wehrlein got his first ever F1 point in tenth place for Manor.

All eyes will undoubtedly be on the Mercedes pair this weekend – with tensions running high can they race cleanly or will they self-implode again?

F1 2016: Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Fresh off the back of a commanding victory at the European Grand Prix in Baku, Nico Rosberg heads to the Austrian Grand Prix with high hopes. Having previously won the event in 2015 and in 2014 on its return to the calendar, Rosberg is looking for a hat-trick of wins.

After seeing his lead getting smaller it is once again advantage Rosberg, extending a nine point lead to over 20 points again following struggles for Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan.

Circuit: Red Bull Ring
Number of Laps: 71
Circuit Length: 4.326km
Number of Corners: 9
Lap Record: 1:08.337 Michael Schumacher (2003)
Previous Austrian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 1
Most Successful Team: McLaren (6 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Soft, Supersoft, and Ultrasoft

The Red Bull Ring – formerly the A1 Ring – only features nine corners and these are a mixture of slow, medium and high speed. It is a medium downforce circuit and features a long straight. 66% of the lap is spent at full throttle while brake wear is classed as medium.

Last year Hamilton started on pole position but lost out to team-mate Rosberg early on and had to settle for second. Felipe Massa completed the podium finishers in third place.

Pirelli have brought their Soft and Supersoft compound tyres along with the Ultrasoft. Many teams expect lap records to be broken if the Ultrasoft compound can be used in qualifying. This is currently uncertain as weather forecasts show unsettled conditions and potential thunderstorms during qualifying.

Both Rosberg and Hamilton have new engines for this weekend – Hamilton’s fifth new one of the season meaning he faces a penalty next new engine. Hamilton spent much of the European Grand Prix unable to fix an engine issue due to radio restrictions. He was clearly frustrated and had to settle for fifth place while his team-mate won.

Sebastian Vettel finished as runner up with Sergio Perez securing his second podium in three races. Kimi Raikkonen finished in fourth place for Ferrari.