Formula One returns to Singapore for the second time, just days after it was determined that Renault did cheat in last yearís race in order to help Fernando Alonso
Singapore remains unique on the calendar as it is the only race to take place under artificial lighting
and this year the organisers have made a number of small changes to the circuit, including the entry and exit of the pit lane.Jenson Button
still enjoys a healthy lead over Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello
in the championship with a 14 point advantage while the Red Bull Renault duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber remain mathematically still in contention for the title - if not realistically. However it is Barrichello who is on a roll at the moment having won two of the last three races, more than halving the championship deficit to Button.Kimi Raikkonen
continues to show well with Ferrari in fifth place in the championship having out-scored everyone during the last four grand prix, recording 30 of his 40 points of the season. Force India Mercedes also continue to impress, although the high-downforce nature of the Singapore street circuit will not play to the strengths of the VJM02 package.
As ever, most are fairly upbeat heading to the next round of the championship...
1 . J. Button - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
ďLast yearís Singapore Grand Prix was an amazing experience and it really was one of the highlights of the year. Driving under the lights was great fun and the visibility was pretty good although some corners such as turns one and five were a bit dark which made it more difficult to judge your braking distances. The Marina Bay Street Circuit is pretty challenging and although it has a stop-start layout which isnít usually my favourite type of circuit, I still enjoyed driving it.
ďAs last year, we will stay on European timing for the race weekend which means staying awake throughout the night and sleeping most of the day to ensure that we are alert and the body is ready to react in the right way for the evening timetable. I spent some time at the factory last week driving the circuit on our simulator which helps with the track layout, gears and downforce levels so we are well prepared and looking forward to arriving in Singapore and getting the weekend underway.Ē
2 . R. Barrichello - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
"I really enjoyed the circuit as it felt like a proper street circuit should with public roads, bumps, barriers and passing some of the famous city landmarks. Itís very narrow in places and you can feel quite enclosed particularly with the bright floodlights shining down. Itís a very slow track so you need a high downforce aerodynamic configuration on the car and with so many corners, you have to maintain your concentration at all times. Iíve had a great time over the last month with two victories so weíve got some good momentum behind us going into the final four races of the season. I canít wait to get back in the car and get on with the challenge.Ē
5 . K. Raikkonen - Ferrari F60
"Itís another city circuit and the slower the circuits are this year the better we were, just look at Valencia and Monaco: thereís no reason, why it shouldnít be the same in Singapore. I still have a score to settle with this race. Last year, at the end of the race, I drove into a wall, when I was fighting for the fourth position against Glock. I really donít like that memory. The first night race was great for all of us. Besides some parts of the run-off area the whole track is perfectly illuminated. Thereís no difference to daylight. As on all tracks like this overtaking is almost impossible. The KERS will be an advantage, but it wonít make the difference like it did in Spa or in Monza.
"Over the last four grand prix we had only one car in the points, but now we also need the second carís contribution. Iím sure that thanks to his experience Giancarlo can make it. I think that out of the four remaining races the one in Singapore suits Ferrari the best. If we want to win we need to be more than perfect and need a little bit of luck. But after the win in Spa it would be fantastic to have this feeling once again."
6 . N. Rosberg - Williams Toyota FW31
ďThe toughest thing about Singapore is the heat and the number of corners. There are 23, so thereís never an opportunity to relax. The circuit is challenging, but itís a high downforce track which suits our car, so Iím hoping that we will have a better result there than we had in Monza. It is just a little more difficult because the visibility is generally comprised a little bit as it is darker, but you get used to it quite quickly and there are obviously masses of light. I think it would become really challenging if it rains though. The only thing that was a bit hard last year was seeing so little daylight as we stay on European time.Ē
7 . L. Hamilton - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
ďLast yearís inaugural Singapore Grand Prix was a real example of how to host a new Formula 1 race Ė fantastic facilities, slick organisation and a unique and interesting track that was not only fun and demanding but also really forced you to push to the limit and take a few risks to get the best from the car. I remember my race in Singapore last year was all about damage limitation Ė I was driving with one eye on the world championship and wasnít going to take too many risks. I was happy to finish on the podium. This year, itís very different Ė I know Iím out of the title hunt and I want to attack these last four races, pushing for as many victories as I can.Ē
8 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF109
"Singapore is a unique race for us as the only night race and it is quite an interesting experience. I hope we can be competitive there, especially as we have some improvements to the car. The team has pushed hard all season to introduce new parts and it's great to have upgrades even as the season is coming to a close. It's not possible to predict exactly how we will perform until we have driven the track again but I am optimistic we can be competitive again in Singapore. I was really unlucky last year when a technical problem prevented me finishing on the podium.
ďIt was a really tough race on a heavy fuel load, especially in hot conditions and over the bumps, so it was frustrating not to get a result. This year I am determined to make up for that. To be honest I would rather race in daylight because the light levels change around the track but a night race is good for the spectators and there was a nice atmosphere last year so I am looking forward to this weekend."
10 . H. Kovalainen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
ďWe really seem to have discovered the sweet-spot of this yearís car. Iíve had points finished in every race since the Nurburgring, and weíve got some interesting new upgrades in the system that are planned for the Singapore race.
Of course, racing at night is what really makes this event unique, but the lighting system is so fantastic that you tend to forget that you are even racing in the dark! Singapore is the sort of circuit that should suit our package Ė there are lots of slower corners and weíll be able to use KERS to our advantage. Overall, the city is also a fantastic backdrop to what has already become one of the best circuits on the calendar.Ē
11 . F. Alonso - Renault R29
"I like it because itís quite challenging and there are some interesting corners like the high-speed chicane at turn 10 where you have to carry a lot of speed and use the curbs. Overtaking isnít easy in Singapore, but there are some opportunities. The car is working well at most circuits so I believe we are competitive enough to get close to the podium, which has to be my target this weekend."
12 . T. Glock - Toyota TF109
"I really enjoy racing at night because it is a great show for the fans and last year was just an unbelievable event. You need to get used to driving under lights but for me the visibility was fine, it's just a very strange thing is to be arriving at the track early in the afternoon and leaving again at 4am. I like the Singapore track; it is good fun to be driving past some famous buildings at night and the chicane at turn 10 is a nice challenge because you cannot afford to make any mistake. It's a typical street circuit and last year it was pretty bumpy which made it tough for the drivers, but they have worked on that. I had a great race there a year ago so I hope we can repeat that kind of result. It's hard to know what to expect considering we have some improvements on the car this weekend but I hope we will make a step forward. We are still pushing as hard as ever so I can't wait to get back on track."
13 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.09
"Iíve been looking forward to the race in Singapore for many weeks because I know we have some modifications ready for the weekend. Our simulation work has been very promising and the car will look great. As I found out last year, itís practically impossible to overtake in Singapore. After a penalty I had to start from ninth on the grid rather than sixth and, although I had the speed, sixth at the finish was the best I could hope for. Grid position is equally as critical in Singapore as it is in Monaco.Ē
"Last year the special nature of this GP and the atmosphere around it made the race weekend very much the highlight of the season for me. It was something new and genuinely exciting for everybody. And it was great to see the TV pictures and photos afterwards as well; the artificial light changed everything. It wasnít difficult for me to keep in tune with European time so that I would be in good shape for qualifying and the race - actually it was quite fun. It's a bit weird to find the whole team still out and about up to three in the morning to keep their body clocks ticking over, but also very entertaining."
15 . R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.09
"I am very much looking forward to the Singapore Grand Prix. Everybody knows I am a big fan of street circuits. The track is very challenging; especially the last sector is very twisty with a lot of corners. As the circuit is not a permanent track, the grip level is very poor at the beginning of the weekend but improves from day to day. Drivers and engineers have to anticipate how the trackís grip level evolves set-up-wise and balance-wise. The team will bring quite a big update to Singapore. I hope our car will be more competitive and that we are able to surprise the competition with our pace.
"Last year the surface was very bumpy, maybe a little too bumpy at some places. Before the initial night session, there were lots of concerns among us drivers regarding visibility which did not prove right. Actually I was very surprised how well the light situation was managed."
16 . A. Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02
"The track is quite challenging, with lots of corners and changes of direction but it's also quite fast, like a cross between Valencia and Monaco. I enjoy street racing and Singapore has that same feeling so I'm looking forward to it. Last year I didn't have such a great race but this year we are in a very different situation. My goal will be to be focussed from the start of the weekend, do some solid work in practice and qualify well as a good grid position is very important here. For sure it's then to get some more points. I feel we can definitely add to the total."
19 . K. Nakajima - Williams Toyota FW31
ďSingapore is a very technical track because of all the different elements you have to contend with. Itís a night race so you have to make sure you are accustomed to the different light; itís a street circuit so itís quite slippery at the start of the weekend; it has few run-off areas and minimal overtaking opportunities. It is also really bumpy, particularly between turns 5 and 7. Combined with the high temperatures and humidity, itís going to be a very challenging race for the drivers and the cars. Because of the number of low speed corners, it is a very high downforce circuit, but that is good for us as our car works well on this kind of track. Once you get used to the light and youíve sorted out your visor, it really feels like normal. There were some corners where it was a little bit too dark last year, but Iím sure they will have sorted that out for this year.Ē
22 . R. Grosjean - Renault R29
"I enjoy street circuits and the track layout looks interesting. I saw the race on television last year and thought the cars looked great under the lights. This will be my first ever night race and Iím really looking forward to it. Iíve been doing a lot of work with my engineers and Iíve watched some videos to try and learn the track as much as I can before I arrive there. I already know the layout from studying the map, but itís only when you drive a lap and feel the grip that you start to understand the circuit. My aim is to put together a strong weekend to maximise practice, qualifying and the race. I will try and get close to Fernando in qualifying and hopefully race for some points."
24 . V. Liuzzi - Force India Mercedes VJM02
I don't think I'm yet at the pace where I was two years ago, when I was completely confident about the car. I think there is still a lot to come. It was a big shame for the team that we couldn't score points in Monza, but I feel happy because fortunately I saw that once the car is fast and competitive I can give a good performance and I can fight with the big guys in the World Championship. We've been working in the simulator to get to know it better, but it will be a much tougher event. We'll have to see how the car is there because it's a completely different circuit, with really high downforce, so everything can change."