The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Red Bull bucking for Singapore

Red Bull bucking for Singapore

FORMULA ONE: Any Ferrari fans still revelling in Charles Leclerc’s drought-breaking victory at Monza two weeks ago best prepare themselves for an inevitable return to earth ahead of what’s likely to be a painful weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix.

By Michael Lamonato

Friday 20 September 2019, 06:04PM

Drivers gather at the start line of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore. Photo: AFP

Drivers gather at the start line of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore. Photo: AFP

The Scuderia resumed from the mid-season break with two back-to-back victories in Belgium and Italy to banish memories of 12 painfully fruitless races in the first half of the season. The super-fast nature of these circuits handsomely rewarded Ferrari’s powerful engine and forgave its lack of downforce, allowing the Italian team to nose ahead of Mercedes at both, albeit only just.

But here the red resurgence ends. Formula One is embarking on its final run of seven races, and Singapore, the first among them, will only bring out the worst in Ferrari’s SF90.

Whereas the preceding two races barely penalised Ferrari’s inefficient aerodynamic package, Singapore’s 23 corners will punish it heavily, and with less than half of the lap taken at full throttle, its engine has little opportunity to claw back any of the lost time.

The similarly slow Monaco and Hungarian grands prix make for a grim preview. In Monte Carlo the fastest Ferrari was 0.781 seconds off pole and behind both Mercedes and Red Bull Racing, and though in Budapest that margin had shrunk to half a second, both drivers finished more than a minute behind race winner Lewis Hamilton.

“We need to stay realistic,” Leclerc admitted. “We expected that Spa and Monza would be very good races for our car, but we also know that the next few races will be a lot more difficult.

But whereas Ferrari has taken a step backwards since last season, when it started the Singapore weekend as favourite, Red Bull Racing remains a constant danger.

The Austrian team has sent at least one of its drivers to the Singapore podium in the last nine years, and in 2018 Max Verstappen was a race-long threat to Hamilton’s win, having run the Briton close in qualifying despite suffering engine problems.

Mitsu Tiansin Motors

“The track is very demanding… but it’s one of my favourites,” Verstappen said. “We’re aiming for maximum points and I’m really looking forward to it.”

In the sister car Thai driver Alex Albon will make his debut Singapore appearance, but the 23-year-old is unfazed by his best opportunity yet to claim a maiden front row and podium finish.

“Singapore is also kind of a home race for me as it’s the closest grand prix to Thailand, so I’ll have extra family and sponsors coming to support me which makes it even more exciting.”

Only Mercedes stands in its way, but despite winning the last three Singapore grands prix, the German marque can’t expect an easy weekend.

The ever-present South-East Asian heat and humidity make the Singapore Grand Prix the most physically demanding race on the calendar, and the seemingly endless string of corners and bumpy public roads taxes the drivers’ concentration to its limits over 61 laps, but it’s equally challenging for machine as for man. With so few straights, engines and brakes have little opportunity to cool themselves, threatening technical failure.

This is a particular difficulty for Mercedes and its aggressively packaged bodywork. The Austrian Grand Prix, run in the height of the European heat wave, exposed the German marque’s inadequate cooling, leaving Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to limp home third and fifth.

It’s all music to the ears of Red Bull Racing in its quest for a third win in 2019.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Be the first to comment.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Phuket young albino buffalo struck by car on main road

K...the article states, "We have not yet decided if the driver will face any charges" No m...(Read More)

Phuket young albino buffalo struck by car on main road

i hope the buffalo was insured and his registration and license were up to date. the buffalo obvious...(Read More)

A Meal With… Craig Burton, putting diet facts on the table

PN,you can censor as much as you want. The article is still an advertisement ! And I still can save ...(Read More)

Wife stabs husband with broken bottle over refusal to fix fan

Nice...probably will just be taken as another "misunderstanding". A couple knees to the mi...(Read More)

Phuket Property Guide: COVID impact and bargain hunters

Thai Banks are doing very well with their exchange rates. And don't forget the millions thai te...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: The waiting game

Edward Reumann i think this is so because they are at least a little bit educated and know therefore...(Read More)

Sustainably Yours: Reimagining Phuket

Thailand avoided colonialism with traditional practises in places continuing. With new innovation b...(Read More)

China says virus pushing US ties to brink of ’Cold War’

POTUS and fat pig Pompeo should keep their dirty mouths shut. Maybe the US produced the virus in one...(Read More)