September 21, 2010
It takes place entirely at night. This'll be the third time Singapore has hosted a race on the Marina Bay Street Circuit... let's take a look at the track map:
As a spectacle, Singapore is wonderful. The cars shimmer and gleam under the fifty-gazillion overhead lights, in a way they don't anywhere else. A highway flies over the front straight, there are two bridges involved with the circuit, and the cars actually run underneath some of the seating grandstands, just to make everything all that much cooler. As a street circuit, there are many buildings lining the circuit, many of which are beautifully lighted themselves. From the air, the track itself glows, looking like a ribbon of light against the dark background.
As a racetrack however, Singapore leaves a lot to be desired. The heat and humidity makes it a chore to race on, like a cross between Monaco (for the narrowness) and Sepang (for the heat). Last year, officials resurfaced many of the turns in an attempt to smooth out the hideously bumpy breaking zones. Despite this, the drivers still asked for them to be improved. Reportedly they've been ground down again. The curbs have been lowered as well, as the teams thought that they might actually break a suspension going over them. There's few passing zones, and a mistake at any time will put you into the Armco and out of the race.
But it looks cool.
It's pretty clear that to have a good race at Singapore, we're going to need rain. In 2008, HWMNBN got the win after his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr intentionally crashed to give him an advantage. 2009 brought us a flat-out boring race that saw a runaway Lewis Hamilton victory. The weather forecast calls for showers and thunderstorms all weekend, so we might just get F1's first night-rain race. Let's hope so, just for entertainment's sake.
Of course, the good folks at SPEED will bring us every minute of Friday's second practice LIVE, from 830am to 1010am. Saturday will see the drivers go for pole during Qualifying, from 9am to 1030am. Finally, Sunday brings us the 2010 Grand Prix LIVE from 630am to 9am, with a replay from 12noon to 230pm. All times are Pond Central.
Finally, the FIA released the official engine usage list, and clarified if Grizzly Nick Heidfeld would have to deal with Pete Rose's engine penalties. Here's the updated list:
Mark Webber 6
Rubens Barrichello 6
Robert Kubica 6
Vitaly Petrov 6
Felipe Massa 8
Grizzly Nick Heidfeld 9
Everybody else has used 7 engines.
Unfortunately for Grizzly Nick, he will take a 10-spot penalty every time he uses a new engine from now on. Of course you can always use an old engine if you wish. Looking at this, it's clear that Mark Webber, current championship points leader, has an advantage over his rivals in that he's got two unboxed engines in hand, where everybody else only have, at best, one. What difference will this make, with five races left to go? We will see, won't we?
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 21, 2010 03:01 PM (+rSRq)
If I were Peter Sauber, I'd have to wonder what the point is of even running a car with this sort of penalty for what could be all of the remaining races; it would take a minor miracle for Heidfeld to even get into the points with this sort of handicap. OTOH, they could just blow off the points and turn Heidfeld's car into a test mule for components for the 2011 car.
Of course you can always use an old engine if you wish.
Can a team repair a worn or damaged engine without it counting as a new engine under the rules? That assumes a F1 engine can be repaired like a road car's engine; I'm guessing that when something lets go at 18,000 rpm, the results are catastrophic.
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at September 21, 2010 05:33 PM (c62wM)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 21, 2010 06:01 PM (+rSRq)
The penalty comes into play whenever they need a new engine. If Sauber keeps reusing the same nine engines the rest of the way, they don't get penalized. I think the test mule is the way they'll be going since Grizzly Nick has zero experience in this car, but we'll see about that.
Peter, they can't rebuild the engine, per the tech regs. They can inspect it, borescope it, everything they can think of to make sure it's okay, but they can't replace or repair parts.
And yeah, if a F1 engine blows, it blows up reeeeal good.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 21, 2010 07:16 PM (blg68)
(This one is particularly spectacular, because the engine comes off the car and slides down the track.)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 21, 2010 09:01 PM (+rSRq)
Meanwhile, a F1 engine is designed to run at 600-700hp or so (teams don't release horsepower statistics... ever) for two race weekends at least. They also weigh about 200lbs, and can fit into a shoebox (I'm exaggerating, but not by much).
Perhaps I'm just impressed by the reliability. A F1 engine idles at around 7000rpm. The Duckmobile's tach maxes out at 7000, and I think the only way I could get it that high would be to hang the car from the ceiling and bury the accelerator.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 21, 2010 09:34 PM (blg68)
Also the fuel is different. Nitromethane is pretty much high-explosive in liquid form.
F1 uses gasoline, doesn't it? (Like 130 octane, but it's gasoline?)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 22, 2010 10:07 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: David at September 22, 2010 10:45 AM (oyblT)
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 22, 2010 12:17 PM (OS+Cr)
Most pump gas is in the high 80's.
Of course, I suppose that "high power" is a relative term. It's still not like nitromethane.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at September 22, 2010 07:54 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at September 22, 2010 08:27 PM (9KseV)
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 22, 2010 08:31 PM (blg68)
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 22, 2010 08:35 PM (blg68)
Posted by: David at September 22, 2010 10:17 PM (rlE2m)
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