15 September 2014

Formula One - Singapore GP 2014 - Preview

Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado share their thoughts on the challenges of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Singapore GP, 2014, preview, Romain GrosjeanRomain Grosjean

Street Entertainer

"Singapore has a completely unique vibe"

How much do you enjoy the challenge of Marina Bay?

The track is really impressive with some technical parts and some classic street circuit ‘ninety degree’ turns. There are a few decent straights but it is mainly busy, busy, busy for us, with corner after corner. Going over landmarks like the (Anderson) Bridge and down the Raffles Boulevard make for a fantastic sight from both the cockpit and also for the TV viewers. This year will be interesting with the new cars. As we saw at Monaco, I am sure that the drivers will be working very hard in the cockpit, especially getting the power down out of the tight turns. And if it is wet at any stage then it will be particularly interesting.

Any special preparations for the physical demands?

The key elements are sleep and water! It is well known that we stay on European time. Once you get used to waking up in the afternoon and then going to bed early morning, then it gets to be just routine. The race is long and I ensure that plenty of liquids are taken on board before the start of the race. It is crucial because if you get dehydrated then your thought process slows down and mistakes can easily be made. Like every Grand Prix I make sure that every last detail is in place before Sunday evening arrives.

What about the atmosphere of the place on Grand Prix weekend?

I really love racing at this track and in fact I love the country as a whole. The Singapore people are very friendly and it is nice to see so many coming downtown to the race. It has a completely unique vibe for the Grand Prix weekend and it takes on an ambience like nowhere else we go to.

What memories stand out for you at Marina Bay?

Qualifying in third place last year was nice, but then I had to retire, so the memory is a little mixed. Actually, it is still a good memory to have such a strong qualifying because I think that at a street circuit like Marina Bay, a driver always makes that little bit of difference to the ultimate lap time, a little more so than permanent tracks. In 2012 I got points for seventh place, after some good battles. So I have some nice recollections of racing here.

What were you able to take from Monza?

It was another difficult race after a bad start and then a few incidents. All in all it was important for the team to get two cars to the end but we will be hoping for much better at Singapore and I think we can head in to it with some renewed confidence.

Can you see Singapore offering a better chance of a result?

Compared to Monza the answer is definitely yes. Last weekend was a difficult one for us because the nature of the Monza track was like a penalty. Singapore offers less in terms of compromising the downforce for straight-line speed, so we should be able to fight higher up the grid. We managed to get some points at Monaco, so I am hoping we can achieve something similar on this street circuit too.

What are your aims and objectives for the remainder of the 2014 season?

Just to do the best we possibly can. It has been a tough season as we all know, but there are still some opportunities to get points. I will be racing as hard as ever to make sure we are in the best position we can be to achieve the maximum. I know this team well and they will be doing exactly the same.

Singapore GP, 2014, preview, Pastor MaldonadoPastor Maldonado

Pastor of his own destiny

"Marina Bay is a test but this is the reason we love to be F1 drivers"

What do you think the key will be to a good lap at Marina Bay this year?

The traction will be fundamental at Singapore, a really big factor. This is because the corners are generally slow and tight, so it means the way we exit them will be critical to ensure a good lap time. The 2014 spec cars will make it very interesting out there and I expect it to be very tricky, especially the first and third sectors. This is where a lot of time can be won or lost.

It will be tough to regulate the torque and the traction out of the slow speed corners. It will be a good challenge but a tough one lap after lap. It should look good for the spectators and TV viewers though. Marina Bay is a test, but this is the reason we love to be F1 drivers. There is something new and challenging every year for us to get to grips with, literally in this case!

A night and day improvement for us at Singapore?

It should be better at Singapore for us and a step forward from Monza. At this stage of the season it is not going to be a massive step, but we expect better things for sure. We will do our very best to make sure that we find a good balance for Singapore because it is a very particular track with lots of different challenges. Of course the one big challenge is the race and most of the other running happens later in the day.

Is Marina Bay a big physical challenge?

Yes it is. Overall it is a very demanding track where you get no rest at all really. You are constantly turning or braking and there are only two short straights, not enough to really have a proper rest. But I like it this way because you get a rhythm going quickly. Physically it is tough because the humidity is so high and the race so long, much longer than Monza for instance.

Do you enjoy racing at night?

To be honest it is not too different to racing in the day or at night. The main reason is quite simple – when we drive we do not look upwards, we are always focusing on what is straight ahead. The big change is the temperature of the tarmac which is slightly cooler at night. So we have a slightly different approach because of this. We have to adapt our styles a little and make sure we create heat in the tyres as much as we can.

Any issues with the body clock re-set?

As everyone knows, we stay on European time. Although some people say it is tough, I find it not to be too difficult. Once you have experienced it you get used to this way of living and it is only for a few days anyway. The physical demands are much harder because of the extreme humidity so I make sure I am very well hydrated in the days leading up to the race and of course during time in the cockpit. It is probably the most important part of our preparation.

Any stand-out moments for you in Singapore?

Probably qualifying second there in 2012. It’s a relentless track so putting together a lap good enough for the front row of the grid is extremely satisfying. Starting that race from P2 was brilliant and I was running high enough to be in contention for a podium-finish until the first safety car came out. It’s such an intense circuit to drive; getting to race it from the front end of the grid is great fun.

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Unlucky for Some

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FORMULA ONE - Hungarian GP 2014 Preview

Romain gives his thoughts on the Hungaroring where he’s enjoyed good results in the past and Pastor outlines his feelings heading to the last race before Formula 1’s summer break.

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