Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Singapore technical preview

Here is another technical preview ahead of this week-end GP

The 5.1km Singapore street circuit looks like being one of the slowest of the season, with teams likely to run with high downforce and projected lap times in the 1m45s region.

As a step into the unknown, the teams have been running computer simulations to get a rough idea of the ideal set-up required. In reality, though, it won't be until the cars take to the track on Friday morning that the teams will get a proper understanding of the demands of the track.


Much like Monaco, grip levels are likely to be low at the new Singapore street circuit. Therefore Bridgestone will supply the soft and super-soft compounds from its 2008 range, the very same compounds that were taken to Monaco, Budapest and Valencia.

This will offer good grip on what is expected to be a very green track surface at the beginning of the weekend. However, like any temporary circuit, grip levels will ramp up as the track evolves across the weekend and rubber is laid down.


After Monaco, Singapore looks like being the second slowest circuit of the season. The teams will therefore run with a high downforce package to give the car good stability under braking and to push the car into the ground in the corner exits to maximise traction and ensure good acceleration.

Initial simulations suggest that the circuit will be quite demanding on the brakes with wear rates being similar to somewhere like Melbourne. It is not the severity of the braking but rather the regularity that makes it so demanding as the brakes will get little respite. Efficient brake cooling is therefore a must.


Suspension set-up is one of the most difficult things to predict when planning for a new circuit. However, for any street circuit with a high percentage of low-speed corners, mechanical grip is always valuable and the team will work hard to ensure they give the drivers a supple enough suspension to get good clean exits out of the slow corners and a car that can ride the bumps and any changes of camber.
Engine and gearbox
Street circuits tend to be less severe on the engine due to the low percentage of the lap spent at full throttle, but the engine can still be under stress as it will be used in a very stop-start fashion. Closely-spaced gears ratios will be used at this circuit in order to optimise acceleration, and get the most from the engine at low speeds, while the engine teams will work on the mapping to ensure the engine delivers good torque from low revs, allowing early throttle application.

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