Mark previews the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix
Mark gets to live like a student for the next few days while he does battle at the Singapore Grand Prix. The event is the only night race on the Formula One calendar and the 8pm start time forces the drivers to offset their sleeping patterns.
“To ensure we’re at our peak for the start of the race,” says Mark, “we keep European time. We go to bed in the early hours of the morning and get up at lunchtime. It felt very strange the first time we did it in 2008, but it’s okay now. It’s what we do at this race, although there’s still a novelty factor.”
Even with the late start, the hot and humid conditions in the Tropics make it one of the toughest events of the year. Cockpit temperatures exceed 60 degrees and it takes close to two hours to complete the race, which has been interrupted by Safety Cars in all five editions of the Singapore GP to date.
“It can be pretty tough out there,” says Mark. “But we’ve done plenty of races in these conditions in the past, in Malaysia for example, and so we know how to prepare. It’s all about hydration. There are a few bumps on the track, which you feel throughout your body, but this place isn’t as physical as some tracks.
“In fact, the layout is quite repetitive. There are a lot of 90-degree lefts and rights – it’s quite like Abu Dhabi in that sense – and it can get quite frustrating to drive because you can only take an F1 car around a first gear corner at a certain speed. But you’ve got to deal with that and if you have to pinpoint a section of track to get right, it’s sector three. Seb [Vettel] and Fernando [Alonso] are both very good there.”
There have been a few changes to the layout since last year, most notably at Turn 10. The triple-apex chicane has been replaced by a left-hander slow left-hander.
“From a safety perspective that corner’s a step forward,” says Mark. “If you had a failure going into it beforehand, you’d have a big shunt and so it’s in better shape now. And my eyeballs won’t miss the triple apex chicane because you really thumped the car over the kerbs.”
As a final thought, Mark is very keen to spray more champagne on Sunday evening. He’s finished on the podium twice in Singapore and he wants another top result on his final visit.
“It’s not a case of wanting to fast-forward the last seven races,” says Mark. “I’m going to enjoy each and every race and I want to do well. I’ve prepared as well as I can for this race and I want to hit the middle step before the end of the year. It would be great to do that here.”
Jill and Brianon September 20, 2013 Reply
Please Mark try to enjoy your last few races in F1, your fans are totally behind you now and in your (and our) new venture. There are some more podiums to come, your the best mate and our champ. All the best Mark, we’re all with you
Craig Osborneon September 20, 2013 Reply
Well fuck me Mark , as an Australian who runs around a hot factory for a living it would be good If you could go out without sounding like a spoilt child. Sorry 7 billion people on this planet not 1. Go out with some class and not as a moaner.
*** SITE MANAGER *** Excuse me! Spoilt child! Are you reading the same story? Can only assume you’ve never watched the Singapore Grand Prix as it’s renowned for being tough on drivers and Mark, when asked for his thoughts, simply spoke about the challenges it presents everyone. You should check out Lewis Hamilton’s column at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24167438. He says much the same as do all drivers. No-one’s moaning; they just stating facts which are backed up by medical science. Here’s an interesting idea…. let’s send a sports scientist down to your hot factory Craig, to see if you’re operating with a core body temperature of 40 degrees C and crucially how you perform certain skills under such extreme conditions.
Robertaon September 22, 2013 Reply
C’mon Mark!!!! You can win!!! Good luck
Georgeon September 22, 2013 Reply
Thanks for all your great insights Mark over the years, love reading about the details down to a corner by corner analysis , temp , etc. go mate.
Daren Savyon September 22, 2013 Reply
Mark, us Aussies couldnt be happier for what you have archived for us and I’ll be wearing your shirt tonight to will you on to a famous Singapore win.
Carolon September 22, 2013 Reply
Good luck Mark – you are the best and we are looking forward to seeing you on the podium at Singapore – hopefully the middle step! We don’t want the end of the season to come quickly either, as we will really miss watching you race!
Tony Callanderon September 23, 2013 Reply
God Mark how unlucky YOU SEEM TO ALWAYS HIT A PROBLEM and Vettel does not Much as I hate to say it its still smacks of preferential treatment. On to the next race and wishing you better times there(cannot say luck as it seems to have deserted you this year)