The Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix is like no other

The combination of running under lights late in the day with those lights glinting off the cars as they wend their way over bridges and around the normally bustling streets of this spectacular city with a backdrop of one of the worlds most amazing after dark skylines, complete with laser shows, is not replicated anywhere in the world.

Nothing in F1 compares to Singapore.

A late start to the track action each day in balmy, sometimes even oppressive, temperatures adds to the sense of uniqueness of this event.

The Singapore Grand Prix is also a time in the Grand Prix calendar, with just the end of season ‘fly away’ races to be completed, when those deals and even announcements are made concerning the future of the drivers and the sport.

As I have detailed on previous occasions, this season is more complicated than most in the sense that some very good young drivers may be ejected from the paddock, through no fault of their own, in what a clearly frustrated and angry Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described, concerning Mercedes contracted protégé Sebastian Ocon and his dealings with other team principals “There was so much politics in the background, hidden agendas, lies.”

Quite why Wolff and Mercedes think it is almost their right to have their own way with driver placement could also be a side bar point of discussion.

The feeling in the paddock, as described to me on many occasions in Singapore, is one of frustration; back room deals and power battles as the bottom and middle teams in the pit lane try to extract the best deal they can to suit their own ends.

Once again, business as usual I guess.

Ross Brawn at the press conference.

We also had a press conference chaired by Ross Brawn, F1’s Managing Director of Motor Sport, where he released and discussed the vision he has for the future look of Grand Prix racing, starting in 2021.

He said that “I see no reason why we cannot have exciting looking cars. It frustrates me when a car in a video game looks better than the car that we are racing out on track.”

Certainly the right attitude and the concept car that was shown looks exactly like, well, a car from a video game.

Sleek, purposeful, seemingly lacking in much of the almost universally hated ‘aero’ packages on the front wings and with the currently ugly afterthought of a halo looking much more a part of the car instead of the contraption plonked on top of the cockpit.

What was shown and discussed is very much a concept and the real thing will look nothing like it but it clearly indicates the direction the masters of the sport want to take and the main aim is for the cars and drivers to be able to follow closely, overtake and thereby improve the racing.

2021 F1 concept car.

All pretty much what the spectators, the fans, the drivers and anybody else with a modicum of sense has been demanding for some time now.

Predictably the concept design as shown did not meet with unanimous rapture among the teams with Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene describing it as “underwhelming” and others calling it a well rendered version of a child’s imaginary race car.

Brawn though says that all ten teams in the pit lane are now involved in the process and all are working on the concept design to look at ways of making it, or something similar, a reality.

On the face of it that sounds great but when have the ten teams, or even half of them, ever come up with any design for any part of a car that would not have been examined closely to see just where they can gain a singular advantage.

Ideas and improvements for the concept must be taken into account but it is the FIA, together with Ross Brawn’s men, who have to come up with the final rules and regulations governing the entire car to ensure that the final result of this concept becomes a racing reality.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton.

The Singapore Grand Prix weekend lived right up to it’s reputation with politics, driver movements and at a spectacular venue.

A great weekend for Lewis Hamilton, a not so great one for Sebastian Vettel who is now in danger of losing touch in the points race and a very ‘bumpy’ one for Sergio Perez who livened up an otherwise slightly processional affair.

The self styled ‘Home Of Formula 1 Night Racing’ is an event that remains a ‘must see’.

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Bob McMurray has had a long relationship with motor sport – especially Formula 1.  He spent over thirty years with the McLaren Formula 1 team and then many years as a commentator on TVNZ ONE . He is also regularly called upon to contribute to various TV and radio stations as the ‘expert comments’ person. For three years he was the CEO of A1 Grand Prix Team New Zealand. Bob is also a Director of two sports marketing companies. In 2006 Bob was awarded the ‘Motorsport Personality of the Year’ award and in 2007 the ‘Motor Trades Association Award for Contribution to Industry. He has also the subject of a successful and well-received book about life in Formula 1.   Bob was the presenter of the many Indy 500 shows produced for TVNZ One, as well as co producing and presenting the ‘Kiwis and Characters’ TV series.  He is currently the co-host of ‘The Driven Hour’ weekly radio show on Radio Sport, a columnist for the ‘New Zealand Herald’ and ‘Driven’ supplement, a Trustee of the MSNZ Scholarship Trust / Elite Academy and a Trustee of the ‘Kiwi Driver Fund’, a new initiative that aims to help aspiring New Zealand race drivers contest the Toyota Racing Series as well as being a regular F1 GP tour ‘host’, most recently at the 2017 Singapore and Malaysian Formula 1 Grands Prix. Very much still connected to F1, Bob gives Pit Talk Asia and exclusive look behind the scenes of the pinnacle of motorsport.