The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix is one of the world’s great sporting events, but also makes for a mega holiday for the whole family. Stewart Bell looks at the 2018 edition from all angles.
The finest racers going wheel-to-wheel at up to 320km/h under lights, incredible live performances from the hottest acts in music, and unlimited dining, shopping and relaxation options, all in the heart of one of the world’s great cities – it could only be the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.
It’s been a firm fan favourite right from the outset in 2008, when TV pictures of the inaugural event were beamed around the world and millions of people said, “I want to be there!” And it’s no exaggeration to say that F1’s original night race was a real game changer, with its bespoke lighting system from Italian specialist firm DZ Engineering making the impossible possible.
And this year’s 11th edition promises plenty of excitement, with F1 in the middle of a thrilling season that not only has close racing throughout the field, but three iconic teams at the front: Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing – and at least six drivers on for the Singapore win, including Perth-born racer Daniel Ricciardo.
And it’s all on the line for dual four-time F1 World Champions, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who are duking it out for a fifth title to match the Maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio.
Both have had lots of Singapore success in the past, with Hamilton having won the event three times, while Vettel holds the record with four. And with just 30 points between them in the standings right now, it’s game on.
For Australians, it’s a seriously easy trip with Singapore just a short flight from most capital cities, and just a few days needed either side of a weekend, so light on the annual leave.
Plus, Aussies have always had a driver to cheer on – firstly with Mark Webber, and now 29-year-old Ricciardo, who could take victory this year, his Red Bull Racing car well suited to Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Ricciardo also knows how good the race is for fans, with his family and friends normally flying in every year for the event.
“Logistically, it’s fairly convenient, but it’s a cool race,” Ricciardo says. “There are not many night races we do. Singapore, as a city, there’s a lot going on. It’s just a good atmosphere I think. And because it’s a street circuit you can get quite close to the action. So for spectators I think you can see us brushing past the walls in a few places and with the sparks coming off the cars it’s quite a spectacle.”
On-Track: Get Into the Glamour of Racing
Nothing beats being trackside in Singapore, especially after an Australian winter, with the warm tropical weather bringing on the party atmosphere, the circuit lit up spectacularly against the futuristic city backdrop, and entertainment options galore – wherever you look.
On track, the action never stops – with F1 and top sportscar support categories: Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
Getting into the event, there’s an option for every budget, with walkabout tickets allowing you to do just that, grandstands for a better view and hospitality for the SVIP experience. Single-day walkabout tickets start from just S$128 (approx. AUD$122).
For a great view of the action at the start of the lap, grab seats at the Turn 1 Grandstand, or even the Turn 3 Premier Grandstand. The Connaught Grandstand will provide views of the cars heading over the Esplanade Bridge and up the short straight to Turn 14, while the Padang Grandstands are perfect for music fans keen to get close to the live performances.
Whatever option you choose, you’ll have a great view of the F1 drivers working the wheel – in the toughest environment, with it being up to 60 degrees Celsius in the cars at racing speeds, and a maximum of 4.7G experienced under braking and in the corners. One mistake and they’re heading to the scene of the accident.
“A street circuit already requires a high level of concentration – and doing that with the humidity of Singapore is fun but challenging,” Ricciardo says.
“It’s the one race of the year where you can’t open your visor to get cool air, and it’s actually worse because all the humidity and heat of the car just stays inside the streets as it doesn’t have anywhere to go.”
Off-Track: Lots to See and Do
You’ll certainly never be bored at the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, with the whole Circuit Park a feast for the eyes from wherever you look.
Head to the support category paddocks to explore all the exotic racing cars that are either waiting to be raced or cooling down from track time, while kids both young and old can get their hearts racing with interactive activities such as the Pit Stop Challenge, where you can challenge the Singapore GP off track pit crew by changing a tyre.
You can also get behind the wheel of an F1 race simulator for a few laps of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and test yourself against the top times.
Music fans will be in heaven, with the 11th edition’s entertainment line-up sure to be one of the best-ever with headline acts including Martin Garrix, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Jay Chou, Dua Lipa, Simply Red, The Sugarhill Gang, Björn Again, Sekai No Owari, Young Fathers and many more.
Go the SVIP Option in Singapore
For the SVIP treatment, book into the Formula 1 Paddock Club, where the who’s who rub shoulders in an exclusive enclave designed to not only put you closer to the action, but also immerse you in unbridled luxury. It is, absolutely, the finest way to enjoy Formula 1.
What makes Singapore’s Formula 1 Paddock Club incredibly special is that set around The Garden is a series of world-class restaurants, serving the finest and freshest cuisine on the planet from some of the world’s most talented chefs. It’s like a tour of the world’s best restaurants within an F1 event.
All this, before you consider the unrivalled view of the action from the Paddock Club suites, or the daily Pit Lane Walk, where you can enjoy exclusive access to see the mechanics work on the F1 cars in the team garages. You’d have to be a Grand Prix driver to get a closer view.
For a different VIP experience, why not try the event’s cutting-edge hospitality concept known as Twenty3 – which makes its debut in 2018. Located at the exit of the final turn, from which it takes its name, Twenty3 features luxe furnishing, multiple dining options, live music and bespoke entertainment areas. It also has to be one of the only places in the world where you can watch F1 cars race at up to 320km/h while busting out moves on the dance floor.
Wherever you go at the event, though, you’re sure to have a great time with the buzz in Singapore unlike anywhere else. It’s sure to be a trip that you, and your family and friends, will never forget.
The FORMULA 1 2018 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX will be held from September 14–16, with tickets available at singaporegp.sg. To book your hospitality package, please contact the corporate sales team at +65 6731 5900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.