Could Singapore GP spell bad news for Red Bull?

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are keen to see how the new layout in Singapore will present opportunities and challenges.

Anticipation is mounting as Formula 1 teams prepare to take on the reconfigured Singapore Grand Prix circuit, with drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez expressing their eagerness to conquer the challenges posed by the revamped track.

The most significant alteration for the 2023 season is the replacement of Turns 16-19 with a flat-out straight connecting Turns 15 and the former Turn 20, which was a medium-speed right-hander. 

This substantial modification has drastically reduced lap times by nearly 20 seconds, leaving the drivers and teams with several intriguing adjustments to make.

The construction works that necessitated this change have eliminated the familiar snaking section under the grandstand, creating an entirely new dynamic for the race. 

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While the removal of this section has reduced lap times, it has also disrupted car setups. 

Teams are now unable to employ their typical levels of downforce, making the braking zone for the new Turn 16 a potential overtaking opportunity. 

However, it’s worth noting that there will be no DRS (Drag Reduction System) on the new section, which could affect overtaking strategies.

Despite the challenges posed by the altered track, Max Verstappen, who is on a quest for his 11th consecutive victory, is excited about the changes. 

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He remarked, “I’m looking forward to the night race in Singapore; Marina Bay is a cool circuit. 

“This year it will be interesting to see how the revised track layout will impact the general behaviour and setup of the car; I think the lap times will be much quicker. 

“Singapore is probably going to be the most challenging weekend out of the upcoming races as the stakes are heightened on a street circuit, and the field is usually very close, not to mention the heat and humidity. 

“Last year we had a very unlucky weekend; hopefully, this year it will go a bit better, and we’ll, of course, do our best to make sure we score maximum points this weekend.”

Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, enters the race weekend as the defending race-winner at Marina Bay and is celebrating a remarkable milestone—his 250th Grand Prix start, becoming only the 11th driver to achieve this feat. 

Perez reminisced about his previous triumph in Singapore, stating, “Last season was probably one of the best races of my career; it was such a hard one to navigate, with the heat, the track conditions, and the concentration that is required around a street circuit. 

“Of course, I would love to repeat the win, but it will be tricky; the new track layout is going to make things quicker in sector three, and there will be rain, so it could be fun! 

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“This weekend is my 250th race in Formula 1, and I never would have imagined I would race an F1 car that many times when I started my career. 

“It has been a dream, and I am proud to have represented Mexico all over the world for this many years, and I would love to give them another win this Sunday. 

“I have a one-off helmet to mark the moment, and I think it’s going to look very special under the lights at night.”