One of the other (subtle) reasons to come back to Singapore was to take part and witness the fantastic spectacle that is the Formula One Night Race on the streets of Singapore. It’s still an amazing sight, seeing the City Centre transform from a buzzling shopping and sightseeing district to an electrifying show that lasts across 3 days. In fact, the best time to walk around is when they first shut off the roads to traffic on Wednesday afternoon. It is just surreal, as you walk around the circuit as they make the final touches, and you know a couple of days later millions of dollars worth of motor car would be zooming by on the very road that you are walking along. It’s also interesting how they transform the circuit itself, removing some of the traffic lights, street lights and kerbs to make it a proper and fully-fledged F1 circuit.
This year, I decided to celebrate it across the 3 days of the race – plus a sneak preview viewing – including the Thursday evening to welcome a old work colleague from the UK who was passing on through Singapore.
Wednesday, 18th September – the traffic shut-down day
A couple of days before, the teams have all arrived to acclimatise and ‘feel’ the circuit. After work, a colleague and I went down to Turn 13 by Raffles Place (by Gate 6) to enter the circuit and walk around. We walked towards City Hall along Esplanade Drive before making it around to St Andrews Road, before come back past the Fullerton Hotel near to the Anderson Bridge. A nice and relaxing view, and we managed to bag some great photos.
Thursday, 19th September – the day before the race
A ex-colleague from the UK was travelling through Singapore for a work-trip, so after work we decided to go to Marina Bay Sands and the Ku De Ta sky-bar for some well-deserved drinks after work. It was a great buzz up there, although we failed to see any F1 drivers – who apparently usually turn up during on the few nights preceding a race. We took some wicked photos from the viewing platform, as it is amazing to see the Singapore sky-line lit-up with the F1 street lights. Amazing sight in deed!
We then decided to head down towards the pit area – and although we couldn’t go onto the pit straight itself, we stayed around Raffles Boulevard and the pit entrance to see if we can see any drivers pass by. We were told that Alonso had already walked on by, as apparently the drivers cycle, drive, or walk the circuit to get familiar with it. After about 20 minutes in the humid night skies, we decided to head on to the hotel, so we can say our goodbyes, before the rest of us went into a taxi and on our way back home.
Friday, 20th September – Practice Day
After work, I headed down to Turn 13 again, and went through the gates. I wanted to take the opportunity to try out a few good vantage spots for Qualifying and Race day. This area was good, but it was far too fast to really enjoy a good view. I then went back to Turn 11-12, and this bit was quite nice – as it a slow chicane. The sounds were electrifying and went straight through your body. I joined a couple of mates and we stayed around the City Hall Zone 4 area – to take the sights and enjoy the atmosphere. We didn’t want to stay for the concert after the racing, so for some grub at City Hall. The Mos Burger was ‘okay’ but really was needed before I headed back home to sleep on the busy MRT.
Saturday, 21st September – Qualifying Day
I took it easy in the morning, as I knew it would be a long day ahead. I headed down around 430 ish to enjoy the first few sessions of the Porsche Carrera Asia Cup and the GP2 races (practice, qualifying etc). I then headed across to Zone 1 and 2 to take advantage of this area. I got some good, and drinks, and ended up on the viewing platform at the last corner before the pits/home-straight. A great feeling here, as you can look down at the pit entrance and the pit straight area, as well as the final turning and circuit. I then agreed to meet up an ex-colleague who was with his friends at Zone 4, so headed back towards City Hall. We chilled around the Padang area, enjoyed some food, some refreshing beers, and then readied ourselves for the Killers concert – which would start after the F1 Qualifying had finished.
The concert started, and we had a great area to enjoy the show – it was fantastic, great choons, great atmosphere, great company. The Killers rock – just a shame that we only had an hour and a half set – wish it was far longer Just makes me more prepared to see them in concert on their next world tour
Sunday, 22nd September – Race Day
On Sunday, I wanted to arrive early and enjoy the view. I decided to stay around Zone 1 and 2 – and whilst watching the Porsche Race and GP2 motor cars, I think I found a great corner just before Turn 5, it’s a nice corner, but there was this great viewing platform as the cars get close to the fence, and slow for the corner. After about an hour of watching, I decided to visit the Singapore Flyer – which is complimentary for Zone 1 ticket holders. It was a great time to visit, as it was just before Race started – so saw the Parade lap and the great pit straight, as the mechanics put the finishes touches on the F1 cars. After the 30 minute trip on the Flyer, I returned to my Turn 5 viewing platform, and enjoyed the race spin by. What a wicked atmosphere – truly love it!
As the race was getting towards the end, I raced (excuse the pun) back to Zone 4 and the Panang to meet up a friend from work, to enjoy Rihanna’s concert. After getting trapped behind some fencing, it turned out to be an access to the Mosh Pit was. After about 30 minutes waiting, they let us through, and I ended up right up close to the stage, just on the right hand side. It was a great area, and you could feel the vibe throughout. The concert itself was pretty average, I didn’t really like the dance routines, although the songs were pretty good. Personally, I am glad I saw it, ‘cos really just made up my mind that I would pay to see her in concert again
The only thing I didn’t managed to do, this time around, was walk along the pit straight, which opens up at the end of the race. Last time I did that, it was fantastic, as you can view the winning cars in the pits, within the Parc Ferme from the pit fence.
Now the magic question, should I purchase the Early Bird Tickets for 2014’s race…haha!
All in all – an incredible week of events leading up to a great race…it was Vettal’s race, so he deserved the win.