This year’s Singapore Grand Prix will have one major difference, as the Marina Bay Street Circuit takes on a new layout for 2023.
The third sector has been reprofiled due to construction work taking place, which is creating the Marina Bay Floating Platform.
While a temporary change for this year, this has removed four corners from the track, creating a longer straight in the third sector and removing the section of track which previously saw the drivers weave their way underneath a grandstand.
How will these track changes affect the Singapore Grand Prix?
In line with the construction work taking place, the number of corners has dropped from 23 to 19, and because of the slow nature of the four corners that are being removed this year (previously Turns 16-19), lap times are expected to speed up by around 10 seconds per lap.
This has also shortened the circuit by just over 100 metres, down from 5.067km to 4.928km, and the resulting drop in distance means that an extra lap will take place around Marina Bay – with 62 racing laps to come on Sunday.
A potential new overtaking opportunity?
The run out of the 90-degree Turn 14 and through the left-handed kink of Turn 15 was an abrupt braking zone before the drivers snaked their way through two chicanes, which took them underneath the grandstands.
This year, they will end up at the same place, with the right-left chicane of Turns 20-21 now being Turns 16 and 17, but the difference will be that the drivers will have an additional straight around 400 metres long after Turn 15, offering an opportunity to slipstream and a bigger braking zone for anyone brave enough to try a pass.
A slightly faster, less demanding Singapore Grand Prix for the drivers?
The drivers train all year to be fit and primed for the Singapore Grand Prix, with average lap speeds being among the slowest of the year and the race often heading towards the two-hour limit for drivers, all while in some of the most humid conditions of the season.
This is what contributes to it often being dubbed the most physically demanding race on the calendar, but the removal of several corners should take some of the strain away from the drivers lap by lap.
The heat and humidity will still play a big part in proceedings, though the time it takes to complete the race may be brought down by these track changes.
“I think it’s interesting,” Haas driver Kevin Magnussen said ahead of the weekend. “It’s probably going to make it slightly less demanding physically, it’s going to be faster, so it’s probably going to last for a shorter time so we’ll lose less liquid and be slightly less demanding. Whether that will change anything for us as a team, time will tell.”