Singapore Grand Prix start delayed due to heavy downpour

Jon Wilde
Marshals sweeping water off the track. Singapore GP. October 2022.

Marshals sweeping water off the track. Singapore Grand Prix October 2022.

Heavy rain has caused a delay of more than an hour to the start of the Singapore Grand Prix.

Around 80 minutes before lights out was originally due to happen at Marina Bay, dark clouds gathered and the first drops of rain began to fall.

That quickly turned into a deluge, with reports indicating the rain would continue for at least the next half hour.

The FIA then announced a 30-minute delay to the start, with a minimum of 10 minutes’ notice to be given for the start procedure to commence. A further update was due to be given 30 minutes after the initial announcement.

When the race does begin, Charles Leclerc is due to start on pole position in his Ferrari ahead of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Max Verstappen, who has a chance to wrap up a second Drivers’ title if results go his way in Singapore, will start down in eighth after being ordered by Red Bull to abort his final qualifying lap due to a fuelling issue.

George Russell starts from the pit lane instead of 11th after Mercedes changed his entire power unit overnight.

Thirty minutes before the original start, a further announcement was made to say more news would be issued in 15 minutes.

That announcement merely kicked the can down the road by another 10 minutes, with the next bulletin due at 12.55pm BST.

As the rain stopped and the Safety Car had been for a recce, Race Control announced the formation lap would take place at 14:05, an hour and five minutes later than originally scheduled.

That meant the full pre-race procedure, complete with national anthem etc, would take place as usual – with the grand prix looking increasingly unlikely to go its full 61-lap distance, especially in the highly likely event of a Safety Car period.

Sky F1 pundit Paul di Resta summed up the feelings of many fans when he questioned why the start process could not have been fast-tracked.

“What was the problem with 10 minutes ago saying ‘you’ve got 10 minutes, we’re opening (the pit lane), go to the grid,” said the Scot.

“Because the time has already started ticking, get it under way – we owe the fans and everyone sitting there.

“Yes, go through the grid procedure but get the race started half an hour earlier and give it a chance. If there’s a red flag or a Safety Car you’re denying the entertainment of what this race can hold.

“We’ve been denied coming here because of COVID – let’s get it under way, let’s get moving, that’s what the drivers want and everyone. Why are we waiting?”

It was subsequently confirmed that the three-hour race clock, in which the grand prix has to be completed, would only start when the formation lap begins.