If you are a trivia fanatic, let us treat you to some facts about the annual race to impress (or bore) your date. Sit back, relax, and let the fun begin with our eight facts and secrets from the Singapore F1 night race.
1. THE TRACK IS 4X BRIGHTER THAN A STADIUM
Though the 5.067km Marina Bay Street Circuit is not the only street race in the F1 season, it was the inaugural night race. Let's face it - the street lights just won't cut it, because F1 drivers will need to race with absolute clarity.
Fitted along the track are nearly 1500 lighting projectors, each consisting of a projector with internal reflectors that project the light beams at different angles to prevent it from blinding the drivers.
Surely, we are jesting, right? Wrong, because each projector is armed with a 2000 watt white metal halide lamp, which lights up the circuit up to four times brighter than a stadium. You might want to wear a pair of shades to go with the ear plugs when you tour the F1 track this weekend.
2. MANHOLES ARE WELDED SHUT
Ah, the smell of burnt rubber and asphalt. But did you know that during its inaugural year, the Marina Bay Street Circuit was resurfaced with an asphalt surface that uses Polymer Modified Binder (PMB) to withstand the high shear forces exerted by the race cars during the F1 race? Speaking of forces, the high speed generated by the supercar might fling manhole covers free. To prevent the flying frisbee of death, the manhole covers are changed and welded shut before every race.
3. F1 TEAMS USE APPS TO WIN RACES
Unknown to many, each F1 vehicle is mounted with over 100 sensors that report the acceleration, braking speed and a multitude of data to the driver’s team.
Companies such as SAP developed an app for the McLaren team to monitor temperature change in tyres and predict likely stress areas on vehicles during the race. Gathered data is crunched by SAP analytics, which reveals important facts such as the best areas to brake or accelerate for the best speeds.
The app also comes with a 3D render that lets the team zoom into specific parts of the vehicle, allowing them to identify potential problems and arresting them before issues such as engine failures or a blown gasket kicks in.
4. AIR JUST WONT DO
Did you know know nitrogen is used to fill F1 tyres? Boring old air has a fluctuating pressure which is inherently unstable and could affect the performance of the vehicle. Nitrogen on the other hand benefits from a consistant pressure and is easier to manage. Plus, the tyres need all the help they can get, as they are designed to last only 90 to 120km and lose about 0.5kg per race due to wear and tear.
5. F1 ENGINES LAST FOR ONE RACE ONLY
With approximately 80,000 components built into an F1 vehicle, each vehicle has to be assembled with precise accuracy. Even a mere 0.01% error in the assembly could mean 80 wrong components, which leads to two things - 1) crash and 2) burn. And the engine, oh the poor engine - after the two-hour race, these badboys are retired for good, whereas normal engine can keep going for 20 years.
6. Braking makes drivers cry
At such extreme speeds, an equally strong braking force is required to grind the car to a halt. Even with all the anticipation in the world, each driver will feel as if they are slammed into a brick wall at a speed of nearly 300km/h whenever they brake. The sheer impact is so strong that drivers' tear ducts squirt water into their visors.
7. PIT FUEL IS PUMPED AT 12L PER SECOND
While Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel have lightning reflexes to swerve through the Marina Bay Street Circuit, their teams are just as quick. Like most backend personnel, the pit crew are every team's unsung heroes. Each member works harmoniously with each other to achieve a three-second tyre change and refuel. Did you know that the refueling rig pumps 12 litres per second to the car? Imagine that - filling your normal car in just four to five seconds!
8. DRIVERS LOSE UP TO 4KG PER RACE
We know it’s hot as hell (well, figuratively speaking) in Singapore, but the weather is not what's really hot at the Singapore grand prix. In little over an hour, F1 drivers are exposed to sauna-like conditions in the cockpit, causing them to lose between two to three litres of water in each race. It’s no wonder that drivers are required to drink up to eight litres of water to keep themselves fully hydrated. Get in line if you want a quick solution for your slimming regime. An F1 driver loses up to 4kg of weight per race, though the weight is regained just as easily.