Formula 1’s original night race returns from 15 to 17 September, with Australians heading to the Lion City in the thousands. Stewart Bell explains why it is a must-go event.
It takes less than a minute to see why the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix is one of the world’s most significant events. The city-state is absolutely pumping, the weather is consistently balmy, and you’ve got elite motorsport – under lights – and the hottest music acts on centre stage.
No wonder the big crowds descend upon Singapore, with an average of 200,000 people jetting in annually for the Grand Prix, including a strong contingent from Down Under. And it’s a no-brainer for us Aussies, given the quick flight from all capital cities and the weekend format that makes it easy on annual leave.
2023 marks 15 years since the sport’s original night race joined the F1 calendar and made itself an instant classic. Those first TV pictures alone made you want to book tickets, given the sheer spectacle – with night racing in F1 previously thought impossible.
“I met with [Singapore GP Chairman] Colin Syn in 2008 and went along and had a look,” says veteran F1 commentator Martin Brundle. “I’ve got to be honest, I looked at the plans and then thought, ‘this will never be ready in a month of Sundays’. But, they – of course – did get into gear.”
The fans also got into gear, with thousands of Aussies set to head over for this year’s 14th edition – and for good reason.
Two Aussies on the grid
There will be, fingers crossed, two Aussies on the Singapore F1 grid for the first time since 2013, with Daniel Ricciardo racing for AlphaTauri, pending his rapid return from a broken metacarpal in his left hand sustained at the recent Dutch event and rookie Oscar Piastri at McLaren. But Singapore – the sport’s most physically demanding race – is set to challenge them both, and heat training pre-event will be critical.
“Fitness and concentration go hand in hand,” says Jenson Button’s former physio, Phil Young from GP Human Performance. “If you have a scenario where your fitness isn’t quite up to it, fatigue sets in, and you start to make mistakes because your concentration levels aren’t as good as they should be.
“At that point, they might be thinking more about ‘oh god, I feel tired, and I’m hot and whatever,’ whereas that shouldn’t be coming into your head. It should be all on the driving.”
Ricciardo and Piastri will be up against the world’s best in Singapore, including racers like Red Bull’s reigning F1 World Champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, Ferrari’s talents Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and Mercedes’ seven-time F1 World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, and his teammate George Russell. As ever, it’ll be a thrilling battle.
For the family, there’s so much to see and do
On the track, the action never stops, with the pinnacle of motorsport again supported by Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and TSS The Super Series.
Off-track, kids, both young and old, can get their hearts racing with a host of unique and interactive activities, such as the Pit Stop Challenge, where you can test yourself by changing an F1 tyre.
You can also get behind the wheel of a real race simulator for some laps of the Marina Bay Street Circuit to taste what the drivers experience.
Epic entertainment line-up
Right from the outset, the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix has been famous for booking the hottest music acts, ensuring that every night goes out with a bang! Former headliners include Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Bon Jovi, Jennifer Lopez, Robbie Williams, Queen+Adam Lambert, and Linkin Park.
2023 is expected to be the biggest yet, with this year’s headline acts including Robbie Williams, Post Malone, Kings of Leon, 88rising, Culture Club, Madness, and Groove Armada. And it doesn’t end there, with 80 hours of entertainment throughout the Circuit Park, comprising 139 artists across 13 stages.
Proudly, for us Aussies, some of our finest young acts will also be on the bill at this year’s event: die pop band San Cisco, neo-soul musician Meg Mac, and electronica pop band Safia.
Keen for more? Singapore buzzes with F1 fever during race week, with everyone out and about to soak up the atmosphere. You don’t have far to find unlimited sightseeing, relaxation, shopping and dining options just beyond the 799,000sqm Circuit Park (equivalent to 80 soccer fields).
“I think the way the city kind of gets around the race is cool,” says Aussie F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo. “I have had family and friends come to it. And they’ve only ever said good things, so it’s a good one.”
Budget or VIP, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience – with Singapore heating up as the F1 teams’ touchdown. This is one bucket list item that deserves to be enjoyed as soon as possible.
The Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2023 will be held from 15 to 17 September.
Find all the F1 info at singaporegp.sg