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Singapore GP: Wake up at 2pm, go to bed at 5am - the bizarre scenes from F1's night race  

  • It’s a bit weird when you come in at 4pm and you see people having a cup of tea with breakfast: Christian Horner @F1NightRace #SingaporeGP
Jamie Davies
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:33 IST

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The Singapore Grand Prix is not like any other race on the Formula One calendar.

The race under the lights in Marina Bay is not only famous for being the first night race in the history of Formula One back in 2008, it is also recognised as one of the most brutal tests for an F1 driver.

This is mainly due to the extreme heat Singapore throws at the drivers. The maximum temperature expected over the weekend in Singapore is 33 celsius. So just imagine the clothing an F1 driver has to wear because of health and safety reasons. Their helmet cover, the helmet itself and let's not forget the fire suits. That's just the basics.

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If you haven't been to Singapore before, just walking around the paddock behind the garages can cause much sweat in just shorts and a t-shirt. The drivers should expect to lose 4% of their body weight for a weekend's work in the Mandarin city.

The drivers have it really tough in terms of fitness and concentration on what is a tight circuit where mistakes can cause much misery.

READ: Exclusive: Red Bull capable of challenging Mercedes - Karun Chandhok

I'm at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix to give you access to what's happening behind the scenes and get a bit more of an insight of what the day-to-day routine is like for the drivers and the teams.

We had a chat with McLaren's Lando Norris, Williams' George Russell and Team Principals of Red Bull, McLaren, Renault and Haas.


Lando Norris (McLaren F1 Driver)

Lando Norris is competing in his first season in F1
Lando Norris is competing in his first season in F1

"It's not too bad, it's just a bit confusing that's about it.

"You go to sleep at the right times and every driver has their own trainers and specialists to look after you and making sure you are asleep at the right times, getting up at the right times.

"Although it is night when it is supposed to be the day and it is just opposite to the normal - everything is planned and a proper routine.

"It's just a bit confusing sometimes."

George Russell (Williams F1 Driver)

George Russell is also in his rookie season for Williams
George Russell is also in his rookie season for Williams

Russell. just moments after FP2, was at the back of the Williams garage and you could see the strain the course had caused the rookie.

He said: "The bizarre thing is we have different time zones so we spend so much time in the dark.

"Waking up at about two o'clock in the afternoon then going to sleep at about five in the morning. It's just odd as you can't go to dinner because everywhere is closed.

"It's actually just a bit inconvenient.

"As for driving on the track, you don't really notice any difference."

Zak Brown (Chief Executive Officer - McLaren)

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Final Practice

"Most of the drivers – well, I’m sure all the drivers stay on European time so I think for them they adjust, just like it’s any normal Grand Prix.

"Most of that is the case for the racing team. I think for the executives in the race team, such as myself, it becomes a much longer day.

"I got started this morning at about eight o’clock and we’ll do that each morning, so I can tell you, I’m more tired than normal, but I think for the majority of the racing team they just adjust the clock accordingly."

Christian Horner

F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Practice

"First of all it’s a great atmosphere to race at night.

"It’s a bit weird when you come in at 4pm and you see people saying good morning and having a cup of tea and breakfast, and then seeing drivers milling around the hotel at four o’clock in the morning.

"That whole shift of staying on a different time zone, it seems to work and I think the spectacle here is fantastic."

Cyril Abitetoul (Managing Director - Renault)

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice
F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice

"It’s a bit strange for your body because you try to stick to a time zone but everything around you is telling you something a bit different.

"It’s difficult not to either eat five times in a day or not at all in a day, so I’m trying to find a proper balance.

"It can look like long hours and what’s a bit sad is that we are completely detached from the city. Sometimes, when after work, we like to walk into the streets and get a feel for the city in which we are racing, if you walk out at three or four o’ clock… I’m not finishing that sentence (laughs)."

Guenther Steiner (Team Principal - Haas)

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice
F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice

"I think everybody’s doing it differently.

"There is not one thing everybody does the same. Everybody gets up when they want and has as many breakfasts as they want.

"I think that atmosphere is good and it’s different, so there’s something to talk about and that creates interest, racing at night.

"For sure, you’re a little bit confused, therefore I’m confused talking today so I’ve got an excuse for that as well."

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Published 21 Sep 2019, 15:31 IST
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