To celebrate the return of the richest sport in the world, we’ve tracked down a man who thrives on the stench of engine oil, motor roars and intense heat. Oliver Hall, from sports sponsorship business Affinity Partnerships, lets rip on the tough F1-related questions you were too shy to ask.
Where’s the best place to see drivers overtaking?
As it’s a street race, it’s difficult to overtake on the Marina Bay circuit. The track is tight but most of all, the concrete barriers lining the track offers the drivers no “run off” area if they make a mistake.
The most likely place to see drivers overtaking is in the braking area leading to turn seven. The DRS (drag reduction system), introduced to F1 in 2011, allows the following driver to mechanically reduce aerodynamic “drag” with an adjustable flap on the rear wing of his car to have top speed advantage on a specific straight “activation” zone on the track. There is only one DRS zone along Marina Boulevard. A chasing driver will be faster along that straight and is likely to be alongside their competitor into the braking zone for turn seven – it’s a tricky move so overtaking won’t be straightforward.
How do we pace ourselves for the whole weekend?
The buzz and excitement surrounding the F1 should keep you going. I recommend taking advantage of all the sights and sounds the weekend has to offer. However, more than anything else, stay hydrated. And alcohol doesn’t count!
What’s the best F1 party?
In my opinion, Amber Lounge is. You’re most likely to be partying alongside F1 drivers and the F1 VIP crowd. Everyone parties hard so don’t expect any wallflowers.
How can I bluff my way through the weekend?
Why bluff your way through a conversation when it’s so easy to learn a little about the sport? Just watch a race on the TV before the actual race weekend and browse through the F1 website. If you have more time, delve deeper into the sport and you’ll understand what makes the teams and drivers so remarkable. It’s guaranteed to make your weekend much more enjoyable.
But if you really need a quick bluff, comment on how difficult it has been to keep the 2012 spec Pirelli tyres in their optimum operating window and cross your fingers that you’re not speaking to a hardcore F1 fan!
What should we take?
Water, earplugs and a fully charged mobile phone with camera. Having the F1 phone app helps, of course. Earplugs are essential; with them in you can still hear the noise of the engines and enjoy the spine-tingling sound of a V8 race engine at 18,000 rpm, which is more than twice the rpm of a regular car engine.
Where are the human traffic jams to avoid?
It’s going to be busy, but the event organisers, Singapore GP, do a fantastic job to minimise the jams. Avoid the bridges over the circuit, as they are always packed. Instead, use the MRT and various underground walkways to effectively move from one side of the track to another.
Grandstand or walkabout ticket (or should I watch it on the telly)?
It’s entirely up to your personal preference and budget. Don’t think of the walkabout ticket as a “budget” ticket that’s not as good as a grandstand ticket; it’s just a different experience. For the walkabout ticket, you’ll see more of the track and possibly get closer to the cars as the viewing platforms provided to walkabout tickets holders are great. It’ll be hot though, so if you prefer not to walk and want a designated place to sit, get a grandstand ticket.
Don’t just watch it at home! Go out and experience the amazing atmosphere. Not many people in the world are fortunate enough to have an F1 race in their city and Singapore GP has the best atmosphere in the world.
When does the actual race start?
F1 cars are on track on Friday, 21 September, for practice, and Saturday for practice and qualifying rounds. Sunday is the warm-up and actual night race. Other races supporting the F1 are the Junior Formulas and Porsche racing which are full of action and great to watch. The F1 race starts at 8pm on Sunday.
Who’s playing live?
The headline acts this year are Maroon 5 and Katy Perry. Other acts include Jay Chou, Noel Gallagher, Pretenders, Bananarama and The Proclaimers.
What’s the food like at the track?
In my opinion, food is never the most exciting experience at large events like these, but the various food outlets around the track offer a good variety. Queues are also not as long as at other F1 venues.
If I want to be popular, which driver and/or team should I support?
If you want to be popular, buy everyone at the bar a drink. Every team and driver has a different personality so it’s best if you get a feel for that and support whichever you feel an affinity with. If you really have an aversion to being different in Singapore, then support Ferrari.
Gear us up with a good fact
Fernando Alonso, 31, who currently races for Ferrari, has been named the highest earning Formula One driver in the latest Forbes Magazine rich list with a net earning of US$32 million between June 2011 and June 2012. He ranks 19th on the Forbes’ list of highest paid athletes in the world.