F1 drivers want new Singapore layout to be permanent change

F1 drivers want new Singapore layout to be permanent change

The circuit was rerouted this year for local construction work in an area used for exhibitions and other major events, with four tight corners replaced by a longer section of straight.

Officially the new layout will be in place for three more F1 races, with the old version returning in 2027, assuming that the construction work is completed by then.

However, at Friday’s FIA drivers’ briefing, the attendees were unanimous in their support for the changes and suggested that they should become permanent, although obviously the decision is down to the Singapore authorities rather than the governing body.

Drivers prefer the faster rhythm of the new layout and do not miss the sequence of four slow corners.

“It was fun,” said Fernando Alonso. “I think it was an improvement from the past. It’s a little bit faster, and you get the rhythm into the lap. So, yeah, I like the change.”

“I prefer this layout,” said Valtteri Bottas. “I think it’s going to create at least a tiny bit more opportunities, and it just makes the track slightly faster.”

The biggest challenge to keeping the new layout is that it bypasses the huge permanent Bay grandstand on the original track, which cut overall spectator capacity by 25,000 or 17% for this year’s race.

For obvious commercial reasons, the promoters are keen to reinstate the rebuilt grandstand and bump up capacity once again.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

In addition, it’s understood that it won’t be possible to use the 2023 version of the track in the longer term because the new straight will eventually be built on as part of the overall construction project.

Promoter Colin Sin has indicated that there could be a compromise, with the track once again going around the Bay grandstand, but possibly with a revised and faster sequence of corners.

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He also suggested that the current layout might be in use for a fourth season in 2027 before the work is completed.

“We don’t how long the government is going to take to rebuild,” Sin told Motorsport.com. “It could be more than three years to build, it’s probably looking like ’28. We don’t know yet.

“When they do it, they will make provisions for a better track going in. We don’t have the plans yet, but we could end up with [the entry] sweeping in.”

Regarding the absence of the track’s main grandstand for the coming years, he said: “It’s 25,000 people, it’s like a hole in the pocket.”

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