Sebastian Vettel celebrating his win in the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix. Source:
Sebastian Vettel celebrating his win in the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix. Source:

Singapore Grand Prix 2023: Preview

F1 OlyBet 15.09.2023

The thrills of summer may have ended, but in F1 the action never stops, as we approach the second race of September. The traveling motorsport circus is flying from Europe to Asia to begin round 16 of the 2023 F1 season. Fans are in for a treat because the nightly street circuit of Singapore is a jewel of the F1 calendar. The iconic Marina Bay Street Circuit has solidified its place among legendary tracks like Monaco and Monza, as the excitement leading into this race is always high.

A glimpse into the past

Historically it is the first nighttime F1 Grand Prix, before we had the likes of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The maiden Singapore Grand Prix of modern times took place in 2008 and it was won by Fernando Alonso, who at that time drove for Renault. This race also provided one of the most controversial moments in F1 history. Alonso’s teammate Nelson Piquet Jr., by the order of his team, deliberately crashed to bring out the safety car, which massively aided Alonso. As a result, Renault faced many charges and the main culprit Flavio Briatore, the managing director of Renault, was banned from all Formula One events and FIA-sanctioned events. This, of course, is a lengthy story for another day, but it set in motion a trend that was observed for all the years after.

You see, Marina Bay Street Circuit is the only track that has had a safety car in absolutely every race since 2008. That is a crazy stat, and it shows how tough and unforgiving this track can be. It is also one of the hottest tracks in the calendar, which adds another degree of challenge. With that being said, the most successful driver on this track is the now legendary Sebastian Vettel, who has won the Singapore Grand Prix 5 times. They don’t call him the Lion of Singapore for nothing. Last year’s TOP 3 was Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, and Carlos Sainz in third place.

Present times

This year the Marina Bay Street Circuit is going through some significant changes. Some major track layout changes have been implemented, for example, a new flat-out section until turn 16, as well as some other adjustments to existing chicanes. It is believed that the new track layout will shed about 20 seconds a lap, so a new track record is pretty much guaranteed.

High humidity and temperature will wear out even the toughest drivers, so some randomness in results is always expected, but in this case, the main favorite to win it all is still, of course, Max Verstappen. Red Bull’s golden boy can’t seem to put a foot wrong, as he continues his absolute reign of dominance. 10 wins in the row and 12 in the season, Max is breaking records left and right, but until now, he hasn’t had the jolliest time in Marina Bay, as a race win keeps eluding him. This year though, all logic points towards a scenario where Max takes the highest step of the podium and writes down the Singapore Grand Prix win in his list of accomplishments. OlyBet bookmaker odds support this theory with 1.25 on Verstappen’s win.

The closest rival currently would be Red Bull’s number two, Sergio Perez. Although Max has completely overshadowed Sergio, we’ve seen glimpses of that old form coming back and we must take into consideration that he won last year’s Singapore Grand Prix. Can Perez summon some of that old magic, or is Verstappen on his way to the 11th win in a row? The latter scenario seems more probable, but as we said, you never know with these tricky streets. The odds of Perez winning are 10.00.

Rest of the field

Ferrari has the tendency to disappoint, but their last showing in the Italian Grand Prix was truly admirable, so for now, they are certainly one of the strongest teams. Their qualifying pace seems to even match Red Bull, but unfortunately, it’s Sundays when Scarlet Reds struggle the most. Red Bulls are quick in corners, while Ferraris have a great straight-line speed, so Marina Bay Street Circuit naturally favors the bulls, but the new track layout might be the saving grace. The duel between teammates Sainz and Leclerc is also fun, so if Max decides to cruise in front for 60 laps, then at least we might see an exciting fight for the remaining podium positions.

Mercedes are also still in contention for some solid points and a potential podium. In Italy, they came behind Ferrari, but the Singapore track could suit their cars better. In constructor standings, Mercedes are still ahead of Ferrari, and we’re sure that Mercedes would like to keep it that way.

The remaining point positions are usually taken by McLaren and Aston Martin, but Williams have also made some strides, more precisely, thanks to the sheer talent of Alex Albon. Alpine had an abysmal Italian Grand Prix, but this season they were podium finishers, so you can never count them out either.

Nothing too exciting is happening with the rest of the teams. Liam Lawson is still replacing Daniel Ricciardo at Alpha Tauri, while he heals from his injuries suffered at Dutch Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Zhou Guanyu has signed a new contract with Alfa Romeo, ensuring his stay in the team until 2024.

The first practice session already begins on the 15th of September at 17:30 local time and after that, we might have a clearer image of the proper pecking order.


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