Singapore GP preview quotes: No Crashgate edition!

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From the high speeds of Monza, Formula 1 now heads to the dark, low speeds of Singapore. Are the drivers excited? Well, let’s quote Kimi Raikkonen: “I really like going to Singapore.”

Keep in mind, you need to do that in his voice to get the full effect. On with the show:

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying – n/a, 2011 Race – n/a

“I really like going to Singapore. It’s a great place to be, I love the local food and I don’t mind the unusual times we run in the car. I have some unfinished business after my two GPs there so far, as I have never scored a point. That doesn’t mean I’m not quick there as I’ve been told I still hold the lap record from 2008. I crashed while fighting for fifth place that year and finished down in 10th in 2009, so I want better this time.

“In the first two years of this GP, I was a little bit surprised by how people were talking so much about the different timing. When they switch on the lights, it’s exactly the same as racing in the day time. I think everybody in F1 enjoys the night race in Singapore. It’s worked out really well as it’s a buzzing city and lots of people turn up. Apart from one or two dark spots in the run-off areas the circuit is very well lit, so there is not a big difference to racing in the day.

“Monaco was not that good for us, but Valencia was one of the best weekends so far. Obviously, there is no reason why Singapore should be any different compared to Valencia. Like at every street circuit, it’s very difficult to pass other cars there, so starting the race as high as possible on the grid is a very important factor to get a good result.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying – n/a, 2011 Race – n/a

“Singapore is a pretty special race with it being held at night; it makes a great show for the fans. It’s a pretty cool city. I haven’t got much experience of the circuit so far; my first race here was back in 2009 and that was a difficult weekend, but I’m looking forward to getting back in the car, learning the track a bit better and putting everything in place for the rest of the season. It’s another circuit, another race and a chance for me to get back out there and do my best. I want to qualify well, be as close to possible to Kimi in terms of performance and score points for the team in the constructors’ championship. It’s a very high-downforce track and that seems to suit us best as we saw in Budapest. In terms of the tyres I think we should be looking good too; it’s always an interesting race, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
“There’s no reason to think that a podium will be out of reach. We’ve been quite competitive on twisty circuits this year and Singapore shares a lot of Monaco and Valencia’s characteristics. Romain loves that type of circuit, while Kimi has always been quick in Singapore; even if he hasn’t had the best of luck during the races themselves. It will be an interesting weekend. We have a few upgrades scheduled for Singapore and they should bring some extra performance.”

James Allison, Lotus technical director
“Singapore really is an entirely different kettle of fish (after Monza). We go from minimum downforce to maximum downforce in two weeks, we use the soft and super soft instead of hard and medium, the track has low power dependency and is high downforce. It couldn’t be more different. The E20 is pretty good over the bumps and kerbs; it has been all year so we’re quite lucky in that respect. At a bumpy circuit you make more of a compromise towards the mechanical set-up over the aero set-up of the car than you do at a smooth circuit. Singapore’s bumpiness was extreme in the initial years, but it has been considerably improved in subsequent seasons.

“We have a new floor and a new rear wing. The new rear wing operates at the same downforce level as our Monaco-spec rear wing, but with a better DRS delta. This means that this wing has better DRS switching from its maximum drag to its reduced drag settings. We believe we’ve been able to produce a rear wing which is at the higher end of the downforce spectrum but still able to allow the lion’s share of the DRS potential which is more difficult to achieve at high downforce levels. It will be interesting to see how it works on track.”

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2011 Qualifying – 17th, 2011 Race – 14th

“After our great result in Monza, everybody in the team is very motivated. Singapore is a truly special event. As a night race it has established itself as a real highlight. Personally I like the place. Also it’s not too far from my home country, and there are always a lot of Japanese fans. The track is quite demanding with a lot of corners, and mostly slow ones. In the past this kind of track didn’t really suit our car, but with this year’s Sauber C31 things have changed. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be competitive there.”

Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying – 11th, 2011 Race – 10th

“The Singapore Grand Prix is a very special race on an extraordinary track with a unique schedule. You race at night and you live at night. Also it will be the first round back in Asia after quite a while. The amount of travelling is increasing a lot now. I generally like street circuits and the one in Singapore is physically quite demanding, but I feel prepared for that. Also for our car it should be an okay track to race on. I am very much looking forward to it and I want to get in another good result for the team at that very prestigious race.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Sauber head of track engineering
“Singapore is a street circuit with lots of corners and short straights. Therefore overtaking is difficult, which makes qualifying particularly important. Good traction is crucial on this stop-and-go track with mainly low speed and just a couple of medium speed corners. In some places the surface is very bumpy – something to bear in mind when setting up the car. You have to keep an eye on the brakes, because they have very little time to cool down between corners. The track surface is not very rough. Pirelli will allocate the super-soft and the soft compounds, which should work well in qualifying, but I don’t expect any chance of a one-stop strategy in the race. Concerning strategy, one thing we have to consider is that the chance of a safety-car period is very high on this track. This means we have to bear in mind the tyre requirements and, at the same time, be ready at any moment to change our strategy in case of a safety car deployment. Out of the seven upcoming races I expect this one to be the most difficult for our C31, but we will have our next aero update in Singapore, which should help to compensate for this and still put us in a position for a strong race.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying – 8th, 2011 Race – DNF

“Singapore is a one-off in lots of ways, with the city, racing at night and the circuit itself. It’s a brilliantly unusual race. At first sight, everything seems more relaxed because the action happens at night, but of course it’s not like that at all. The reality is that you have to work hard to stay on European time and in the right bio-rhythms, so that you can perform perfectly in the race – because it’s unusual to be competing at this time of day. The nice thing is that the circuit is very technically demanding and it’s very tricky to get a perfect lap. After a reasonably encouraging weekend in Monza, we have good expectations for another promising performance. I’m looking forward to the night race.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying – 7th, 2011 Race – 7th

“The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the season and it’s such a fun weekend. The city is fantastic, and I finished second in the race here in 2008 which was a great experience and has given me some really nice memories of this event. It’s always seems strange to be driving at night, going to bed at 5am and then waking up in the afternoon but it’s surprising how easy it is to adapt. I really enjoy the Marina Bay track, it’s a street circuit with a difference and with the intense heat and humidity, the sheer number of corners and racing under the lights, it really is a challenge.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“With the conclusion of the European races, we now enter a very intense countdown to the end of the season with seven flyaway races in just two and a half months. The first of these weekends is in Singapore for one of our favourite races of the season in the unique conditions that a night race brings. Now in its fifth year, the routine of the weekend with working late at night and on a European schedule has become well-practiced and everyone at the team loves visiting the lively city of Singapore. On track, we concluded our successful Young Driver Test at Magny-Cours yesterday, and we have a lot of useful information which is now being studied at our factories at Brackley and Brixworth to help bring improvements to the car for the final seven races of the season.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“This year’s Singapore Grand Prix marks the beginning of the final ‘flyaway’ phase of the 2012 season, which will comprise seven races in nine weeks. This will be the fifth edition of the Singapore Grand Prix, which embodies the attractions of modern Formula One in a very special way: a spectacular city-centre race, where fans can get close to the action and which is run at night in a unique atmosphere for Formula One. In spite of relatively slow speeds, the circuit is a tough challenge for the drivers and cars. There are a total of 23 corners, including 10 in the final sector alone, and the drivers will change gear almost 5,000 times during the race. At over 100 seconds, the lap time is the longest of the year and only Monaco has a lower average speed. However, last year’s race in Singapore featured nearly three times as many overtaking moves as the race in Monaco. The demands of Singapore, with a lot of relatively slow corners, are completely different to those of Monza, with its straights and selection of high-speed curves. We have been hard at work since the last race, with Sam Bird and Brendon Hartley testing developments over three days at the Young Driver Test in Magny-Cours in order to further improve our car performance.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying – 1st, 2011 Race – 1st

“Singapore is one of the highlights on the calendar, because the atmosphere of a night race is amazing. I also like it because the track is really great to race on – which is partly to do with the fact that we race anticlockwise there. Singapore is a fascinating city to visit and everything seems to be extremely clean and tidy. We all stay on European time for the weekend and because the race doesn’t start until 8pm, most of the drivers tend to get up around 2pm – it’s pretty unusual.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying – 2nd, 2011 Race – 3rd

“We’ve had some good results in Singapore. It’s a very, very challenging circuit and one that the car should work well on. We’ve been solid on street circuits this year, so that gives us some confidence that the car will be towards the sharp end again. I like going to Singapore, it’s clean and it’s safe. Everyone embraces the event, but I also love the fact that we have a lot of Australians attending, especially from the West Coast as it’s an easy flight from there. That’s quite unique.”

Timo Glock, Marussia
2011 Qualifying – 21st, 2011 Race – DNF

“Singapore is a very special circuit, as the only night race on the calendar. I have great memories from this race as I finished on the points in the first year and on the podium in 2009. Every year it’s great to come back and without doubt it is my favourite race on the calendar. Over the last races we had some real potential in our package, so I’m looking forward to showing more of that and hopefully we can have a good result there. The next part of the season will be a tough challenge for the team, so I hope we can continue to make good progress to reward all the hard work throughout the team.”

Charles Pic, Marussia
2011 Qualifying – n/a, 2011 Race – n/a

“I am really looking forward to my first night race at this fantastic circuit, and actually, my first visit to Singapore. I have heard so many great things about this race, from the experience of racing under the lights to the fantastic city, so I’m arriving nice and early to get the measure of everything. We are back into unknown territory for me, which I’m really excited about. The early part of the season and Canada were the same for me, but I am happy with the way I have been acclimatising to new circuits and getting up to speed quite quickly. Singapore adds another dimension due to the transition to European hours, but it’s all part of the learning experience, which has been going very well for me. It will be a busy phase for us now and I am really looking forward to the challenge of continuing to make good progress at this later stage of the season.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“It is sad to leave the European venues behind for another season, however we are embarking on a very exciting and challenging period in the calendar. Never before has the sport had so many races in so many continents in such a short space of time and there are even three more back to back races amongst them. Singapore is a very special race and the atmosphere and spectacle are truly unique. The whole team looks forward to going there, even though the conditions are quite challenging for the race team and drivers with the fierce heat and humidity. Timo loves this race and it will be Charles first experience of it, so it will be quite interesting to see what they each bring to it after our recent steps forward, which will be aided by further developments for this race. Far from running out of time in this final phase, we are encouraged by our current level of progress at this stage of the season and optimistic about what we can go on to achieve from here in terms of our targets.”

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying – n/a, 2011 Race – n/a

“I’ve never raced at Singapore but I know the circuit because of my simulator work as a test driver for McLaren. It’s a spectacular track and probably the toughest circuit on the brakes in the entire championship besides being a very physically demanding race because of the heat and humidity. We should have a good performance as there are many slow corners and it is quite similar to Monaco. Besides, we’ve got an aero upgrade which should help us to cut down the gap to our rivals. I have to make the most of the practice session to adapt to the circuit but I’m up for the challenge.”

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying – n/a, 2011 Race – n/a

“Singapore has a spectacular atmosphere as the race takes place under artificial lighting. The Marina Bay Street Circuit is bumpy and very complicated. You can’t make any mistakes as it is a street circuit. Besides, it’s also very demanding physically because of the high temperatures and humidity. I arrive here extremely motivated and in good form after a good weekend in Italy and we’ve also brought upgrades which we hope will help us improve our race pace a little bit more.”

Ma Qing Hua, HRT test driver
“I’m very happy to drive the F112 for a second time in a row [in FP1 on Friday] and I really appreciate the opportunity HRT is giving me. It will be very exciting to drive a F1 around the streets of Singapore. It’s a very demanding track for all of us, but it will be even more of a challenge for me as this is only the second time I will be driving the car at a race weekend. But I am looking forward to it and the laps that I added to my tally at the last Grand Prix in Monza have given me plenty of confidence. I have prepared myself in the simulator as well as doing some specific exercises to be used to driving at night. This is yet again another step in my career and I look forward to getting more experience at the wheel of a Formula One car as well as doing my best to help the team to prepare for the race.”

Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
“I don’t personally know the Marina Bay Street Circuit but I’m really looking forward to getting to know it since everyone says it’s one of the most beautiful races in the championship. But also because in Singapore we’re incorporating the second major upgrade to the car of the season which we hope will help us take another step forward. Ma will step into the car once more for the first free practice session and the objective is for him to continue learning and improving as he did in Monza, where we were very happy with his work and performance. Pedro and Narain come on the back of a good race in Italy and we hope that with the upgrades they can get even closer to our rivals.”

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