Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. She is equally enthusiastic about health and fitness and is always on the lookout for the latest workout trends. More of her at CherylTay.sg and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (cheryltay11).
1. No need for earplugs
For the first time in the seven years that I have covered the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, I did not require ear plugs. Forgetting ear plugs meant getting a shrill ringing in my ears whenever the cars fly by. The downsizing of engines has definitely affected the noise level, which in some way, dulls the excitement of the sport.
2. Reclusive Jessica Michibata
The queen of F1 WAGs (wives and girlfriends) Jessica Michibata, fiancé of McLaren’s Jenson Button, is definitely a highlight of the paddock. This year, however, she was hardly seen. Only arriving at the track on Saturday evening in a black dress with a plunging neckline, she briefly popped into the McLaren garage during Free Practice 3 then stayed in the hospitality suite all the way.
Michibata came on Sunday afternoon with Button, sporting a grey dress. Again, she stayed in the hospitality suite and never came out until past midnight when she left the circuit with Button. Why so shy?
3. SQ girls in place of grid girls
With the change in title sponsor from SingTel to Singapore Airlines this year, we see the absence of the SingTel grid girls from the track. Typically dressed in bright red sexy outfits, they were replaced by Singapore Airlines (SQ) girls in their kebayas.
4. Track decked in blue, instead of red
Likewise, the track colours are painted in blue to match Singapore Airlines’ corporate colours.
5. Lack of celebrity power
Other than the MasterChef and Hell Kitchen celeb himself, there was a strong lack of star power this year. Gordon Ramsay was spotted in the McLaren hospitality suite, and seen walking up and down the paddock a few times while getting interrupted by fans, media and even F1 crew who wanted photos with him.
Actor Nicholas Hoult was spotted too, but that was about it. In previous years, celebs like David Beckham, The Killers and Beyonce were seen at the paddock. I was hoping J.Lo would pop by briefly before she took the stage for the closing concert, but that never happened.
6. Overpowering sounds of historic Formula One cars
Cars from the era of Formula One from 1966 to 1985 raced under the lights on the Marina Bay street circuit for the first time, as the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship served as a support race to the Singapore Grand Prix.
It was an absolute delight for hardcore F1 fans to witness historic 3-litre engine F1 cars from the 1970s and 1980s in period livery, giving us an idea of the former glory days. Plus, the sounds of these historic cars were louder than the current F1 cars.
7. Lewis Hamilton breaks Sebastian Vettel’s three-win streak
For the past three years, one man dominated the top of the podium at the Singapore Grand Prix – four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel. This year, with the change in regulations, Red Bull Racing has taken a backseat as the Mercedes GP team dominated all season. Still, Vettel manages to finish second to Lewis Hamilton – his highest finishing this year – after Nico Rosberg was forced to retire due to problems with his car.