Got your tickets to the 2011 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix already? Whether it is a grandstand ticket or a walkabout pass, you must be getting excited as the weekend approaches.
For the first time, there is a chance (though not an outright duh chance) of the world champion being crowned right here in Singapore and this weekend is really all about whether Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing can make that happen.
Singaporeans who do not know — we have two local racing drivers, Ringo Chong and Yuey Tan, competing this weekend on the same track as the Formula 1 drivers in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia series, a support race to the 2011 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.
The race promoters have gone all out to make the race event a spectacular one, even having a pyrotechnics display at the end of each Ocean Symphony performance at the floating platform on Friday and Saturday, and fireworks after the race on Sunday.
Before you head on down to the Circuit Park at Marina Bay, I just thought I would share my guide with you so you can get the best Formula 1 experience this weekend. Gates open from 3.00 pm to 12.30 am daily from Friday to Sunday and there will be lots going on!
Here's how you can ensure a good weekend:
Step 1 — At least know that Sebastian Vettel is leading the championship.
Fans of the sport would be well aware of the driver and team standings, but for the fair weather fans, just know that Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing is leading the drivers' championship by 112 points, with a maximum of 150 points remaining to be scored in the last six races.
In order to win in Singapore, this weekend Vettel needs to score more than 13 points above Fernando Alonso of Scuderia Ferrari, and more than eight points above McLaren's Jenson Button and team-mate Mark Webber. He must also ensure McLaren's Lewis Hamilton does not score more points than him.
Confusing? Ok basically if Vettel wins in Singapore, then Alonso needs to be fourth or lower, Button and Webber to finish outside of the top two and wherever Hamilton finishes does not matter.
Step 2 — Make sure you dress correctly.
Some might be clinking champagne glasses at the luxurious Paddock Club while walkabout ticketholders hunt for the best spot to hold their family picnic. Regardless of which part of the circuit you will be watching the race from, please dress comfortably and wear good walking shoes.
If you must wear high heels, make sure that your feet are able to sustain the long standing hours or the extensive walking. It is a rain or shine event, so do don an outfit that can tolerate either the scorching sun or the winds from the rain.
Step 3 — Only bring what you need.
You'll probably want to walk around the Circuit Park to check out the various activities and happenings. Unless you intend to stay within the air-conditioned confines of the hospitality suites, I would advise bringing only what you need as there are no lockers to keep your belongings. Packing light will also help you clear security at the entrance gates quicker! Take note there is a list of prohibited items: See Clause 8 of this document (http://www.singaporegp.sg/download/General_TnC.pdf).
Some items you might want to bring are: cap, umbrella, poncho, earplugs, camera, notebook and marker (in case you run into a driver and want his autograph), fan, towel, tissues, sunblock. For those who intend to buy Formula 1 merchandise, I suggest bringing a bigger backpack so you don't have to carry so many plastic bags.
If you don't have earplugs, you can purchase a survival kit (contains a poncho and a pair of earplugs) for just S$2 at the gates. Proceeds go to the Singapore Red Cross Society and St. John Ambulance Singapore.
Step 4 - Remember to charge your camera and handphone batteries, and also remember your memory card.
You will kill yourself if you reach the circuit and realise that your camera is low on battery. Check the day before that your camera batteries are fully charged and you might also want to bring along extra batteries if you have any. Also remember to check that your memory card is in the camera and not somewhere in your card reader.
The Circuit Park is very big and your friends might want to check out different parts of the circuit. To stay in touch, check that your handphone is fully charged so you won't end up losing each other.
Step 5 — Check that your wallet has enough cash.
There are 59 food outlets across the Circuit Park, including the Hawker Village at Zone 4 and the Singapore Street Food @ Bay located under the Bay Grandstand. There are also at least nine bars to quench your thirst at. In addition, Formula 1 team memorabilia and exclusive 2011 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX merchandise will be available for sale at booths around the Circuit Park, especially at the F1 Village (Zone 1 and Zone 4).
Most of these outlets, especially the F&B ones, accept cash payments only so do stop by the ATM before heading to the circuit.
Step 6 — Check your tickets before you leave the house.
Each day has a different coloured ticket so do check that you brought the correct pass out. There's nothing worse than making the journey all the way out only to realise at the gate that you brought Saturday's pass on Friday.
Step 7 — Don't bother driving to the race.
Just leave the car at home and take public transport. This is the only time in the entire year that some of you are actually taking the bus or train but trust me, you wouldn't want to end up getting caught in the road diversions and missing out crucial race action. Train services are extended until 1.00 am from Friday, 23 September to Sunday, 25 September.
There is also a free shuttle bus service (for tickets including Zone 1) from Lavender MRT station to Gate 1 from 2.30 pm to 1.00 am, or two hours after the last race of the day, whichever is later.
Visit http://www.singaporegp.sg/race/getting_there.php for a comprehensive guide with details on how you can get to the various gates via public transport.
Step 8 — Check for the gate nearest to your grandstand.
On your ticket, the nearest gates to your grandstand/walkabout access zone are indicated. The 10 gates of the Circuit Park do not allow entry to all ticketholders so make sure you get to the correct gate, otherwise be prepared for a long detour.
Step 9 — Get a circuit park map at the entrance.
The Circuit Park is divided into four zones, with each having its own entertainment as well as food and beverage offerings, so do get a map at the entry gate or from the ushers and familiarise yourself with what each zone has to offer. Walkabout ticketholders, check out the splendid views of the race action from the various bleachers located along the track!
Step 10 — Be aware of the schedule, especially the non-stop entertainment.
Be it the practice or qualifying sessions, or the performance by Linkin Park, have the timings and venues (especially for the entertainment highlights) at your fingertips so you give yourself ample time to get to the circuit before walking to the specific part of the circuit for the programme or event you want to catch.
Non-stop entertainment is provided at the circuit, either across the seven stages or the roving acts by the Brazilian Samba girls, Transe Express or the Jaipur Maharaja Brass Band. Visit http://www.singaporegp.sg/media/entertainment_2011.php for the entertainment line-up and the respective timings and venues for each performance
The biggest stage, the Padang Main Stage, can fit 41 Formula 1 cars and it is this exact stage that will host sensational Korean trio, GD & TOP and SEUNGRI from BIGBANG and Glee-starlet CHARICE on Friday, SHAKIRA on Saturday and LINKIN PARK on Sunday. Do note that only 2,000 Fan Zone wristbands (valid for the day only) will be given out from 3.00 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on a first-come-first-served basis at the side of the stage along Connaught Drive.
The other stages cover entertainment acts from Broadway to Bollywood, including the humourous Forbidden Broadway at Village Stage (Zone 1) on Friday and Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (Zone 4) on Sunday; and Bollywood Express at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (Zone 4) on Friday and at the Village Stage (Zone 1) on Saturday.
Step 11 — Keep yourself updated with the latest track action.
Once into the Circuit Park, tune in to 107.7FM with your handphone or radio-enabled device. This radio frequency will be broadcasting live commentary of all on-track race action, including the support races.
If you want to get 'live' broadcast visual feeds, instant replays, interviews, team and driver data as well as statistical analysis on the go, you can rent this device called Fan Vision at their booth located at Esplanade Park (Zone 4) or F1 Village (Zone 1).
Step 12 — Make use of your ticket privileges.
Did you know that your ticket is the key to many discounts and promotions at various merchants islandwide? Visit http://www.yoursingapore.com/content/traveller/en/browse/whats-on/festivals-and-events/grand-prix-season-singapore/grand-prix-privileges.html to find out more.
Also, selected parts of the track will be open for ticketholders to access after the final track activity until 11.30 pm on Friday and Saturday, and until 12.00 am on Sunday. This gives spectators the chance to get onto the track and experience it upclose. Zone 1 ticketholders can then get to Padang stage quickly to catch the entertainment acts by getting to Bay Grandstand, cutting through the track at Turn 20 before going past the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre and the Esplanade Park.
With that, enjoy the race!
About the writer
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.