Home  //  Circuit Guides Formula 1 Singapore (Marina Bay)
Written by @Damien_Marquez   
Friday, 19 September 2014 09:19

Over the last six years, the Singapore Grand Prix has made a name for itself and has become one of the highlights of the Formula 1 season. This event has such a unique vibe, it's like nowhere on the calendar. The original F1 night race ticks just about all the right boxes. The ambience is electric, the venue is exotic, glamourous and the views are spectacular under the floodlights.

The off-track entertainment is unrivalled and the city just lends itself to the party atmosphere. On top of that, Singapore is a very friendly place which is renowned for its hawker centres (street food courts) and shopping experiences.


View from Turn 2 Grandstand (block A3) - Image: Ferrari S.p.A

The grand prix takes place on the 19-20-21 September 2014 and is one of the toughest and longest on the F1 schedule. Support series this year are provided by the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship.

This year, the two stages in Zone 1 and the Padang (Zone 4) will see John Legend, Robbie Williams, Ziggy Marley, Jennifer Lopez and the Pet Shop Boys perform between or after on-track sessions. In the past, the Marina Bay event has welcomed the likes of The Killers, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Noel Gallagher, Shakira, Linkin Park, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott or even Travis.

Smaller stages in Zone 3 or by the Esplanade Waterfront have welcomed more electronic sounds thanks to appearances by DJs such as Carl Cox or John Digweed. There are also multiple roving artists providing entertainment throughout the day, such as a drummer troupe or Brazilian dancers giving the whole weekend a carnival atmosphere.

If you also like to party on F1 style, The Podium Lounge Singapore will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Walk (Friday to Sunday) and the glamourous Amber Lounge will take place next to the Conrad Centennial Hotel on Saturday and Sunday. The bars by the Esplanade Theatres and the Concert Hall offer a cheaper alternative for refreshments in style by the water in case it is some quiet time that you're after.

All in all, this is a stunning event that is far more than a race weekend and you get the feel for the effort the organisers put into it.

 

CONTENTS

1 // Location and accommodation
2 // Money matters
3 // Ticket prices
4 // Which grandstand or hospitality to choose
5 // Tips and recommendations
6 // GrandPrixAdvisor fixes
7 // Useful links to prepare your Singapore trip

 

1 // LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION

The Marina Bay Street Circuit is situated in the city centre, with its western part in the Colonial District and the remainder of the track by the Raffles City / Citylink / Marina Square shopping complex. It is very close to Clarke Quay’s bars and restaurants and easily accessible from Marina Bay Sands.

The event showcases the city-state in a way no other race does by promoting itself with astonishing views of its colourful cityscape at night. Aside from Practice 1 and some of the support races, the main event happens after dark, emphasising its festive mood.

Whilst the Sepang Circuit is more of ‘racers’ track’, its close neighbour, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is only a few minutes walk from most hotels (it does not require a two hour trek to and from the track). Access is a breeze and crowd control is very well managed with multiple gates all around the precinct and the proximity of four MRT stations (Mass Rapid Transit – a metro train network that goes underground in the city centre).

Singapore's public transport system is both efficient and great value. Even taxis won't cost you a great deal, so don't feel like you have to stay near the track as there is plenty of decent accommodation on the island.


View from Marina Bay Sands: Zones 1-2, Pit Grandstand and Singapore Flyer
Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

 

2 // MONEY MATTERS

The Singapore Grand Prix is expensive and budget will be a much greater consideration than the most other race weekends. Unless you can from Asia, airfares won't be cheap. Grandstands tickets and hospitality costs quite high, depending on the option you take and hotels incur a significant surcharge by the state for the grand prix nights.

Return airfares to Bahrain start from:
• €900 from Milan (Monza) or Frankfurt
• £800 from London
• $800 / £500 / €700 from Tokyo
• $1,000 from New York
• A$500 from Sydney (with flyscoot.com)
The above prices for economy class direct flights only. You can save up to $300 / £200 / €250 by adding one stop.

Three-night accommodation from: S$660 / $540 / £360 / €390 for a double/twin room in a three star hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and a review score of 7/10 or more on Booking.com.

Food and drinks: S$120 / $100 / £70 / €80 per person for three days; for meals purchased in food courts and hawker centres.

Internet access: S$35 / $30 / £20 / €25 for a SIM card and about 200MB of 4G mobile data. Data only are even cheaper. We used M1 over the last few years and would recommend them.

TOTAL BUDGET from (excluding flights and tickets): S$900 / $800 / £600 / €700 for a solo traveller or S$1,000 / $900 / £700 / €800 for a couple. You could always do it with cheaper accommodation, just beware the reputation of some midrange hotels.


Kimi Raikkonen at the Bay Grandstand - PHOTO : FREDERIC LE FLOC'H / DPPI for Renault Sport F1

 

3 // TICKET PRICES

There are two discount periods that apply grandstand tickets only. Super Early Bird prices are applicable to four popular grandstands. These rate are for the following year and run from the lead up to the race until a couple of weeks just after the event has finished. The second discount phase starts in March and ends on the 30th April for all grandstand tickets. Group discounts are also available from four spectators onwards.

Prices from the organisers are in bold. Exchange rates are sourced from xe.com and based on the highest rate since the last Singapore Grand Prix. Grandstand prices have been rounded up to the nearest $10 / £10 / €10 and hospitality packages rounded up to the nearest $100 / £100 / €100.


Click to reveal 2014 Early Bird prices.

* There are no discounts for hospitality packages, Turn 3 Premier, general admission and wheelchair accessible tickets.
** Includes one accompanying spectator.


Click here to access a larger and interactive map on www.singaporegp.sg.
- Image: Singapore GP Pte. Ltd.

 

4 // WHICH GRANDSTAND OR HOSPITALITY TO CHOOSE

That said there are there are some plum spots which allow to follow the cars over three corners and the pit lane exit.

From rows 1 to 17 of blocks A2 and A3 of the Turn 2 Grandstand, you can observe the cars coming all the way from the last corner, down the main straight and into Turn 1 and Turn 2. From row 18 upwards, including Sky and Club Suites, the view is partially obstructed by the pedestrian bridge going over the track (see top picture above).

The next best vantage points are probably from the Turn 3 Sky Suites, The Green Room, the Turn 3 Premier Grandstand and blocks A6 to A9 of the Turn 1 Grandstand boast views of cars going past the the pit lane exit, Turns 1, 2 and 3. The more expensive, the better the view in this scenario.


Alonso at Turn 3 with Turn 1 Grandstand in the background - Image: Ferrari S.p.A

Other hospitality and grandstand blocks in this part of the track give views of the first corner action, Turn 2 and pit lane exit.

Another place where you can watch the drivers through three corners, albeit on somewhat lower scale, is the Esplanade Waterfront Grandstand in Zone 4. From there you can see the cars appearing from Turn 16 into Turn 17 (where Piquet Jr crashed in 2008). Those seating in block A3 will also see the drivers disappearing under the Bay grandstand at Turn 18.


Esplanade Waterfront and Bay grandstands - Image: GrandPrixAdvisor.com

The Bay Grandstand has the cheapest reserved seats and offers a fantastic view over the water of Marina Bay Sands and skyscrapers of the Central Business District. As it is the only grandstand in Zone 3, it features its own entertainment thanks to the stage set on The Float@Marina Bay, a floating platform and football field opposite.

This grandstand is massive, and it is by far the widest and tallest grandstand at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

It is split in five sections:
• Dark Blue
• Light Blue
• Yellow
• Light Green
• Dark Green

Those who sit in the Dark Blue section will mostly see the back of the cars after they’ve gone past as drivers ‘kiss’ the kerb at Turn 17 and it is only after they move to the right hand side of the track (further away from the grandstand) that cars can be seen properly. The staircase and the aisle to the left hand side of that section of the grandstand are cordoned off for accredited photographers. Unfortunately, there is no way of seeing the cars going from Turn 16 to Turn 18.

The Dark Green section is mostly facing the on-coming cars, although if you choose a seat on the outside, you'll have to keep looking right to watch both cars and TV screens.


View from the Bay Grandstand - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

Being a permanent facility, you do not need to sit in a row as high up as we would normally recommend. Aim no further than Row 27.

Try to avoid aisle seats as well as the first few rows of each block. A lot of people travel up and down the grandstand with food and drinks or stand in front of you for a few seconds to take a picture before being moved by the ushers. If it were just a handful people, that would not be such an issue, however, with the sheer volume of spectators, it is worth choosing seats in the middle of the last few rows of a block in either the Light Blue, Yellow or Light Green sections.

For some reason, a few race incidents seem to always happen at Turn 7, making the Stamford Grandstand a good place to watch the action from. Just bear in mind the cars move from the right hand side (closer to the grandstand) to the left hand side for Turn 8. A seat toward block A8 offers a better view of the cars.


View from Connaught Grandstand - Image: Sauber Motorsport AG

Overtaking opportunities are limited around this street circuit, however, 2010 showed us that being on a different (newer/faster) tyre, it is possible to overtake as Renault’s Robert Kubica showed twice at Turn 14. This is where the Connaught Grandstand is located. Again, it is preferable to choose somewhere close to block A8 for a better view of the action, as well as the opportunity to glance the action from Turn 8 if sitting to the left of that block.

The Padang Grandstand offers a good view of the cars, but bear in mind they can be very fast there.


Zone 4, and right, Padang Grandstand - Image: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team

 

5 // TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

To book a specific seat, find the one that you want via the website (a map is available once you select the desired section of the selected grandstand) then ring the SISTIC number to see if it is available. Considering the high price tag of the Zone 1 grandstands, it is advisable to purchase a seat with a view above the catch fence. That's generally row 12 and above, however see above section for specific advice, if any.

General admission, known as Walkabout, on Friday is the cheapest ticket on Friday (S$68). If you happen to be in Singapore on that day, it would be crazy not to go, even more so if you are uninitiated to attending Grand Prix racing. On Saturday and Sunday, be aware that the Zone 4 Walkabout bleachers get very crowded. It is well worth considering adding a few bucks to get yourself a Bay grandstand seat instead, which will also give you access to Zone 4. Premium walkabout tickets allow to roam free in all four zones and are probably better suited to the most hardcore of F1 fans.

As far as photo opportunities are concerned, the cars look very different under the 1,600 floodlights installed around the track. They look slicker than in broad daylight and it is possible to see more finer details than you would normally see at other F1 events. However, due to the nature of the track, you are more likely to find a safety fence between you and the cars. The best spot for pictures is the Turn 2 Grandstand as detailed above.

The event commentary is provided in English only. In the last five years, the lead expert commentators have consisted of Britain's Bob Constanduros and Australia's Neil Crompton. The pit lane reporter is Peter Windsor. It is broadcasted around the track through the PA system and is also available on 102.0 FM, so bring FM radio and earphones if you're keen to move around the track.

No food and drinks are allowed into the circuit, except for one clear plastic bottle of soft drink or mineral water of 600ml or less. There is a 7-Eleven at the Singapore Flyer if you're keen to avoid inflated prices, although it is only accessible to Zone 1 ticket holders.

The Marina Square shopping mall provides an alternative to the catering options and facilities available at the track. It located behind the Bay Grandstand and can be reached via Gate 7 or with the MRT if coming from Zone 1. Exit via Gate 1 and get on a train at Nicoll Highway MRT and get off at Esplanade MRT. It is also accessible on foot via Gate 2 through the Millenia Walk mall.

Zone 1 ticket holders also get the opportunity to observe the circuit from the Singapore Flyer. Whilst access was free to grandstand tickets holders in the past, only a 10% discount applies (S$30 for an adult pass).

The 30°C heat and 85% humidity can be a little unpleasant. Unless you have access to an air-conditioned hospitality suite, we'd recommend you wear light cotton clothing and preferably shorts. No one looks good in a humidity soaked outfit. Take a good pair of shoes if you're planning to stay for the headlining concerts; the Padang can get quite muddy at the end of the day.


View from Singapore Flyer - Image: Marussia F1 Team

 

6 // GRANDPRIXADVISOR FIXES

Over the past few years, there has been a bottleneck at the pedestrian bridge behind the Esplanade Waterfront grandstand and the Zone 3 Gate between Practice 3 and Qualifying. Maybe the organisers could double the capacity by placing another foot bridge and redirect Turn 1/Turn 2/Turn 3 spectators via the Marina Square and Millennium Walk shopping malls to re-enter the circuit via Gate 2. This would help alleviate the number of people queuing to get into Zone 3.

 

7 // USEFUL LINKS TO PREPARE YOUR SINGAPORE TRIP

www.singaporegp.sg - SGD ticket sales and event information and schedule
bookF1.com - our GBP/USD/EUR/AUD/CAD ticketing partner
GPTicketshop.com - our other EUR ticketing partner

Booking.com - our trustworthy hotel reservation partner
flyscoot.com - low cost carrier from Singapore Airlines
www.m1.com.sg - mobile and prepaid broadband
www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle - interactive guide and party listings from the local English newspaper
formula1.com - general information and schedule

 

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following spectators who submitted their feedback of the 2011 or 2012 edition in the 'Write a Review' section:

• Gabriel ChooJieYang (follow @GabrielCJY - Walkabout)
• Chelsea Beckman (follow @chelseabeckman - Stamford Grandstand, Premium Walkabout and Bay Combination / Package F)
• Adam Payne (follow @_mrpayner_ - Turn 1 and Turn 2 Grandstands)
• Boyd Payne (follow @BoydPayne - Turn 1 and Turn 2 Grandstands)
• Nicola Chew (@nicolachewf1 - Connaught Grandstand)
@naheedr
• arulvanan
• Gerhard Frankowski

The author (@Damien_Marquez) has attended the Singapore Grand Prix five times between 2009 and 2013, with experience of the Turn 2 and Bay grandstands (Dark Blue, Yellow and Light Green sections). He was also upgraded by Singapore GP Pte. Ltd. to The Green Room (Turn 3) in 2011.

Have you been to the Singapore Grand Prix? You can help us to improve this guide by leaving your impression of this event in the 'Write a Review' section of this website.

Do you like what you’ve read here? Please leave your comment below.

Singapore Grand Prix spectator guide
 

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