F1 2022 Singapore Grand Prix: The Absolute Know-Before-You-Go

It’s the day after the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, which means the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix is officially the next stop on the race calendar. F1 returns to the island nation after a three-year COVID-enforced absence and the reception couldn’t be better, with the event selling out when tickets were first released. Maybe this will be your first Singapore Grand Prix, after Drive to Survive on Netflix piqued your interest. Here’s what you can expect from an F1 fan of more than 20 years who has been to every edition of his home race.

2022 Singapore Grand Prix: Race Basics

The 2022 Singapore Grand Prix takes place from 30 September 2022 to 2 October 2022. It takes place in the evenings on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, a temporary floodlit street circuit based on public roads in downtown Singapore.

Click on the link for a guide to each of the corners on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and the best photography opportunities.

2022 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix car

Transport

There are seven MRT stations within or around the track, and these are the closest stations to each of the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix entry gates. For the weekend only, the last train departing these stations is typically one hour after the end of the last concert of the day.

MRT Station (Line)MRT ExitF1 Gate
Bayfront (Circle/Downtown)D8
City Hall (North-South/East-West)A3A, 3B
Esplanade (Circle)B7
Nicoll Highway (Circle)B1A, 1B
Promenade (Circle/Downtown)A2
Raffles Place (North-South/East-West)H4
Gates 5 and 6 are not near MRT stations

Road closures

Road closure information is on the Land Transport Authority website. This affects access to the buildings in and around the circuit by bus and car. There is a surcharge on taxis and rideshares over the weekend for trips starting in the vicinity of the track.

More information on the bus service diversions can be found on Land Transport Guru.

Accommodation

The hotels around the track have long sold out their inventory, but expect to pay through your nose to stay close by. Many teams book well ahead for their crew and drivers to be within walking distance.

Spectating the race

Tickets

Limited tickets are still available for sale on the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix website. They are sent via email as etickets, and there are no physical tickets to collect. Not all tickets offer access to every part of the track, and only grandstand seats come with assigned seats; more on that below.

Spectator zones

The parts of the track that you can access will determine where you can go. There are checkpoints between zones where you will need to show the volunteers your ticket. This is important when you want to attend concerts and events that take place in the F1 Village, the Sunset Stage and Wharf Stage in Zone 1.

  • Zone 4 only: Walkabout, and Connaught, Empress, Padang and Stamford Grandstands
  • Zones 3 and 4: Bay Grandstand
  • All zones outside the Paddock: Premier Walkabout, Pit, Turns 1, 2 Grandstands, and Hospitality
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Only Grandstands have assigned seats, but there are bleachers all around the track for Walkabout ticket holders. The best spots get taken as soon as the gates open on Sunday; conversely, the situation is more relaxed for the first and third practice sessions. Grandstand ticket holders are not restricted from using them. There are bleachers with limited free seating under the Singapore Flyer, just before Turn 22.

Food and beverage options

There will be plenty of F&B stalls around the track in all zones, but if you want more options in air-conditioned comfort, you can head to the surrounding malls, exiting and re-entering through the gates. There are also water refilling points; you can bring a bottle of up to 600 ml in capacity.

After the track action ends, there are a few late-night options near the circuit and slightly further afield.

Concerts

I rarely pay attention to the concerts but many ticketholders go to the Singapore GP for the music acts. The headline acts this year from Friday to Sunday are Marshmello, Westlife and Green Day respectively. Their concerts take place after the last F1 session of the day at the Padang in Zone 4. If you have a seat in Zone 1, budget 25 minutes to walk there. Access does get easier on Sunday, when spectators are allowed to walk on the track after the race.

If you plan on being both at the front of the stage and also watching trackside the same day, fat chance; the most dedicated music fans plant their bums on their choice spots as soon as the gates open.

Other international acts include The Black Eyed Peas, Suede, TLC and Wings, the rest of the lineup can be found on the Singapore GP website. Note that some of them are performing in Zone 1 on certain days.

Race weekend format

The full timetable of racing action is available on the Formula 1 website.

Practice sessions

Three one-hour practice sessions take place on Friday and Saturday evenings, which give the teams and drivers time to go out on track to try different settings and types of tyre on their cars. They are free to emerge and return at any time, unless a red flag is brought out to interrupt the session for safety reasons.

Qualifying

The serious action begins at 9 p.m. on Saturday with qualifying, which sets the starting order for the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. It is broken up into three parts:

  • In Q1, all the drivers go out on the track within an 18-minute window to set their fastest lap time. The slowest five are eliminated and their positions are set from 16th to 20th before any penalties apply.
  • In Q2, all remaining drivers go out on the track within a 15-minute window to set their fastest lap time. The slowest five are eliminated and their positions are set from 11th to 15th before any penalties apply.
  • Q3 is a 12-minute shootout to set the top-10. The fastest driver without penalties takes pole position, the first spot on the starting grid for the race.
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A driver may drop a few places or more from his qualifying position due to penalties from the previous race, or for taking on more engine, power or gearbox parts than the limit imposed for the whole season.

Pre-race

Apart from the support races, there is a drivers parade at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday. The F1 drivers take a lap of the circuit riding shotgun in a classic car, though there was one year where they were all on an open-top bus.

The 2022 Singapore Grand Prix Race (don’t call it the finals!)

The formation lap for the race starts at 8 p.m. if there are no unforeseen delays. From the starting grid, the cars will set off in sequence, do one slow lap around the track and make their way back to form up on the grid. Five red lights over the grid will illuminate in sequence, then go out together to signal the start of the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, which runs for 61 laps. All the drivers take off at the same time.

During the race, the drivers have to drive through the pitlane and change their tyres at least once. During a dry-weather race, they have to use at least two sets of tyres of different levels of hardness. They can be distinguished by the colour on the side of the tyres (red, yellow and white, from the softest to the hardest). For wet-weather races like in 2017, the intermediate (green) and wet (blue) tyres are available. Deciding which tyres to use and when can help turn a race around. The drivers start with all the fuel they need and there is no refuelling during the race.

If there is debris or a car is stopped on the circuit, the light panels will flash yellow in that section of the track initially. No overtaking is permitted in that part. If further intervention by the fire and safety marshals is necessary to remove the hazard, the race director may order a Virtual Safety Car (where the cars reduce their speed by 40%) or a Safety Car period (where they form up and drive slowly around the track behind an Aston Martin or Mercedes-branded car with flashing lights) for as long as necessary. There has been at least one Safety Car period at every Singapore Grand Prix so far.

The race ends when 61 laps or two hours have elapsed with the waving of the black-and-white chequered flag. Due to the tight and twisty nature of the track and the frequent use of the safety car, the Singapore Grand Prix often runs close to the time limit. Points are award for the top ten finishers; if one of them also drove the fastest race lap, they earn a bonus point.

In the past, it has been possible for spectators in Zone 1 to join the celebrations under the podium, once all the cars had returned to the pitlane. There is no reason to believe the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix will be different. The entry points are close to Turns 1 and 23, and they usually get crowded well before the end of the race.

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Support races

Between and before the F1 cars take to the circuit on each day, there are other races supporting the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. One of them is the Thailand Super Series (TSS), a GT championship where the cars are based on regular road cars. The other is the W Series, an international all-female single-seater championship. Both have their paddocks in the Singapore Flyer car park and in tents across the road from the Ritz Carlton Millenia hotel.

F1 Teams and Drivers

Barring any last-minute replacements, these are the drivers who will take part in the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. To tell drivers from the same team apart (besides the helmet and the number), one of them has a yellow-coloured T-shaped camera on top of the car. These drivers’ names are in italics below.

Team
(Car livery colours)
Power unit supplierDrivers (Racing number) Nationality
Alfa Romeo
(Dark red and white)
FerrariZhou Guanyu (24) CN
Valtteri Bottas (77) FI
Alpha Tauri
(Navy and white)
Red Bull Powertrains
(formerly Honda)
Pierre Gasly (10) FR
Yuki Tsunoda (22) JP
Alpine
(Blue and pink)
RenaultFernando Alonso (14) ES
Esteban Ocon (31) FR
Aston Martin
(Green)
MercedesSebastian Vettel (5) DE
Lance Stroll (18) CA
Ferrari
(Red)
FerrariCharles Leclerc (16) MC
Carlos Sainz, Jr (55) ES
Haas
(White and red)
FerrariKevin Magnussen (20) DK
Mick Schumacher (47) DE
McLaren
(Orange)
MercedesDaniel Ricciardo (3) AU
Lando Norris (4) UK
Mercedes
(Silver)
MercedesLewis Hamilton (44) UK
George Russell (63) UK
Red Bull
(Dark blue and yellow)
Red Bull PowertrainsMax Verstappen (1) NL
Sergio Perez (11) MX
Williams
(Dark blue)
MercedesNicholas Latifi (6) CA
Alexander Albon (23) TH

Max Verstappen is the current drivers world champion; the former champions on the grid are Fernando Alonso (2005, 2006), Lewis Hamilton (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017-2020) and Sebastian Vettel (2010-2013).

The former Singapore GP winners are Vettel (5 wins), Hamilton (4) and Alonso (2). Vettel has already announced that this will be his final F1 season, so the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix is his last appearance as a race driver on these shores.

Merchandise

You will be able to buy team merchandise at the F1 Village in Zones 1 and 4, as well as Singapore Grand Prix souvenirs. Be warned, though–they don’t come cheap.

Championship situation

After Round 16 of the F1 World Championship in Italy, which was won by Verstappen following a finish under the safety car, he holds a 116-point lead over his closest rival Leclerc. It is much closer between Leclerc, Perez and Russell for 2nd place, with 16 points covering the trio.

Red Bull lead Ferrari in the teams championship by 139 points. The team in red may have to look over their shoulders with Mercedes just 35 points behind them. Further behind, Alpine and McLaren are locked in a tight battle for 4th place.

Can Max Verstappen win the drivers championship in Singapore?

Max Verstappen can mathematically seal his second F1 drivers championship at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix if, at the end of the race, he outscores:

  • Charles Leclerc by 22 points
  • Sergio Perez by 13 points
  • George Russell by 6 points

That is because even if one of these drivers were to win all five remaining rounds of the season and the sprint in Brazil and set all the fastest laps, even Verstappen were to sit out all of them, they would still be unable to beat him. Even if they draw level with him, his 11 wins this season are enough to win on countback.

Final tips

Pack light if you can because there is a separate queue at the gates for people without bags. And even if you don’t have one, wear clothing that allows you to empty your pockets quickly for the metal detector scans.

Besides your mobile device with your tickets and fully vaccinated status pre-loaded, I would recommend bringing spare batteries or a power bank and charging cable. There is an extensive list of things that cannot be brought into the circuit and that includes the orange flares seen at some races–these are forbidden by law.