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Formula 1 races on a new layout of the Marina Bay Street Circuit this weekend, where Red Bull will be hoping to maintain their perfect record in 2023. Here’s what to watch out for and who to back at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

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15 years on from its debut as Formula 1’s first-ever night race, the Singapore Grand Prix remains one of the highlights of the season. The event itself can feel more like a festival than a Grand Prix at times, such is the wealth of trackside concerts at the venue in the heart of the city centre – a model which other venues worldwide have since tried to replicate.

The dazzling floodlights under Singapore’s soaring skyscrapers make for a unique atmosphere and the race always delivers a healthy dose of dramatic action. The humidity and high temperatures make this one of the most testing races of the year for the drivers. Last year, wet weather conditions made the race weekend even more challenging. Sergio Perez kept his cool, taking the lead from polesitter Charles Leclerc on the opening lap and going on to lead all 59 laps of the race.


Singapore’s new track layout


The Marina Bay Street Circuit will have a slightly different feel this year with major changes to the track layout. Construction work in the bayfront area means that drivers will bypass part of the track that formed Turns 16 to 19 in the final sector, which uniquely ran underneath one of the grandstands.

The four corners in the former section of track have been replaced with a straight, meaning that lap times are estimated to be around ten seconds faster in 2023 compared to previous years. Furthermore, the longer straight could aid with overtaking opportunities into the final corner and on
the pit straight.


Is a 100% win record achievable for Red Bull in 2023?


No team has ever won every race in a single season before. McLaren came close in 1988, winning every race that year except the Italian Grand Prix, but no team has a perfect 100% winning record.

With Max Verstappen becoming the first driver in history to achieve ten successive Grand Prix victories last time out at Monza, the target for Red Bull now surely must be to maintain their 100% winning record in 2023. There are eight races remaining this season and the team is now just five wins away from equalling Mercedes’ record of 19 wins in a single season from 2016.

Red Bull has an impressive record at the Singapore Grand Prix. They’ve won here four times – three times with Sebastian Vettel and with Sergio Perez last year. The team has also finished on the podium at every Marina Bay race since 2010. Another podium this weekend would make them only the second team to record podium finishes on 12 consecutive visits to a track. The other teams to have done so are Ferrari, at Monza between 1950 and 1961, and Mercedes, in the last 12 races at Silverstone.


A new circuit for Verstappen to win at


Currently on a streak of ten consecutive wins, Max Verstappen has never previously won the Singapore Grand Prix. The reigning champion has recorded two podium finishes at the track – second in 2018 and third in 2019 – but is yet to stand on the top step.

A win this weekend for Verstappen would make him only the second driver in F1 history to have won at 24 different venues, overtaking Michael Schumacher for second on the list.


Red Bull could win the title at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix


There is the very slim chance that Red Bull could wrap up the Constructors’ Championship at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix. It requires a perfect weekend for the team and misfortune for their rivals, however. Red Bull will have the chance of winning the title in Singapore if they record a 1-2 result and record the fastest lap – but only if Mercedes fail to score more than one point.

In the Drivers’ Championship, Max Verstappen cannot win at Marina Bay Street Circuit but could potentially claim his third successive title at next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. Again, the chances of that happening are relatively slim. A more likely scenario is that Verstappen will be able to seal the deal on his third title at the Qatar Grand Prix – which also features a Sprint event – in early October.


Mercedes optimistic about their Singapore Grand Prix chances


Those hoping to see an end to Red Bull’s dominance could be in with some luck in Singapore. Mercedes are optimistic about their chances at the Singapore Grand Prix. Marina Bay Street Circuit has some similar characteristics to the Hungaroring, at which Lewis Hamilton took the team’s only pole position of the season to date.

Singapore does throw a surprise result sometimes. Back in 2015, Mercedes took every pole position of the season – except in Singapore. Sebastian Vettel unexpectedly came out on top that year and went on to win Sunday’s Grand Prix. Aside from Mercedes, expect the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin to be challenging one another at the sharp end of the grid.


Watch out for the Safety Car!


The high probability of a Safety Car appearance can bring an extra layer of intrigue to strategy calls at the Singapore Grand Prix. Every single running of the Singapore Grand Prix to date has featured at least one Safety Car outing. There have been 24 Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car call outs in the 13 races here to date. Reasons for Safety Cars have been varied, from first lap collisions, purposeful crashes and fans walking on the track.

The timing of the Safety Car here can make or break a driver’s race – just ask Fernando Alonso and Renault, who controversially won the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix as a result of team-mate Nelson Piquet Jnr being instructed to crash to aid his team’s quest for a long awaited win.


A Happy Birthday for Ocon?


Esteban Ocon hasn’t been having the best of times in recent races. He’s failed to reach Q3 at any of the last six races – his longest such streak since the start of his career – and has failed to reach the chequered flag at three of the last five races. His only finish in the top seven so far this year is his podium finish at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ocon will celebrate his 27th birthday on the day of the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix. His birthday wish will likely be for a return to a strong points finish, unlike his recent results. He’ll also be hoping to avoid retiring in Singapore, which he has done on his last two appearances at the track.

Ocon has celebrated his birthday once before at the Singapore Grand Prix, back in 2017. He finished tenth on that day, recording his only point to date at the track. More points would be a welcome present for the Frenchman on Saturday.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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