Maldonado Eager to Get First Taste of Singapore Night Race


Pastor Maldonado - Photo Credit: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic
Pastor Maldonado - Photo Credit: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic

 

Pastor Maldonado is eagerly anticipating his first ever Singapore Grand Prix this weekend because he loves street circuits, and has heard that the Marina Bay Circuit is beautiful at night when lit up by 1,500 halogen lamps.

The Venezuelan has been spending some time back in his home country recently, as any followers of the BBC’s Lee McKenzie on Twitter will already know. He is hoping to use this weekend’s race to improve on his disappointing eleventh place in Monza last time out.

“Marina Bay is a new track for me so I will need to work hard to learn it ready for qualifying,” says the Venezuelan. “It will be my first time in Singapore and my first time racing at night as well. Everyone has told me it is the most beautiful place so I'm looking forward to getting there. I really like street circuits so I think I can be quick there. We have some upgrades for this race that we hope will be a big improvement and help us better our last result. 

“It has been nice to be back in Venezuela since racing in Italy, especially visiting Canaima National Park last week as it was a great experience. I'm now feeling very relaxed and ready to get back to work in Singapore.”

In contrast, team-mate Rubens Barrichello has competed in all three previous Singapore races, and is hoping that Williams previous good form at the circuit will mean he has a good chance of scoring points on Sunday.

I love Singapore and I think the night race has been a great success,” comments the Brazilian. “I don’t really have a favourite corner as all of them are very challenging. Turn 4, for example, is a medium speed corner with some bumps on the way in that makes you double your attention but you can gain a lot of time there. As it is a long lap you need to keep the car and tyres in good shape as the last corner is a high speed one that determines your speed onto the straight. Williams has always done well there and I hope this time it is no different.”

Outgoing technical director Sam Michael, who will be at his last race with Williams this weekend, explains that this unique race gives the teams plenty to think about.

“Singapore has all the challenges, for both the drivers and engineers, of a classic street race, but with the addition of it also being held at night,” said the McLaren-bound Australian. “There is a large improvement in track grip as the race weekend progresses. There are also more bumps and kerbs to deal with compared to normal and downforce is set to a maximum. Good traction with minimal understeer are always the focus of the car set-up here. We have an upgraded diffuser and a new front wing assembly for the first of the flyaways. We’ll test both of them on Friday.”