The Scuderia Toro Rosso arrive in Singapore this weekend hopeful of a more competitive outing after leaving behind the power-dependant circuits of Spa-Francorchamps and Monza. Both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat enjoy racing at night, and are positive they can be challenging for points on Sunday.
Vergne is hoping for a step forward from the team at Marina Bay, with updates being brought to the circuit. He admits it is quite fun to drive at night, especially with the event remaining on European time.
“Singapore is possibly the most difficult Grand Prix for the driver, a really long race on a tricky track, in hot conditions,” said Vergne. “The track surface is quite bumpy and demanding for the driver, but that makes it challenging which is why it’s a track that I love.
“We will have some performance updates for this race and I hope that means we can make a step forward and get a good result. The fact it’s a night race has no real effect on how we tackle the race, as visibility is good, in fact the lights are so bright that you don’t even use a clear visor, instead I choose a medium tint.
“Racing at night is fun, it’s quite cool to go to bed at five in the morning and get up at two in the afternoon and just stay on French time. Physical preparation is important as it is such a hot race, so we train in very hot conditions wherever possible during the European summer to prepare and I don’t expect any problems on that front.”
Kvyat has previously won on the Singapore circuit whilst driving in Formula BMW in 2010, but is looking forward to driving the Marina Bay track in an F1 car this year. He is prepared for the physical nature of this event, with the two-hour limit almost reached every year it has been run. He expects the Toro Rosso to be more competitive here than in Monza two weeks ago.
“I have actually driven the Singapore track back in 2010,” said Kvyat. “It was in Formula BMW but of course I only had 140 horsepower then and this year I will have a few times more than that! Therefore it’s going to be a very different experience this time and one I am looking forward to.
“I do like the track a lot, because although it’s a street circuit, it’s much quicker than Monaco for example. Recently I was able to drive it again, although only on the simulator and the feeling I had was good. Although the walls are very close to you, the track itself is quite wide. I enjoy the aspect of racing at night and actually, after this year’s Bahrain GP I said we should have more night races because the atmosphere is really cool.
“I’m sure it’s going to be quite tough physically, but I am prepared for that. In terms of our performance, the fact that absolute power is not the most important part of the package, means we can expect the STR9 to be more competitive than, for example, down the long straights at the last race in Monza. Let’s wait and see but on paper it looks more promising, even though we were still able to put up a fight in Italy.”