Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr. says the demanding nature of the Singapore Grand Prix, makes it the most challenging race on the Formula 1 calendar.
Heat, humidity and an extremely tight track that seems to go on forever, combine to make this grand prix extremely hard work for the drivers, and the Spaniard says there is no time for respite at any point during the race.
“I’d say Singapore is probably the toughest race on the calendar, not only because of the demands of the circuit itself, but also because of the physical stresses regarding the driver.
“The physical stress of driving at more than 50 or 60 degrees inside the cockpit due to the heat and humidity is enormous. The air doesn’t flow, as the city skyscrapers don’t allow it and you really feel the hot air inside the car!
“The track itself is really long, very tight and extremely demanding. There’s no time to rest during the lap and you have to be 100% focussed at all times, as the walls are all very close.”
Although the Toro Rosso driver qualified well at the Marina Bay Street Circuit last year, to line-up in sixth place on the grid, he got into trouble at the first corner when he clipped the RS16 of Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver Nico Hulkenberg, negating Saturday’s efforts.
Although the Spaniard was able to continue following the incident, he later received a black and orange flag for driving with damage to the car that could potentially fall away, and the resultant pit stop to repair that, ended his chances of finishing in the points.
At the time, Sainz Jr. was apoplectic, but with the disappointment now behind him, the Spaniard is hoping for a much better result this time around, where he feels the STR12 will perform strongly.
“Last year I performed one of my best qualifying sessions of the season, something which is very important to do in Singapore as it’s difficult to overtake during the race.
“Unfortunately, the good qualifying didn’t count for much in the end, as I had a frustrating start when I got hit as the lights went out… It was a very tough moment, as I was expecting to fight for points.
“We probably lost a chance of scoring a strong result! Let’s see if we can do it this year…”
One thing that could of course break the focus needed for Sainz Jr. to stay on course for a top ten finish is the current speculation regarding his future.
It is now believed the Spaniard will join Renault in 2018, maybe even as soon as the Malaysian Grand Prix, as part of the McLaren Formula 1 Team’s rumoured move to Honda power next year, and Toro Rosso’s switch in the other direction.
Hopefully all will be revealed this weekend, ahead of Sunday’s race.