2014 Singapore Grand Prix Preview

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Over the summer, Formula 1 has visited some of its most historical and famous venues, with Silverstone, Hockenheim, the Hungaroring, Spa-Francorchamps, and Monza all playing host to some fantastic racing.

However, the sport lives up to its billing as one of the most exotic and exuberant around this weekend as it ventures to Asia for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The tiny nation to the south of Malaysia becomes dominated by F1 for the race weekend as a temporary street circuit around Marina Bay is constructed for the event. Starting at 8pm local time, the race was the first in F1’s history to be held at night, with Bahrain becoming the second earlier this year. However, it doesn’t quite boast the sparkle that Singapore does.

As with any street circuit, mistakes are all the more costly due to the close proximity of the walls. However, Singapore doesn’t do things by halves: not only is the race held at the hottest time of the year, but it is also one of the longest, just scraping in under the two hour time limit. Therefore, fuel consumption is a serious concern for the drivers, not to mention their own concentration throughout the 61 laps.

For this weekend’s race, an extra challenge has been given to the drivers following the FIA’s technical directive on radio communications. Drivers are now to be left largely in the dark about their settings, fuel usage and areas for improvement, which should allow the best to rise to the top without relying on their pit wall. Some concerns have been raised, and it is a step into the unknown, meaning controversy is possible (and in the eyes of many, inevitable).

2014 Singapore Grand Prix – Talking Points

Radio Ga Ga?

As mentioned, the ban on radio communications that could enhance a driver’s performance (or, to be more technical, breaches the regulation saying that drivers must race alone and unaided) could be a major sticking point this weekend. The engineers on the pit wall will have a list of dos and don’ts that they must adhere to, but how policeable really is it? Singapore will be the litmus test for the sport.

Lewis wants to shine the brightest

Following his victory at the Italian Grand Prix, the momentum firmly lies with Lewis Hamilton in the battle for the drivers’ championship. Teammate and rival Nico Rosberg may hold the mathematical lead, but he has been rattled. In fact, he bemoaned the fact that Lewis was “so damn lucky” in the cool-down room following the last race, suggesting that, for all the smiles and niceties, these two remain embroiled in a very bitter battle for the championship – just how we like it!

Can Seb really make it four in a row?

Yes. Sebastian Vettel really could win his fourth straight Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday. His chances are slim, admittedly, but this circuit should suit Red Bull far better than Monza did. If the team is going to beat Mercedes anywhere, it is here – although it may require a race of attrition for it happen. The smiley-faced Aussie assassin Daniel Ricciardo could yet hijack his illustrious teammate’s aspirations of a maiden win in 2014, though.

Williams vs Ferrari rages on

The Italian Grand Prix was a bit of a disaster for Ferrari. Not only did it limp home in front of its faithful fans with just two points, but Williams also surpassed it in the constructors’ championship, rising into third place. Since then, Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed that he will step down as president, and Sergio Marchionne of Fiat is now the top dog at Maranello. Amid this flux, can Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen rally in Singapore to salvage some much-needed points? Williams may struggle here, but quite whether Ferrari can make up the 15-point deficit remains to be seen. It is a big weekend for both teams.

College life

Remember those days in college when you would stumble into bed at 6am and wake up in the middle of the afternoon? That is set to be the norm for the members of F1’s travelling circus over the next few days. As this is a night race, you must stick to European times to keep yourself in sync and, quite simply, awake. It only adds to the challenge of this quite enchanting race weekend.

Singapore – Facts and Figures

Track: Marina Bay Street Circuit
Laps: 61
Corners: 23
Lap Record: Sebastian Vettel 1:48.574 (2013)
Tire Compounds: Super-Soft (Option); Soft (Prime)
2013 Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2013 Pole Position: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:42.841
2013 Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:48.574
DRS Zones: Main Straight (T23 to T1); T5 to T7

Singapore GP TV Times 

Free Practice 1 – 19/9 6am ET Live Extra
Free Practice 2 – 19/9 9:30am ET NBCSN
Free Practice 3 – 20/9 5am ET Live Extra
Qualifying – 20/9 9am ET CNBC
Race – 21/9 7.30am ET NBCSN

For more details of NBC Sports’ broadcasting of the Singapore Grand Prix, click here.

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2