2014 Singapore Grand Prix Preview


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.

Josef Newgarden claims first Indy 500 victory, outdueling Marcus Ericsson in 1-lap shootout


INDIANAPOLIS — Josef Newgarden won the 107th Indy 500 with a last-lap pass of Marcus Ericsson, giving team owner Roger Penske his 19th victory in the race but his first as the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In a one-lap shootout after the third red flag in the final 20 laps, Newgarden grabbed the lead from Ericsson on the backstretch and then weaved his way to the checkered flag (mimicking the same moves Ericsson had made to win at the Brickyard last year). Santino Ferrucci finished third for AJ Foyt Racing, maintaining his streak of finishing in the top 10 in all five of his Indianapolis 500 starts.

“I’m just so thankful to be here,” Newgarden told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “You have no idea. I started out as a fan in the crowd. And this place, it’s amazing.

INSIDE TEAM PENSKE: The tension and hard work preceding ‘The Captain’s’ 19th win

“Regardless of where you’re sitting. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving the car, you’re working on it or you’re out here in the crowd. You’re a part of this event and the energy. So thank you to Indianapolis. I love this city. I grew up racing karts here when I was a kid. I’m just so thankful for Roger and (team president) Tim (Cindric) and everybody at Team Penske.

“I just felt like everyone kept asking me why I haven’t won this race. They look at you like you’re a failure if you don’t win it, and I wanted to win it so bad. I knew we could. I knew we were capable. It’s a huge team effort. I’m so glad to be here.”

Newgarden became the first driver from Tennessee to win the Indy 500 and the first American to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing since Alexander Rossi in 2016.

“I think the last two laps I forgot about being a track owner and said let’s go for it,” Penske told Snider. “But what a great day. All these wonderful fans. To get No. 19 racing my guy Ganassi, my best friend in this business. But a terrific effort by Josef. Tim Cindric called a perfect race.

“Had a great race, safe race. I’ll never forget it. I know Josef wanted it so bad and wondered why he couldn’t be there, but today all day long, he worked his way up there, and at the end when it was time to go, I was betting on him.”

After Newgarden finally got his first Indy 500 victory on his 12th attempt the two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion climbed out of his No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, squeezed through a hole in the catchfence and ran into the stands to celebrate with fans.

“I’ve always wanted to go into the crowd at Indianapolis,” Newgarden said. “I wanted to go through the fence. I wanted to celebrate with the people. I just thought it would be so cool because I know what that energy is like on race day. This was a dream of mine. If this was ever going to happen, I wanted to do that.”

After finishing 0.0974 seconds behind in second with his No. 8 Dallara-Honda, Ericsson was upset about how IndyCar officials handled the ending.

Though it’s not the first time a red flag has been used to guarantee a green-flag finish at the Indy 500, IndyCar races typically haven’t been restarted with only one lap remaining. The green flag was thrown as the field left the pits in an unusual maneuver that had echoes of Formula One’s controversial 2021 season finale.

“I just feel like it was unfair and a dangerous end to the race,” Ericsson told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I don’t think there was enough laps to do what we did. We’ve never done a restart out of the pits, and we don’t get the tires up to temperature.

“I think we did everything right today. I’m very proud of the No. 8 crew. I think I did everything right behind the wheel. I did an awesome last restart. I think I caught Josef completely off guard and got the gap and kept the lead. But I just couldn’t hold it on the (backstretch). I was flat but couldn’t hold it. I’m proud of us.

“Congratulations to Josef, he did everything right as well. He’s a worthy champion, I’m just very disappointed with the way that ended. I don’t think that was fair.”

There also were a lot of emotions for Ferrucci, who was tearing up as he exited his No. 14 Dallara-Chevy. In the past eight weeks, the team has weathered the deaths of A.J. Foyt’s wife and longtime publicist Anne Fornoro’s husband.

“It’s just tough,” Ferrucci told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “We were there all day. All day. I’m just so proud of our AJ Foyt Racing team. We had a few people riding on board with us. This one stings, it’s bittersweet. I’m happy for third and the team. I’m happy for Josef and all of Team Penske.

“I was trying not to tear up getting into the race car before we started the race. Different emotions. It was different. I think coming to the end, the last few restarts. I think IndyCar did the right decision with what they have done. a green-flag finish for the fans. Wish we had a couple more laps to finish that off.”

Pole-sitter Alex Palou rebounded to finish fourth after a collision in the pits near the midpoint. Alexander Rossi took fifth.

The race was stopped three times for 37 minutes for three crashes, including a terrifying wreck involving Felix Rosenqvist and Kyle Kirkwood that sent a tire over the Turn 2 catchfence.

It had been relatively clean with only two yellow flags until the final 50 miles.

After spending the first half of the race trading the lead, pole-sitter Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay (who started second) collided while exiting the pits under yellow on Lap 94.

Leaving the pits after leading 24 laps, VeeKay lost control under acceleration. He looped his No. 21 Dallara-Chevy into the No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Palou that already had left the first pit stall after completing its stop,

Palou, who had led 36 laps. stayed on the lead lap despite multiple stops to replace the front wing but restarted in 28th.

“What an absolute legend trying to win it,” Palou sarcastically radioed his team about VeeKay, who received a drive-through penalty for the contact when the race returned to green.

The incident happened after the first yellow flag on Lap 92 after Sting Ray Robb slapped the outside wall in Turn 1 after battling with Graham Rahal.

Robb put the blame on Rahal in an interview with NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch.

“I think I just need to pay more attention to the stereotypes of the series,” Robb said. “Pay attention to who I’m racing, and that was just way too aggressive of a move I thought. But yeah, I guess we’re in the wall and not much further to say.”

An already miserable May for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing continued before the race even started.

Rahal, who failed to qualify but started his 16th consecutive Indy 500 in place of the injured Stefan Wilson, was unable to start his No. 24 for Dreyer & Reinbold/Cusick Motorsports.

After two aborted attempts at firing the car’s Chevrolet engine, team members pushed Rahal behind the pit wall and swapped out a dead battery. Rahal finally joined the field on the third lap, but he wouldn’t finish last.

RLL teammate Katherine Legge, who had been involved in the Monday practice crash that fractured Wilson’s back, struggled with the handling on her No. 44 Dallara-Honda and nearly spun while exiting the pits after her first stop on Lap 35.

Legge exited her car about 30 laps later as her team began working to fix a steering problem.