F1 Preview: 2016 Singapore Grand Prix

© Getty Images

With the European leg of the 2016 season now complete, Formula 1 turns its attention to the flyaway races and the title run-in, starting with the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.

Since first joining the calendar in 2008, Singapore has established itself as one of F1’s most iconic events, taking place at night on a street course that punishes the slightest of errors.

Nico Rosberg arrives in Singapore riding high after his second straight victory in Italy two weeks ago, cutting the gap in the drivers’ championship to Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton down to just two points.

However, Singapore could be where Mercedes’ dominance unravels. 2015’s race at Marina Bay offered a shock as Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari dominated proceedings, leaving Mercedes off the pace as the third-fastest team. Could a repeat be in store this weekend?

Here is our complete preview of the Singapore Grand Prix, live across NBCSN, CNBC and the NBC Sports app this weekend.

2016 Singapore Grand Prix – Talking Points

Nico chases three-peat, championship lead

Since putting an end to Lewis Hamilton’s streak of victories, Nico Rosberg has looked like a man capable of winning the world championship once again. Flawless displays in Belgium and Italy have drawn him to within two points of his teammate in the title race, meaning a third straight win in Singapore would guarantee him the championship lead.

The second half of the season has been where Rosberg’s title bids have fallen apart in both 2014 and 2015. Victory in Singapore would act as a huge warning shot to Hamilton and, indeed, the F1 paddock as a whole – Nico is definitely in with a shout of the championship.

Red Bull hopes to avenge Monaco heartbreak

Mercedes’ strike record in 2016 has been phenomenal. From 14 races, the German marque has 13 wins, the only blot on its scoresheet coming in the Spanish Grand Prix when Hamilton and Rosberg collided on the opening lap.

Arguably, it should have two losses to its name. Had it not been for an embarrassing pit lane blunder in Monaco, Daniel Ricciardo would surely have won the race for Red Bull. Instead, he was left disgruntled in second place.

Singapore offers Red Bull’s best chance of adding to Max Verstappen’s win in Spain, the tight and twisting nature of the Marina Bay Street Circuit similar to that of Monaco. Mercedes will be on red alert after its struggles last year, and with Ferrari slipping back, it would surely be left to Red Bull to pick up the pieces.

Last chance saloon for Ferrari, Vettel

Much as the Singapore Grand Prix marks Red Bull’s last realistic chance of beating Mercedes again in 2016, it does for Ferrari. With the one-year anniversary of its last victory coming up – a period that would have seemed eternal throughout the 2000s – the team will be under extra scrutiny this weekend.

With Red Bull moving ahead in the pecking order before the summer break, Ferrari struck back at Monza. At a track where aero is king, though, expect the RB12 to be the better package – but don’t rule Ferrari out. Last year’s race proved that, even at a time when F1 is perceived as being predictable, anything can happen.

Strategy king between rain, safety cars in Singapore

Strategy has been all the more important through F1 this year with Pirelli’s addition of a third compound and the arrival of ultra-soft tires. Singapore will see the ultra-soft, super-soft and soft compounds come out to play, offering the drivers plenty of options.

Every Singapore GP has featured a safety car – last year after a man ran onto the track – meaning teams should factor it into their calls. To spice things up even further, heavy rain is forecast in places through the weekend, potentially setting things up for F1’s first wet night race.

The Liberty era begins

In the two-week period that has followed the Italian Grand Prix, the biggest news in F1 has been the takeover of the sport by Liberty Media Corporation. Existing CEO Bernie Ecclestone will remain in his position, but will now be working with new chairman Chase Carey as they look to expand the sport.

Talk in the Singapore paddock will largely surround ‘what next?’ – let’s see if we get any answers.

2016 Singapore Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Marina Bay Street Circuit
Corners: 23
Lap Record: Daniel Ricciardo 1:50.041 (2015)
Tire Compounds: Soft/Super-Soft/Ultra-Soft
2015 Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2015 Pole Position: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:43.885
2015 Fastest Lap: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:50.041
DRS Zones: T23 to T1, T5 to T7

2016 Singapore Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports App 6am ET 9/16
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 9:30am ET 9/16
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports App 6am ET 9/17
Qualifying: CNBC 9am ET 9/17
Race: NBCSN 7am ET 9/18

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports