What We Learnt From Singapore

There are a lot of things to discuss after the Singapore Grand Prix but only a few days to do it, so we better get stuck in before we return for the Japanese Grand Prix where we are likely to get more questions than answers once again. I have done my best to go through some of the major talking points below including my opinion on the matters in question.

Mercedes seem to have the third best chassis
There has been a lot of talk this season surrounding who has the best chassis design and whether Mercedes dominance is purely down to the extra power they have in their engine unit. After this weekend it seems as though questions have been answered, the Mercedes struggled around the Marina Bay Circuit throughout the entire weekend with only Hamilton out of the two drivers showing any sort of pace in the race before a broken clamp in the power unit cut his race short. Hamilton’s DNF left it for both Ferrari’s and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo to battle it out at the Front which had echoes of the 2013 race. Despite Red Bull feeling this race would provide them the best chance of victory Ricciardo only managed to get close to Vettel during the safety car periods. From this I concluded that Ferrari seemingly have the best chassis for low-speed tracks so if they could somehow eek some extra power from their power unit they could really be battling week in week out for the top spot on the podium. Watch this space, Vettel hasn’t given up on the title just yet.

Singapore Security is very lax
I have seen various instances of spectators on the track in my time watching Formula One but never have I seen such a casual stroll down one of the fastest points on the track with no Marshall’s or security anywhere in sight.

To make matters worse for the security personnel, stewards and race organisers it seems anyone could have taken a walk onto the track if they so wished with no signs of anyone at any point around the track where there were access points to the track itself, sometimes these were right in front of spectator grandstands. The FIA has since demanded a full report from race organisers on how this was allowed to happen, I have no doubts there will be much tighter security next year. With safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind in Formula One this shows us we do not only need to make the cars safer but we have to limit the impact of outside factors that put drivers at spectators and risk.

Button on his way out
Speculation has been rife around Jenson Button the last few weeks on whether he will retire from the sport at the end of this season or give McLaren one more year of his time and this weekend for me was the point at which it became far clearer he does intend to step down once the season comes to a close. I have come to this conclusion due to the attitude of Button this weekend, his unwillingness to be drawn on whether he wants to stay in Formula One and his seemingly jovial mood. All of this does not resemble the Button I have seen desperate to win races and desperate to perform, he has only hung around this year to see what Honda could do and with it looking like the progress Honda may make is likely to be years instead of months I think that has made his mind up for him. I expect him to announce before the Japanese Grand Prix gets underway that he is retiring from the sport. I for one will be sad to see him go, I have grown up with Jenson on the grid and I will miss his fantastic attitude and appreciation for the sport not to mention his willingness to talk to fans and the media.

Maldonado Money secures him yet another year
A very low-key announcement happened just 4 hours after the end of the Singapore Grand Prix with Lotus confirming Maldonado will be driving for them again next year, once again no doubt due to the huge financial backing he has that helps out the team year in year out. Not only does this confirm the most incident prone driver will continue to frustrate the other drivers but also that regardless of a Renault takeover Lotus plan to be on the Grid next year which is good for the sport no matter how you look at it.

Grosjean joining Haas
Grosjean has been strongly linked with Haas racing and with no announcement from Lotus regarding Grosjean it looks as though this could be looking increasingly likely, the only thing that could perhaps stop Grosjean joining Haas is a Renault takeover of Lotus. This would surely keep Grosjean at the team with him being French he is almost guaranteed number one driver status if he is to stick around. The driver market is far from over.

McLaren are going backwards
All season long McLaren have bellowed that the Singapore Grand Prix would be their best chance at scoring a good chunk of points, they even took engine penalties in earlier races to ensure they were not hampered for this one but despite that they recorded another double DNF.  Combine this with the news that Jenson Button is likely to leave at the end of the season and the huge drop in funds they will have next season, things seem to be going from bad to worse for the once dominant McLaren outfit and until Honda agree to get outside help with their engine issues I cannot see them turning this around anytime soon.

By: Chris Laker
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