A Quick Lap Around Marina Bay
The Formula1 Singapore Grand Prix on Marina Bay Street Circuit has a distinctly different feel from most Formula One venues. It’s louder, for one thing, with the roar of V10 engines bouncing off buildings and sidewalks of the business district that are used to little more than rush-hour honking. Under the blinding lights, the echoes of engines and screeching tyres reverberate across the streets, mixing with music and air-horns and the smell of burning rubber, to turn Marina Bay into a massive three-day party zone. The 2019 event had 268,000 spectators in attendance over three days.
When: The 2022 Singapore Grand Prix will take place from 30 September to 2 October, 2022 with practice sessions on Friday, the qualifying on Saturday and the final race on Sunday.
Getting there: Getting to the track is a piece of cake, since the Marina Bay Street Circuit is within the city and Singapore’s public transport is excellent.
Tickets: Ticket booklets come with instructions for bus and metro routes for specific zones and links to online route planners. Signboards are abundant and clear, and it is nearly impossible to get lost. Tickets There are more than 15 ticket packages to choose from, depending on budgets and levels of enthusiasm. Purists who prefer to sit in the pit grandstands and be closest to the drivers opt for the Pit Grandstand package (Rs72,000; 3-day pass; access to all zones). Others forgo the grandstands in exchange for the freedom to roam across all four zones and soak in the atmosphere with the Premier Walkabout pass (Rs 22,000; 3-day pass; access to all zones). Tickets are priced differently for each grandstand, with varying zonal access. Fans claim that turn numbers two, three and five offer the best views of overtaking action. All packages and prices are available at www.singaporegp.sg/ticket.
Gear: While it may not seem apparent on television, Formula One engines are deafening at close quarters, so it is a good idea to pick up earplugs from vendors around the circuit.
Flying Lap: The circuit complex is divided into four zones, each with its own draw.
Zone 1 is the most exclusive, encompassing the entire pit area, and is the closest that visitors can come to the cars, teams and drivers. The main grandstands, as well as the hospitality suites are all here, and the grandstands at turns two and three, are a good vantage point to watch the mayhem as the cars come through during the opening laps.
Zones 2 and 3 offer less impressive views of the race, but are great advertisements for Singapore’s urban architecture. Grandstands are set against the backdrop of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which is linked to the track by the twisty and oh-so-futuristic Helix Bridge that looks stunning when lit up at night. In Zone 2, the Singapore Flyer, a giant, slow-moving Ferris wheel gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the entire track as well as Singapore’s Central Business District skyline. The experience is grand, albeit short-lived, and visitors should be prepared to wait in long queues to go up while the race is in progress.
With a massive stage, grandstands, and tonnes of food and beverage vendors, Zone 4 is the busiest part of the circuit, especially when race events aren’t in progress. Over the years, the stage has seen performances by Linkin Park, Shakira and the Black Eyed Peas. Marshmello, Westlife and Green Day are the headlining acts for 2022, with local artists forming the supporting cast. In addition to the five grandstands, Zone 4 has walkabout areas adjacent to the track. Each zone has its share of food stalls, merchandise shops, exhibitions, and entertainment hubs, and it’s easy for visitors to walk from one zone to the other, provided they have tickets with access.
Refuel: There are plenty of restaurants around Marina Bay that offer both good food and sparkling vistas. Pull up a seat by the waterfront or ride an elevator up for a bird’s-eye take on the city at these restaurants. Lantern (Fullerton Bay Hotel), and Level 33 (Marina Bay Financial Center) offer great rooftop ambience along with a sweeping view of the Marina Bay Circuit. For food and beverage at a lower altitude, consider Overeasy and Prelude on Fullerton Road, or the Japanese stylings of Five Izakaya Bar at the Hitachi Tower. For more diverse options, head to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – one of Singapore’s largest luxury shopping malls with amazing views of the city skyline and get a taste of the world with over 80 restaurants in one destination offering local and international cuisine from globally acclaimed to Michelin starred.
Many of Singapore’s A-list hotels overlook the Marina Bay Street Circuit with rooms that are coveted and expensive. Some justify the premium, arguing that a room with a great view is equivalent to a grandstand ticket. The Pan Pacific Singapore is in the centre of the circuit, while the Marina Bay Sands offers a view of the track’s waterfront section. Swissotel The Stamford is perfectly located next to turn 9, with easy access to two MRT stations (City Hall and Esplanade.) Hotels within the circuit offer race weekend packages with a few freebies thrown in.
Trending on TFN