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Schedule & circuit - Robert Kubica on Singapore’s twin demands 24 Sep 2010

Robert Kubica (POL) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 10 September 2010 Robert Kubica (POL) Renault walks the track with his Engineers.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Preparations, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Thursday, 23 September 2010 Robert Kubica (POL) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 24 September 2010 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Practice Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Friday, 24 September 2010

The Singapore Grand Prix may be the first of five flyaway races but it boasts very singular demands on the drivers. Not only do they have to start and finish work at highly unusual times, it also takes place on street circuit tough enough to compete with Monaco. Renault’s Robert Kubica discusses the ‘crazy’ Singapore schedule and talks us around a lap of the track…

“Singapore is one of the toughest weekends of the season in all aspects. You are driving at night and having meetings very late in the evening, so the way we are working is very strange and the hours are completely crazy.

“The approach I took last year to the unusual schedule meant that I was going to bed very late - about four in the morning. After I went to sleep, I would wake up about three or four in the afternoon. But what is strange is that you don’t really feel the effects of this unusual routine - probably because the adrenaline and concentration is so high when you are at the track. It’s only after the weekend you feel a bit strange.

“I think the Singapore circuit is very demanding, especially physically because there are no long straights and so many corners. And because the speed of the track is very low, the race is very long - something like an hour and 50 minutes of driving, which is really demanding. And you are constantly going from one corner to the next on a track that is quite bumpy. Even though there is quite a long straight after Turn Five going down to Turn Seven, there are so many bumps that you have to hold the steering wheel quite tight.

“The end of this straight into Turn Seven is probably the best place for overtaking, but you need to get a good run out of Turn Five. However, the problem is that there are so many bumps offline and it’s very easy to lose the car. Although last year the bumps were better, the main problem with street circuits is that offline there is very little grip. The cars are going through the braking points all weekend, laying down rubber on the racing line, but as soon as you go offline to overtake, there’s a lot less rubber and often a lot of dust so it’s very, very tricky.

“The Turn 10 chicane is in many ways a strange corner, but also an amazing corner. It’s really very, very tight and a small mistake costs a lot because there are high kerbs. And we’ve seen some cars clipping the kerbs and launching in the air, especially the first year we raced there. I think everybody is now taking a bit of safety margin in this corner because it’s so easy to get it wrong and the price for a mistake is really expensive.

“The last corner is one of the trickiest parts of the lap, but fortunately there’s quite a big run-off area. The corner is quite long but actually the apex is very, very short. The first bit is your apex point and from then on you are on full throttle. If you pick up some understeer, you’re glad of the wider track, but the exit kerb is a bit bumpy and it’s very easy to lose the car.”

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