Cars and stars at Singapore F1 Grand Prix 2018: Who to see, where to go and how to get there

The illuminated Marina Bay Street Circuit, as seen from Swissotel The Stamford.
The illuminated Marina Bay Street Circuit, as seen from Swissotel The Stamford.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Over three nights this weekend, motor racing enthusiasts will flock to the city centre to catch the Formula One (F1) night race.

Taking place from Friday (Sept 14) to Sunday on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix (GP) promises not just fast cars but also famous performers.

Here is a quick guide on what to expect at the 11th annual night race.

Who to look out for on the track


(From left) Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly are among the names to watch out for at this year's Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix. PHOTOS: AFP/EPA-EFE

Arguably a name that even non-F1 fans will likely know, three-time Singapore GP champion Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on a fourth win at this year's event.

At a meet-and-greet event at Suntec City on Thursday, the driver for Mercedes told reporters: "This street circuit is incredible. This year, the car is better than it was... I'm really hopeful that this weekend, we can have more of a fight."

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is also just as famous as Hamilton - but for different reasons. Dubbed "Mad Max" by some, the 20-year-old Dutchman was involved in a massive three-car-collision at last year's Singapore GP.

He has since put the incident behind him, however, and told reporters: "We know we can do a good job here. I want to be on the podium this year."

Also look out forToro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, 22, who will be making his debut on the Singapore circuit. The rising star, whose F1 journey began in Malaysia just under a year ago, said: "Singapore is one of my favourite races on the PlayStation (game of the race) so I'm really looking forward to this weekend. It will be a challenge, but that's what makes it more exciting for me."

Who to look out for off the track



Deejay Martin Garrix (left) will be performing as the closing act on Sept 16, while Mandopop star Jay Chou will headline on Sept 14.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE GP

While many who attend the Singapore GP will be there for the hot action on the track, many others will also be looking out for the hot acts by the track-side.

Mandopop star Jay Chou, who sold out his past performances at the Singapore National Stadium in 2016 and January this year, is the headline act for Friday.

American alt-rock band The Killers, who last played here at the 2013 edition of F1 in front of an audience of 60,000, are also returning.

The event's closing act will be famed deejay Martin Garrix, who has performed several times in Singapore, including at the 2014 and 2016 editions of major dance music festival ZoukOut , but not at the Singapore GP.

Garrix, who was the youngest DJ to win DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs poll in 2016 and repeated the same feat last year, said of Singapore: "Everyone is so happy and energetic. I love it. Also, it's beautiful."

Non-music fans need not feel left out, as other stars will be present at the Singapore GP, including actress Michelle Yeoh of Crazy Rich Asians fame.

According to a statement on the Singapore GP's website, Yeoh will be at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday to catch the action and lend some glamour to the occasion.

 
 

Where to go

Not everyone enjoys jostling with the crowds to catch a glimpse of the cars and stars. For those who have the cash to spare, booking a hotel room near the event can give one privacy and a bird's-eye view of the race they desire, although available rooms may be running out.

Some popular hotels are The Fullerton Hotel, located at the hairpin turn of the race, and The Fullerton Bay Hotel, located close to the circuit. Both hotels were fully booked last year during the period of the Singapore GP.

Other popular hotels during past iterations of the Singapore GP were the track-side Pan Pacific Singapore and the Royal Plaza on Scotts, which were 95 per cent full during last year's race.

Fans who prefer not to be cooped up in a hotel room can still enjoy the action at other locations, offered by the race's organisers as part of five hospitality packages where one can lounge, eat and still catch the high-speed action.

New on the list this year is Twenty3, a cluster of three restaurants, four bars and a two-storey Apex Lounge located at Turn 23 across the Singapore Flyer.

Other hospitality options offered are Sky Suites, The Green Room, Lounge @ Turn 3 and The Singapore Formula One Paddock Club.

How to get there

Due to the high volume of traffic expected around the race area, organisers recommend that fans use public transport when travelling to the circuit.

There will be more train services to cope with the higher demand, with services at City Hall MRT station extended until 12.30am on Friday and Saturday, and 12.45am on Sunday, over the race weekend.

Depending on which entrance to the race you are heading to, the nearest MRT station could be one of the following: Nicoll Highway, Promenade, City Hall, Esplanade, Raffles Place or Bayfront.

A more comprehensive list of transport directions can be found online at https://singaporegp.sg/getting_around