Saturday 16 December 2017

Button wants Singapore night race circuit shortened for sake of drivers

JENSON Button has called for the demanding Singapore Grand Prix to be shortened to assist the drivers.

The sensational night race has become one of the favourites for all concerned since it made its debut on the Formula One calendar three years ago.

But the 61-lap, 5.073km, 23-turn, bumpy, twisty Marina Bay Street Circuit is also the most demanding, both physically and mentally.

On each of the three occasions the grand prix has been held under the lights, and in humidity that can hit a drenching 80%, a safety car period has pushed it close to the two-hour maximum.

Shortening the race, however, would require special dispensation as a grand prix, under current FIA regulations, is 300km plus one lap.

The only exception to the rule is the other true street circuit in F1's blue-riband event in Monaco, whose 78 laps cover 260km.

Ahead of this weekend's showpiece occasion in the Far East, Button said: "It's a very tough race because it's long, the longest on the calendar, normally about two hours.

"Mentally it's very tiring because it's low speed, like Monaco in a way with the barriers so close to the circuit, very bumpy, dark, so it's very demanding for the drivers.

"We find it very, very tough, and after the race you are shattered, in pieces.

"It's one of the races we actually think is a little too long, that they need to maybe shorten.

"We do as much as we can physically, but you can't train for the bumpiness of the circuit, so it's tough for us.

"I do a lot of work in a hot climate beforehand. This year I was in Japan where it's very humid at the moment, which is great, perfect for Singapore."

Button goes into the race as one of the form drivers over the last three races, his run of first, third and second in Hungary, Belgium and Italy is second only to reigning champion Sebastian Vettel.

Unfortunately for Button, the 31-year-old finds himself 117 points adrift of Vettel with only 150 remaining from the final six grands prix as the season heads into the long-haul closing stretch.

Button, like fellow pursuers in McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Mark Webber, has written off his chances of catching Vettel.

For the 31-year-old, the remainder of the year is about having fun, racing for pride and trying to finish the season on as much of a high as possible, starting with realising an ambition in Singapore.

"It's strange to have concluded the European season and still have six more races remaining," said Button.

"Personally, I love this end-of-year series of flyaway races. The circuits we visit are really diverse and from a drivers' perspective, they're some of the best tracks on the calendar.

"Given our current form I'm positive Singapore will be another strong race for us.

"I've been really satisfied with the pace of the car and the efforts of the team.

"Nevertheless, winning is what we're all about, and that's what we'll definitely be aiming for this weekend.

"And this is one of the races I'd most love to win, and I'm hopeful we'll be able to show the same sort of pace we showed at Monaco and Hungary where I had two of my best drives of the year."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport