Sunday, September 27, 2009

FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX


(Ferrari F1 mock up during road show in down town)

Formula 1 GP Singapore just ended and I am feeling tired, my body and mind is winding down from all that adrenaline that was coursing through my veins all evening. The action was fantastic, those who have only seen the race on TV like I have for a long time, really need to get to a race and watch it live. The sound, the speed, the atmosphere, the fun, nothing comes close to being there. This time I found myself at the Pit Grand Stand, opposite the pit lane and garages, meters away from the starting grid!

video
(Brazilian Samba dancers at F1)

The race was won by Lewis Hamilton followed by Timo Glock and Alonso and that’s common knowledge by now. I won’t dwell into the results part of it but will only say that there was plenty of drama. 14 out of 20 cars finished and there were some racing incidents including one where Force India driver hit Nick Heidfeld and both went out of the race, also a bit of excitement when Mark Webber’s brakes locked up and he went out of the track backwards and back crashed into a crash barrier, ending his race.


(F1 cars at the starting grid above and below)


Other than the thrills and spills, it was beautiful to watch Lewis Hamilton drive with clinical precision. He finished first, went past us punching his fists in the air, jumped out of the car at the end of his victory lap to take a kiss on his helmet, given lovingly by his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger (lead singer of the Pussy Cat Dolls)! What drama and what a finish.

video
(Travis rocking the audience, one more Travis video at end of this article)

Formula 1 GP Singapore is the only night race venue in the World. The event is not just the race itself but many other side attractions that are a week long, culminating in the race itself. The entire week is packed with F1 themed events and it is called "F1 Rocks" and involves live performances from World famous artists at various venues in Singapore. Some of the familiar performers were Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, Black Eyed Peas, Backstreet Boys, Travis, ZZ Top and Chaka Khan (oldies would know these last two for sure) and even Brazilian Samba dancers who lent a Brazilian Carnival festive mood to the event as the video above shows! Race day saw Travis, the band from Scotland, perform an hour before the race and I have a video of this in this blog below. They had all of us singing and dancing, belting out well known numbers.


(me on practice day at F1)

I have to blog a few things about the organization of this whole thing. Singapore is famous for efficiency and that was in full show during this entire event. There were free shuttle buses that connected some MRT stations and the entire exercise was seamless. No stress, no worries about getting to the race venue or out of it at the end of the race. There were huge crowds but very well managed, no one was pushed or shoved or crammed into buses like they do in cattle class. It was all so seamless. For that, and that reason alone, one should make a trip out here. There was easy wheel chair/disabled access areas, food and drink concessionaires, first aid stations, first class security and so on.


(Singapore Flyer-World's biggest Observation Wheel-bigger than London Eye, seen from Race seating)

When you enter the venue, on a donation of S$2 (Two Singapore Dollars) to a charitable organization, one was given a "survival kit" consisting of ear plugs and a plastic rain coat in case it rained. Without ear plugs, you'd be deaf by the end of the race. Singapore Grand Prix night race is run on a regular street circuit. Even with traffic diversions and restrictions there was no chaos and no stress. I just cannot compare this to most places in Asia or elsewhere. So, for this, I must say “Singapore Rocks!”

video
(Start of the Singapore Grand Prix Race notice the speed and sound-people without ear plus trying their best to plug with their fingers!)

The race itself is the crème de la crème of course. That’s what we all really look forward to in the end. There are three days of exposure to the Formula 1 cars, one practice day, one day for race qualifying. For those who are not clued into the race, qualifying is the day when drivers put their cars through the best timing possible and the car/driver with the fastest lap times during qualifying, heads up as “Pole position” on the starting line up (Starting grid). And the third day is the Race day. I went for the practice sessions, skipped qualifying to party with friends from India who had flown in to watch the race and made it to the actual race today, 27th September 2009. For those who missed this year in Singapore, I’d suggest a trip out next year if possible. It's simply worth a trip, to see Singapore, enjoy the events and the race, a hard to beat combination.

video
(Lewis Hamilton on the Podium excuse my poor video)

Bonus Travis Video at the pre race event:

video

21 comments:

Vishwas Krishna said...

I'm no fan of the F1 sport, but your observation on the organisation of the whole event is something which can be followed here in India and avoid unwanted stampede deaths. And never knew one had to wear ear plugs!

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Vishwas, you need to see the way they organize things here on this scale. I was an F1 fan on TV, especially when the red Baron Schumacher was driving for Ferrari. But I had not seen it live (nor heard it live) and trust me, without ear plugs, you'd really do damage to your ear drums! The sound is deafening but also thrilling at the same time.

I am not confident that we can organize so efficiently in India. For example, the Bangalore Air Show that happens once in two years...I attended ten years back and then again sometime recently and it is still chaotic, badly organized, confusing, people jumping lines, jumping over fences (and under), people arguing, pushing, shoving, never ending.. and as for public transportation/shuttle services (or the lack of it), that's another story to tell. I don't know why we are like that! Singapore is made up of Asians mostly, many of whom are Indian origin but everything is done so orderly. It boils down to self discipline I suppose.

You are right, we must avoid this mad rush that we have in India and avoid stampedes and unnecessary deaths and injuries. They are planning to bring Formula 1 races to India soon. I hope they know what they are doing.

Swaram said...

Nice post Captain :)

No chaos n no stress - hw well organised!

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Swaram, absolutely no chaos and no stress at all! The atmosphere was nice too, comfortable weather, light breeze, all the makings of a great night race!

rahul said...

Nice compilation.

Thanks
http://TechZed.com

Kamini said...

NIce post. I felt as if I were there, watching the goings on!

Namita Chandra said...

The organisation part is excellent in Singapore no doubt that makes it an added attraction to see the race in Singapore. After reading your post it almost seems that I've been to the event.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Kamini, thanks, the videos took so long to load. I'd have posted more but I think this is sufficient.

Namita, I had such a problem posting a comment on your latest London blog earlier today but it now seems to be OK. Here's the latest news tonight, they are going to have a bigger event next year because the Inaugural Youth Olympic (YOG) Games will be held in Singapore next August and followed by F1 in September. So, they are planning on clubbing events that starts with the YPG and ends with the F1! Now that's going to be a mammoth task and if anybody can do it, it's Singapore that really can.

YOSEE said...

That was one excellent piece of reporting. Your excitement is so apparent, bubbling over in every paragraph !
Having no fancy for auto speeding of any sort, i nevertheless enjoyed reading about all the "frills and thrills" that accompanied the show. And have to agree that when it comes to systematic organisation of anything, Singapore is indeed incomparable.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Yosee, thanks, for me it was totally cool! I forgot to mention the monetary benefits in my article, both direct and indirect to Singapore economy. They are great at promoting the event as well as the Country and people go away carrying good impressions with them. I saw many visitors from India who had flown in for the F1 as well as all the side shows that were on offer. Can't get all these performers in India at one venue at the same time, that too free! Many visitors would have seen the benefits of traveling to Singapore coinciding with the event, to have more options for everyone in their family.

Dew said...

I love the racin car..it's super sleek and coool :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Dew, me too, the sleek lines are beautiful indeed. And the speed at which they go, wow! At one of the chicanes on the circuit when the driver brakes, he experiences 400 Kgs of pressure on him. Average driver weight in F1 is 75 Kgs I believe. So just imagine they have to race for 2 hours experiences huge G Force on their bodies. You've got to be super fit to drive Formula 1 cars.

avdi said...

I feel like weeping when I hear how well other countries organise their events/ how well they manage their resources / how they seem to think of everything. I feel like crying out like a jealous wife - Sonia me kya hai jo mujh me nahi. quote from the film Daag (Singapore me kya hai jo India me nahi)

But alas, it is almost pointless to raise such issues.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Avdi, Singapore has no natural resources, small to have anything large but has managed to become first world because of the foresight of its founders. Some of my friends in India argued that things can be done in Singapore because it is small and manageable with 4 million people. My counter argument was, can they develop ONE, just one city in India or small town in India that can have the same facilities and standards? Lets see if we can do one and then attempt pan India. We have all the resources there, manpower, intellect etc but absolutely ZERO political will. Therein lies the problem. We could have become first World by now otherwise.

avdi said...

You are so right it makes me seethe.

Rachael said...

Good Afternoon,

I am Rachael from Ink publishing, we publish Inflight magazines for airlines all around the world. I’m writing concerning our destination pages we have in our inflight magazine for Jetstar Asia. Basically we need people to write a little short write up on each country. Do let me know if you're interested parties. Currently we need people to write about:

Ho Chi Minh
Taipei
Yangon
KL
Kuching
Penang
Kota kinabalu
Medan
Surabaya
Bali
Siem Reap
Phnom Penh

If you could email me at rachael.nonis@ink-publishing.com, that would be great.

Thanks and regards,
Rachael Nonis

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Rachael, I will write to you shortly.

Bob Rex said...

Brilliant piece Cap, you have packed the spirit of F1 in every sentence you wrote.Singapore sets high standards which is an inspiration for many countries in the Asia region... great read.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Bob.

flowergirl said...

Long time no visit your blog Capt!

I shall show this one to my son - he's the F1 follower!

I am so apprehensive about how the commonwealth games will turn out!

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Flowergirl: Thanks for visiting again. I am just recovering from a flu and culd not post comment early and then took the next day to even reply to you! I am getting back on my feet now and should be 100% fit by the weekend. Sure, please show this to your Son. For me, F1 was a real high, watching from up close instead of TV like I used to.