The 2017 Italian Grand Prix served to highlight once again that current Formula 1 regulations around grid penalties for exceeding…
Scuderia Ferrari have installed a 6th Power Unit and Gearbox into Sebastian Vettel’s ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix today. This should equate to a 15 place grid penalty for the German which would be normalised to zero given his start position , however with the change having taken place under Parc fermé conditions a pitlane start is more than likely.
After a disastrous qualifying session, in which an anti roll bar failure saw the German unable to set a representative time in Q1 and the team with insufficient time to repair the issue, Vettel was set to line up on the grid in 22nd place.
With a high probability of a safety car during the Singapore Grand Prix, time lost through a pitlane start is expected to be minimised. Through starting from the pitlane Sebastian will be able to avoid the risk of incident off the start. Heavy rainfall in Singapore between qualifying and the race will have removed all rubber put down through the race weekend up until this point leaving the surface quite “green’ this may impact the tyre strategy Scuderia Ferrari opt for with Vettel with the life of the ultra soft compound tyre expected to be significantly reduced.
If points were awarded to drivers for not using their complete allocation of tyres Sebastian Vettel would be in the box seats for the Singapore Grand Prix! With 3 sets of unused Ultra soft compound tyres availble, owing to a technical in Q1 leading to a back row start for the race tomorrow, Sebastian and the Scuderia have the opportunity to take a ultra aggressive approach to the race. Philosophical on the difficult session Vettel commented:
” For tomorrow we have a long race in front of us, with a lot of safety cars. At least we have some new tires, and even if for sure it is not an ideal situation. we can still have a good race.”
Red Bull Racing and AMG Mercedes Petronas have taken opposing strategies to the race with the former electing to start of the Supersoft compound the latter the Ultra soft. Lewis will be keen to ensure he recovers from an average qualifying session quickly to minimise any time behind a Red Bull on a slower compound.
Pirelli have confirmed the life of each tyre compound is expected to be around 21-23 laps, the challenge will be managing the level of drop off in performance which could be as great as 6 seconds per lap.
A two stop strategy is expected to be the quickest way to complete the race, with a very high probability of safety car periods team strategists will be working overtime to pick the precise points at which to complete those stops and reduce loss of track position.
Nico Rosberg has looked strong throughout the weekend. With a good start and a cushion of Daniel Ricciardo between him and his most likely challenger Lewis Hamilton, the race could be his to lose.
See the info graphic below for a breakdown of drivers tyre availability for the Singapore Grand Prix: