Singapore is a very cool place to host a very hot race and, just like every year, the weather lived up to expectations, right down to even suggesting it might rain during the race, although the few drops that did fall on Sunday night had more or less evaporated before they even hit the track.
Also evaporating was our chance of scoring points in the Singapore GP, which was disappointing, because this track has normally been the back drop for some good results for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the past. As our team principal Franz Tost said on Sunday night, “we need to analyse why we didn’t perform as expected, and what we have to change to increase our performance for the next races.” It was not a day to rely on the misfortune of others to boost our chances, because this race had the highest number of finishers in the event’s history, with 19 of the 20 cars seeing the chequered flag.
Both Pierre and Brendon had put in some special training sessions before coming to the Island State, to prepare for the heat, basically working in a warm room with lots of clothes on! But no matter how many times we have come here, the humidity still comes as something of a shock during the first day at the track. With the bulk of the working day taking place at night, temperatures do drop, but the heat seems to linger in the pit garages, making it by far the toughest working week for our mechanics.
Pierre’s working week began on Wednesday when he joined Franz at a Casio event, where the Japanese watch maker revealed new Scuderia Toro Rosso branded chronographs, as well as one sporting the colours of our PU partner Honda. It’s fair to say, our team has never been so popular as it is today with Japanese fans and that can only be a benefit for our Japanese sponsors. In three weeks time, we’ll experience this popularity at first hand, when we head for Suzuka. As for Brendon, he noticed a few more New Zealand flags in the crowd as Singapore is not too far for his home supporters to come and watch a race.
Before every race, it’s quite common to see the drivers chilling out listening to music on headphones to “get in the zone” to use the sporting parlance. But there was a twist to this in Singapore: if you had pulled some screens away from the kitchen area of our hospitality on Sunday evening, you would have seen Brendon or Pierre with their headphones on, oblivious to everything around them: the one key difference to the usual procedure is that our drivers were up to their neck in ice water in a huge wheelie-bin. Oh the glamour of F1!
No cooling ice buckets will be needed where Brendon and Pierre are heading next, as they have headed back to an autumnal England for some simulator sessions prior to the next part of the championship, the back-to-back races in Russia and Japan.