The layout of the circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix 2023 experienced a transformation due to local construction work. The previous design, which incorporated four tight corners, was replaced with a lengthier stretch of straight track. It’s expected that the revised layout will be in operation for the next two F1 races before the original returns in 2027, given that the construction work wraps up by then.
In a recent FIA drivers’ briefing, those present displayed unanimous approval for the revamped circuit, suggesting its permanence. Ultimately, the Singapore authorities hold the final say and not the governing body. The newer, quicker pace of the layout found favor among the drivers who don’t really miss the four slow corners sequence.
Fernando Alonso expressed his satisfaction for the new layout, saying, “It was fun. I think it was an improvement from the past. It’s a little bit faster, and you get the rhythm into the lap. So, yeah, I like the change.” Valtteri Bottas also weighed in, stating, “I prefer this layout. I think it’s going to create at least a tiny bit more opportunities, and it just makes the track slightly faster.”
The main conundrum in maintaining the revamped layout lies in the fact that it bypasses the Bay grandstand, a permanent fixture on the original track. The modification reduced the overall spectator capacity by 25,000 or 17% for this year’s race. The event promoters are understandably eager to restore the rebuilt grandstand to its previous state and boost capacity once again, for simple commercial reasons.
Analyzing beyond 2023, it stands to reason that the track’s current version may not be viable in the long run. This is due to the new straight expected to be built over as part of the wider construction project. Colin Sin, the promoter, hinted at a potential compromise, suggesting a return to a Bay grandstand route but with a swifter sequence of corners.
Sin also floated the possibility of the existing layout being utilized for the fourth season in 2027 before the construction concludes. He mentioned to F1 Initiative, “We don’t know how long the government is going to take to rebuild. It could be more than three years to build, it’s probably looking like ’28. We don’t know yet. When they do it, they will make provisions for a better track going in. We don’t have the plans yet, but we could end up with [the entry] sweeping in.”
Addressing the anticipated absence of the main track’s grandstand in the ensuing years, he remarked: “It’s 25,000 people, it’s like a hole in the pocket.”