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Adam Cooper

Singapore F1 track changes set to help brakes and tyres

Due to construction work, the sequence of four near 90-degree corners towards the end of the lap which led the track under a grandstand has been removed for this year's race.

In its place is a new, longer straight section that leads from the gentle left-hander at Turn 15 to the tight right-hander at what used to be Turn 20, but is now Turn 16.

As well as creating a much quicker lap time, the changes reduce the demand on brakes and will also help drivers to keep the tyres alive over a full lap.

"I think it's going to be easier on the tyres because all the braking and traction zones and the degradation that comes from that should just be a bit easier," Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough told Autosport.

"Normally what happened was, by the end of the lap, because there was not a lot of recovery time for the tyres, your rears, in particular, were absolutely stinking hot on the old layout.

"What this will do is allow them to cool a bit, and your tyres won't be as bad in these last few corners. So actually it makes life easier I think from the tyre side.

"You are still going to be probably at max downforce around the circuit due to everything else, that's not going to really change too much."

Williams' head of vehicle performance Dave Robson suggested that track revisions won't hurt the FW45, which has usually been favoured by high-speed tracks.

Cars will race towards the new Turn 16 (bottom of picture) before turning right and driving past the new Bayfront Grandstand at Turn 17 (Photo by: Singapore GP Pte Ltd)

"The change in layout probably helps us because four corners have been taken away," he said. "So that's probably helpful.

"But I think, more seriously, that will change the nature of that circuit quite a lot. Not so much in terms of the downforce level, but in terms of braking, which is always difficult there.

"The energy the brakes have to deal with, the rear tyre degradation, is always really difficult by the time we get to the last sector.

"So to have those corners taken away from that part of the circuit does change the characteristic of the circuit quite a lot for everyone, obviously. Hopefully, that plays slightly more to the strengths of this car."

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon indicated that the new Turn 16 could create an overtaking opportunity.

"That was very, very good news," the Frenchman said of the changes.

"On the track that you don't necessarily enjoy so much driving around, for them to change it, is very good news.

"Hopefully [it will help] overtaking, which was impossible before. I'm pretty sure we're going to be able to get closer behind, and that's going to change a lot of things."

An interesting by-product of a quicker lap time and faster end to the lap is that it gives teams less time to make strategy calls in safety car and VSC situations, which are common in Singapore.

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