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TRAVEL DIARIES: Singapore Grand Prix Through the Years

Experience the Singapore Grand Prix through a lifelong Formula 1 fan's eyes. Crystal Rebucas's travel diary offers insider tips on tickets, seating, and maximizing your race weekend. Get ready for a high-octane journey filled with passion, excitement, and invaluable advice for your next F1 adventure.

As a lifelong fan, my fascination with Formula 1 began back in 2004, right in the thick of the Michael Schumacher era. Those days, I would willingly sacrifice weekends to catch the races live, letting the outcomes dictate my mood for the start of the week. My allegiance? Firmly with Ferrari, both then and now.

Over the years, my enthusiasm only deepened. I devoured books on the subject, watched countless documentaries, and pored over every issue of F1 magazine, absorbing the intricate details of the sport. My visit to the Maranello factory in 2016 was particularly memorable. Standing at the gates, seeing the iconic prancing horse emblem, I couldn’t help but feel emotional; a testament to my journey from a mere fan to a true aficionado who appreciates every facet of this exhilarating sport.

Since 2008, with the exception of the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, I’ve been a regular at what is often heralded as the original night race in the Formula One calendar—the exhilarating Singapore Grand Prix. Fresh off a thrilling Monaco home race win by Charles Leclerc and a spectacular 1-2 Ferrari finish at the Marina Bay Circuit last year, my excitement is mounting as I prepare for my fifteenth visit to the Singapore GP this September.

Tip 1: Take advantage of early bird promotions for race tickets.

There have been many changes affecting both the event and the sport in general. Most notably, the sport’s skyrocketing fame has led to long-time fans welcoming new enthusiasts into the fold. Despite rising ticket prices, the interest in attending the races remains high, so securing tickets as early as possible is crucial. Tickets for next year’s race usually go on sale as early as the last day of this year’s race weekend.

But which ticket should you get? The ultimate choice will depend on the kind of access and experience you desire and, of course, your budget.

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I’ve watched from all zones of the track and have used a variety of tickets, from walkabouts to sky suites. I highly recommend purchasing 3-day tickets to get more value for your money. If meeting the drivers is a must for you, ensure your ticket grants access to Zone 1. If you’re keen on the performances, choose a location with the most routes to the Padang Stage. For the best on-track action, the Turn 2 Grandstand offers one of the most spectacular views. Based on my experience, the Bay Grandstand is one of the best places to watch the race—the energy there is incredible, as it’s the largest grandstand.

Tip 2: Review the Track Map and Grand Prix Weekend Schedule in Advance.

This tip is crucial for planning your race weekend effectively. Although activities on the track typically occur from the afternoon into the late evening, it’s unlikely you’ll want to attend them all. Knowing the best entrance to use and the start times of the events you wish to attend will help you efficiently plan off-track activities. Locate local attractions near the gate you plan to use so you can ensure timely arrival for on-track events, even if you engage in non-F1 related activities.

Do not rely solely on the signage and volunteers inside the track for guidance. I make it a practice to visit the track early on Friday to scout out the best routes from my spot to various zones or areas I intend to visit.

While I used to appreciate the handy folded maps and event lists, in this digital age, it’s crucial to ensure you download the Singapore GP app.

Tip 3: Pack Comfortable Clothing.

There will be a lot of walking and queueing, so choosing the right footwear is crucial.

The weather can be very unpredictable; I’ve experienced everything from scorching heat and thunderstorms to very humid conditions. It’s wise to check the weather forecast beforehand but also be prepared for sudden changes. Carrying a poncho might be a good idea, and don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen.

Earplugs used to be essential, but recently the engines have become much quieter. Whether you need them now will depend on your personal noise tolerance.

Tip 4: Book Flight and Hotel Accommodations Early.

We all know that the closer it gets to the event date, the more expensive flights and hotels become, so it’s wise to book early. Singapore offers a wide range of accommodations across all budget tiers, but you’ll be competing with countless other travelers from around the world who all want a place to stay that weekend. Ideally, you should try to book a place close to the track, but if budget constraints make this difficult, don’t worry. The Singapore transportation system is among the most efficient in the world. Just make sure to allot ample travel time to reach the track when you intend to be there.

Tip 5: Plan Your Nutrition and Hydration.

To stay energized throughout the night, it’s crucial to plan your meals properly. In recent years, what has worked best for me is having a hearty early dinner and then sneaking in some candies or chocolate bars. Although outside food is technically not allowed, I’ve never been stopped by security. I only bring enough to tide me over in case I decide to skip the food stalls altogether.

Given Singapore’s humidity, it’s also essential to stay hydrated. Last year, in addition to stalls selling drinks, there were hydration stations around the track where you could refill your water bottles for free. Be sure to know where the nearest station is located relative to your spot.

Stay informed with all the essential details about the 2024 Singapore Grand Prix, taking place on Sunday, September 22. The race will cover 62 laps of the 4.94-kilometre Marina Bay Street Circuit. As you gear up with these tips for the next Singapore Grand Prix, don’t forget to catch up on all the behind-the-scenes action with “Drive to Survive” Season 6. This post-season documentary offers a riveting look into the highs and lows of Formula 1, perfect for getting in the racing spirit. Whether you’re a seasoned F1 fan or new to the sport, this series is sure to rev up your excitement for what promises to be another thrilling race season.

Armed with these tips, you’re all set to make the most out of your Singapore Grand Prix experience. From securing the best vantage point to staying well-fed and hydrated, a little planning goes a long way in ensuring a memorable race weekend. So gear up, get ready, and immerse yourself in the thrilling world of Formula One under the sparkling lights of Singapore. See you at the track!

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