Max Verstappen admits he is interested in the impact the revised track changes will have on this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Construction work taking place around the Marina Bay Circuit has enforced Turns 16-19 to be replaced by a single long straight, with lap times estimated to drop by up to 10s.
While Singapore will remain a high-downforce venue, the new flat-out section could open up another overtaking opportunity, thus potentially having a profound impact on how the drivers and teams approach setting up their respective cars compared to previous visits.
Verstappen, who is chasing an 11th consecutive win and a first in Singapore on Sunday, believes the revised track arrangement will only add to the challenge.
“I’m looking forward to the night race in Singapore, Marina Bay is a cool circuit,” the Dutchman said.
“This year it will be interesting to see how the revised track layout will impact the general behaviour and set-up of the car, I think the lap times will be much quicker.
“Singapore is probably going to be the most challenging weekend out of the upcoming races as the stakes are heightened on a street circuit and the field is usually very close, not to mention the heat and humidity.
“Last year we had a very unlucky weekend, hopefully this year it will go a bit better and we’ll of course do our best to make sure we score maximum points this weekend.”
Meanwhile, Sergio Perez took advantage of Verstappen’s misfortune last year to assume responsibility as the lead Red Bull car.
The Mexican, who had qualified second, seized the lead at the start, then survived mixed conditions and race-long pressure from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to claim a memorable victory under the lights.
Ahead of his 250th race start in Formula 1, Perez is targeting a repeat of his 2022 Singapore GP performance to end a win drought that stretches back to April.
“Last season was probably one of the best races of my career, it was such a hard one to navigate, with the heat, the track conditions and the concentration that is required around a street circuit,” Perez explained.
“Of course, I would love to repeat the win but it will be tricky, the new track layout is going to make things quicker in sector three and there will be rain, so it could be fun!
“This weekend is my 250th race in Formula 1 and I never would have imagined I would race an F1 car that many times when I started my career.
“It has been a dream and I am proud to have represented Mexico all over the world for this many years and I would love to give them another win this Sunday.
“I have a one-off helmet to mark the moment and I think it’s going to look very special under the lights at night.”