September 20th, 2019

#SinGP: Cooling off in Singapore

2019 FIA Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix – Practice – Friday
Weather: FP1: overcast and humid, 32.0-30.5°C air, 42.6-38.2°C track; FP2: overcast and humid, 29.5-29.2°C air, 34.3-33.1°C track

Practice day at the Marina Bay circuit was a hot and sticky affair today – as it always is here in Singapore. But when all is said and done and the power units fall silent in the pit lane, that’s when weary drivers and team personnel seek some solace from the relentless humidity.

A must-have in the paddock, at least for the 20 souls who brave the heat from the little ovens known as cockpits, is the ice bath. Leave aside for a moment the thought of grown men splashing about in paddling pools – as anything else in Formula One, there’s a lot of science and a pinch of technology behind this. Take Kimi’s very own inflatable tub – a state of the art, boot-shaped receptacle able to contain 400L of water: it is part of a rigorous routine aimed at minimising recovery times and help our driver cool down after the rigours of a session. After every session here in Singapore, trainer Mark fills the tub with a hose, adding a bucket of ice cubes to lower the water temperature to a chilling 7-10C, before the Iceman (pardon the pun) soaks himself in for five minutes. It’s planned and calculated – more about stopwatches than rubber ducks. It’s not a comfortable experience but, as anyone who experienced bathing in chilly waters knows, “it’s fine once you’re in!”

To be fair, our drivers aren’t the only one who would benefit from a dip in the frigid waters of the bath. With a pesky technical issue in the garage holding us in during FP1, the prospect of a neck-and-neck contest during qualifying and two hours of non-stop action on Sunday night, plenty of other team members would do with cooling off a little bit. Mark – keep that water cold. You might see quite a few team members heading in for a plunge.

Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 06/Ferrari)
1st practice: 14th / 1:42.786 (13 laps) / 2nd practice: 16th / 1:41.232 (28 laps)

“It’s hard to say where we stand as our first session was quite messy. We lost all the electric power and therefore telemetry in the garage so I had to stand there for nearly an hour and I lost precious lap time. In FP2 we tried to catch up and we improved, but still we have an awful lot of work to do tomorrow.”

Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
Alfa Romeo Racing C38 (Chassis 04/Ferrari)
1st practice: 13th / 1:42.677 (15 laps) / 2nd practice: 14th / 1:41.128 (35 laps)

“It wasn’t the easiest of days, especially losing some track time in FP1, but in the end we managed to do a good job in the second session. As I expected, conditions in the car are really hard and I really felt the humidity, especially in FP2. The track is a proper street circuit, quite bumpy, and it’s hard to find the grip in places, but it got better as the sessions went on. We are quite close to our rivals in the midfield so the rest of the weekend should be a close battle. Qualifying in the top ten will be really important: overtaking is challenging here and if we start towards the front we have a good chance to stay there. We will need to analyse all the data from the car tonight, especially in regard to our new updates, and make sure we have a good, balanced car for tomorrow.”