I don’t imagine anyone going away from the Singapore Grand Prix disappointed, but it does suffer the same problems from a spectator’s point of view as just about any other street circuit in that views of the track are hindered by narrow range of view that buildings create and catch fencing is always disappointing to see when reviewing photos, though it is easily forgotten while watching at the track.
Unusually for a Grand Prix circuit, Singapore street circuit is divided into 4 zones and having a ticket doesn’t necessarily grant you access to the whole circuit. Whatever zone a grandstand is in, ticket holders will have access to that zone and all higher numbered zones as well. For example, zone 2 ticket holders can access zones 2,3 and 4 but not zone 1. Zone 4 tickets allow access to zone 4 only.
Singapore Grand Prix Grandstands
Just marginally more expensive than Zone 4 walkabout tickets, the Bay stand might seem good value for a grandstand. So how good is it?
Something akin to Monaco’s swimming pool section in terms of the atmosphere in this massive stand, the backdrop of Marina Bay is unforgettable and you’ll be in a prime position to watch the post-race fireworks.
Watching a Grand Prix in Singapore or any other street circuit I would place a lot of significance on watching the race from somewhere that gives you a strong sense of the city’s presence and character, rather than a background of some generic mish-mash of catch fencing and advertising hoardings that could be anywhere. If you go on holiday to Paris you’d rather have a view from your hotel room of the Eifle Tower than next doors’ clothes line.
The Bay Grandstand achieves this in abundance but views of the track are very limited. It’s not every year that a misguided rookie driver deliberately wrecks his car in front of this stand; you’ll mainly be watching cars sprint along the short straight past the stand in a straight line and disappearing before you can say ‘auto-focus’.
© Wee Sen Goh FLICKR
Grandstands T1 and T2
T1 and T2 are very similarly priced and which one is better is really going to come down to individual tastes; a combo ticket to experience both grandstands may be ideal.
For T1 Grandstand spectators, cars enter from the left giving you a brief side on view; the rest is mostly the rear of the cars through the turns. This grandstand enjoys a better view of the first few corners as the cars turn sharply into turn 1 and snake their way through turns 2 and 3 before disappearing.
Seated in T2 Grandstand you’ll see more of the start/finish straight, pit action and a more preferable head-on view of the cars approaching turn 1, but a less clear view through turns 2 and 3.
Turn 3 Premier
Positioned opposite the exit to the pitlane, between turns 2 and 3, Turn 3 Premier Grandstand is arguably the best view at the Singapore Grand Prix. You won’t see the grid from here but you have a very clear view of all of turns 2 and 3, which is a lot more than the millisecond of action that most seats at the venue afford. Desirable views aside, what else gives this ‘Premier’ grandstand its name? Well, to quote from the official website:
‘Each ticket includes 2 meal vouchers, 2 snack vouchers and 5 drink vouchers per day (beer, wine or soft drinks), which can be redeemed at the premium food and beverage facilities adjacent to the grandstand, or at the dedicated bars. Patrons will also receive an amenity pack daily, with quality earplugs, poncho and other amenities. To top it off, patrons will enjoy wider cushioned seats and have exclusive access to executive restroom facilities.’
In my opinion it’s a lot of extra moolah for these little extras and you have to wonder how much of the inflated ticket price goes toward this. As someone who values the on track action above all else I’d be hesitant to recommend T3P. Views are good though, and for some fans the extra level of comfort and convenience will be worth every cent of the ticket price.
Zone 4 Grandstands: Stamford, Connaught, Padang and Esplanade Waterfront
There are several lower priced grandstands located in Zone 4; Stamford, Conaught, Padang and Esplanade Waterfront. Unfortunately the positioning of the stands tend to be too far from the turns to fully appreciate the racing, and watching F1 cars driving a straight line gets boring surprisingly quickly.
Of these grandstands, the best is the esplanade waterfront stand, a small, cozy spot that allows fans to enjoy the overflow atmosphere from the colossal Bay Grandstand just adjacent, and the view over the Bay makes for an unbeatable setting. Unusually, seats lower in the stand fair better as a footbridge across the track blocks the view to the entrance of the chicane for seats higher up.
In many respects, a walkabout ticket is probably preferable, at least giving you the chance to, as the name infers, walk about, find a new exciting view from which to appreciate the show. Of course grandstand ticket holders in this zone are free to do so as well and for many fans, having a guaranteed seat, whether you choose to use it all the time or not is a very desirable thing in Singapore’s extreme heat and humidity.
General Admission – the Walkabout Tickets
Singapore’s general admission areas suffer the same issues as many other street circuits – you’l be close to the track but with a very narrow view of just one corner. Problems following the race are exasperated by the lack of superscreens. Though many of the best views are to be had through jostling for position at the fence, there are a number or stands with metal bleacher style seats. Bring a cushion if comfort is a concern.
Zone 4 Walkabout
There is a small general admission area beside the Esplanade Waterfront grandstand which has a superscreen and English commentary over loudspeaker and is a good place to keep up with the race. It’s also quite a fun place to watch the drivers throw their cars into the chicane before stepping on the loud peddle again past the Bay Grandstand. Unfortunately it is mostly the side and rears of the cars that you see.
The area between the Conaught and Padang stands where the two corners nearly meet, offers probably the best view in general admission with cars heading straight for you before quickly turning right. Overtaking here is a possibility too.
It’s true these tickets aren’t cheap for general admission tickets but they still come in at less than just about any grandstand ticket and if you plan to attend all 3 days at Singapore they are some of the best tickets to have. They allow access to all 4 zones and a great many more viewing areas than the Zone 4 ticket allows, including some excellent scenes of turns 1 to 3. Single day race goers might find they don’t have time to realize the full value of these tickets and a Zone 4 pass will suffice, but for anyone staying longer and wanting an alternative to a grandstand I couldn’t recommend this highly enough.