When I applied to be a Race official at Singapore Grand Prix’13 (SGP) , I thought this would be a festival of Speed, under lights. Little I was aware that these “Lights” will mesmerize me and when I will return I will prefer to call it as “Festival of Light” over speed. Coming from India, where we celebrate Deepawali , our very own festival of light (most famous of all festivals) , SGP gave me almost the feeling that this time Deepawali arrived one month in advance.I believe if one is associated with motrosports by any way, a fan, an official, driver or rider, one should come down to Singapore to watch or officiate in the race for the ambience , thrill , and hospitality.
I belong from India, my journey as a race official started with Indian Grand Prix followed by local races. My reasons to officiate at SGP’13 were simple – Near to India , a great learning platform and experience from fellow marshals about the fraternity of SGP race officials .
Reporting was on Thursday, 19th Sep , 4:00 pm. I collected our overalls , dinner and reported to my post 21.0 R (turn 21). On Thursdays we had FIA inspection and there was nothing much to see except the view from my post.
Being a truly global event, we had marshals from Australia, Hungary, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India on our Post. We all discussed on how different marshalling is in each of our countries while basics remain same.
From Friday the real business started. We had Porsche Carrera Cup – Practice, GP2 – Practice & Qualifying and Formula One – Practice Session 1 & 2. We were told during briefing that we have to switch roles between flag marshals for Flag Panel and Flag post.
There was no action at our post, apart from cars touching the wall and some pieces falling apart.
Late night at 23:30 we had our official FIA Race Officials’ Pit Lane Walk. Seeing F1 cars, shining under lights was a pleasure to watch, with Abu Dhabi and Singapore only places as of now, Abu Dhabi being Day-Night race (Hopefully Bahrain will also join the list soon)
Highlight of the day was my with meeting Russ. It was an honor to meet him and the interaction was great.
Saturday we witnessed GP2 , Porsche Carrera Cup – Qualifying and Formula One – Practice Session 3 & Qualifying. It was again a NO ACTION at our post. All we did between the breaks, were the photography sessions. Below is the pic our small family at 21.0 R
On Sunday we had 2013 Race Officials Mass Photo Shoot which I missed as I was not aware of the timings. “ There is always a next time 🙂 “
Initial sessions were for GP2 – Race 2 & Porsche Carrera Cup – Race. There were minor collisions and small pieces of debris at turn 21 but nothing major.Final and most awaited session was 2013 FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.
Singapore GP is known for its 100% record of Safety Car appearance, with no exception this year as Daniel Ricciardo crashed in front of Bay Grandstand . Later Paul Di Resta’s Force India also crashed and retired. Webber’s car discovered a water leak which slowed him down before it caught fire on the final lap. For me the moment of the event was when Mark Webber hitched a ride on Alonso’s Ferrari.
As soon as the chequered flag was shown firework started and that was the perfect finish to what I now refer as Festival of Light.
Event was a great success and we celebrated it with an after party. I will again emphasize that if you are associated with Motor Sport , you must witness Singapore GP.Overall it was most memorable marshalling trip for me for all that it offered. I will cherish the memories forever and will always try to come back.
I am late putting this blog up but always wanted to put it up before I step into my duties for Indian GP , which starts tomorrow. I am at turn 16 for Indian GP , watch out for me if you see anyone waving blue flag from there.
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