Formula One might be the main event in Singapore this week, but it hasn’t been immune from the chaos caused by the launch of the iPhone 5. The queues for the latest Smart phone were at their worst on Orchard Road, the main shopping artery of Singapore, and they meant that a proposed appearance by Force India’s third driver Jules Bianchi had to be cancelled because he couldn’t get to the merchandising shop where he was expected!
They were crazy scenes, but not as extreme as watching the mechanics working in the sweltering conditions during practice at the Marina Bay Circuit. A mid-afternoon rain shower prior to FP1 generated unbearable humidity, in addition to an ambient temperature of 33 degrees. The conditions prompted Williams F1 team manager Dickie Stanford to come up with an amusing analogy.
"If people at home want to know what it's like for the mechanics," he said, "they should stand in a hot shower fully clothed and hold a spanner." Nice.
One man going to an extreme to keep cool is Nico Rosberg’s PR manager Georg Nolte. He’s still sporting the ‘crew cut’ inflicted on him by the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS mechanics prior to the summer break in August, which was a delayed celebratory snip following Nico’s win at the Chinese Grand Prix in April.
"They wanted to shave it after China," says Georg. "I managed to persuade them to wait until the break so that it had time to grow back before the next race! My wife thought 3mm was too short, so I've let it grow to 8mm since then and she seems happy with that. It's my hot weather specification!"
The hot equatorial conditions mark the return of the paddling pool to the F1 paddock. Yes, several drivers have brought the pools to Marina Bay - but they're strictly used for work. They are filled with water, which is chilled to 11 degrees and the drivers jump in at the end of each on-track session to bring down their core temperature.
No-one on the grid has continued former Williams F1 star Rubens Barrichello's slightly odd tradition of sitting in engineering debriefs with his feet wrapped in ice. At least none of the drivers are admitting to it this year...