The 'Singapore Sling' chicane (pictured in 2008) was removed before the 2013 race
On the day of confirmation of the Singapore Grand Prix in the 2008 Formula One season, a routemap was published. The pit area of the circuit is located in an empty plot of land off Republic Boulevard and beside the Singapore Flyer. A temporary track leads from the pit area and under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge to Republic Boulevard and turns onto Raffles Boulevard. It then proceeds along Nicoll Highway, Stamford Road and Saint Andrew's Road around the Padang, past the City Hall.
The track then goes onto the Anderson Bridge, past the Fullerton Hotel and make a tight left turn to Esplanade Drive beside the Merlion Park. It joins Raffles Avenue and cut right after the Esplanade to the front of The Float at Marina Bay and return to the pit area via another temporary road around the Singapore Flyer. The track layout is unique in that in between turns 18 and 19, the cars race underneath a section of grandstand of the Floating Platform.
The track was widely criticised by F1 drivers to be excessively bumpy, particularly on Raffles Boulevard between turns 5 and 7, resulting in a very unforgiving circuit, especially given the hot and humid conditions of the Singapore climate. 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton commented that it was twice as hard to negotiate than the more famous Monaco street circuit, and unexpectedly physical – requiring double the amount of energy over a single lap as compared to the Monaco circuit.
Several drivers, including Sébastien Bourdais and Fernando Alonso, expressed their concern about the high and harsh kerbs at the chicane at turn 10 of the street circuit. Ferrari's Felipe Massa compared the kerbs akin to "little tortoises that would wreck the car if you get something wrong". The drivers were worried that hitting the bumps could cause suspension damage or even damage a tub. They also raised concerns that the bumps would pitch them into the wall on the outside of the corner. Whilst the FIA had been involved in the development of these kerbs, in response to the drivers' concerns FIA race director and safety delegate Charlie Whiting agreed to lower the kerbs at the turn 10 chicane ahead of Friday's free practice. The kerbs were further reduced in height for Saturday and Sunday's night race. The chicane at Turn 10 was reprofiled for the 2010 race in an attempt to make it safer and the turns more gradual by moving the kerbs, however Lewis Hamilton said in an interview this modification made the chicane more dangerous by making the entry to the corner smaller, calling the complex "the worst corner in F1". In 2013, ahead of the race, the chicane was removed and replaced with a left turn, resulting in faster lap times.
The entry of the pit lane, which begins at the penultimate corner of the 23-turn layout, was deemed to be "difficult and incredibly dangerous" by several drivers due to the fast nature of the corners where they were situated. The problem was deemed to be primarily due to the speed differential of those entering the pits and those continuing on another lap and their sharing of the same race line. The controversial pit entry at Singapore was then modified ahead of Saturday's official Qualifying round by extending the pit entry line away from the pits. This change compelled drivers to commit to the pit entry earlier, providing additional warning to those following behind.
In March 2009, three of the circuit's corners were given names after a competition amongst local F1 fans to submit ideas. Turn 1 was named Sheares after Benjamin Henry Sheares, the second president of Singapore; Turn 7 was named Memorial due to its proximity to a Second World War civilian memorial; and Turn 10 was named Singapore Sling. The Singapore Sling was changed for the 2013 Grand Prix and Turn 10 is now a flowing left-hander.
In January 2010, it was reported that race organisers were considering changes to the circuit for the 2011 season. No major changes were made to the layout for the 2011 race, however Singapore Tourism Board has sought submissions on opportunities to reinvigorate the layout or completely relocate it in the future.
In 2013 season FIA approved track configuration changes. Turn 10 chicane, known as 'Singapore Sling' was removed and replaced with a single-apex left-hand bend. Corner entry speed is about 40 km/h faster. To compensate for the increase in speed, an extra layer of TecPro barriers lines the end of the Turn 10 run-off as an added safety measure.
In 2015, FIA approved minor changes to the layout of the Marina Bay Street Circuit ahead of 2015 Singapore Grand Prix. The modifications run from Turn 11 to Turn 13; drivers will still turn right at Turn 11 but it will now kink left slightly on entry, with the track shifting to the left-hand side of Fullerton Road. This will change the profile of Turn 12, as drivers will now use the other side of the Anderson Bridge, while the hairpin at Turn 13 has been widened by a metre in order to increase overtaking opportunities.