Sports

Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams and Spandau Ballet to perform at Singapore GP

Expect Ferrari to come out roaring off the grid this season.

Kimi Raikkonen is confident that their new Formula 1 car is a "completely different story" to the one that drew a dismal blank last year.

"The whole package is quite a bit better from where we finished last year. We've improved in all the areas," said the 2007 world champion after his first day of testing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain on Tuesday.

"We have a lot of things to do and things to improve, but it's definitely a positive start and we have something to work with."

Ferrari failed to win a Grand Prix last year for the first time since 1993 and Raikkonen endured his worst season, finishing 12th overall and without a single podium appearance.

They also had three team principals in a major shake-up, with the most recent Maurizio Arrivabene arriving last November. He has set a minimum target of two wins this year.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has arrived to replace Fernando Alonso, who has returned to McLaren.

The German lapped fastest in the first two days of testing, although times are less important at this stage than mileage covered.

Raikkonen, who did 92 laps equal to 407km on Tuesday, ended the day second fastest behind Brazilian rookie Felipe Nasr in the Ferrari-powered Sauber.

"You usually know if a car is good or not, and this year is a completely different story than last year, as I had a good feeling straight away when I went out," said Raikkonen.

While Mercedes again completed the most laps, with Nico Rosberg doing 151 at the wheel on Tuesday, Ferrari's improved performance has been noted by their rivals.

"We are keeping an eye on the opposition, especially Ferrari who have been an eye-opener in the last couple of days," said Rosberg.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel's teammate last year at Red Bull, agreed. "The time Seb did yesterday was quick," said Ricciardo.

GOOD TIME

"I don't know about fuel and tyres or whatever, but it was a good time. Ferrari look good for now."

Meanwhile, Rosberg expressed concern about the uncertainty over his home German Grand Prix.

Germany has a race scheduled for July 19, but neither the Nuerburgring nor Hockenheim circuit has agreed to host it.

Rosberg, whose mother is German and his father the Finnish world champion Keke, said he hopes F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will find a good solution for everyone.

Said Rosberg: "For as long as I can remember, the German Grand Prix was part of the Formula One World Championship, so I really hope our Grand Prix will be held this year and beyond that."

Ecclestone told the Press Association that he hopes to keep the German GP on this season's calendar.

In an e-mail to a German newspaper on Monday, he seemed to hint that the race is off, saying that it would not be "commercially viable".

But he made a U-turn later and said he would know by this weekend if the race is still on.

He said: "We are trying to get something done, we are trying to help them. In the end, and only God knows why the audience in Germany is lousy."

- Wire Services.

Maroon 5 to perform at 
S'pore GP

Singapore GP Pte Ltd has released early-bird tickets for the F1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix from Sept 18-20.

On sale until April 30, the early-bird tickets are 25 per cent off the regular price.

For the eighth edition of the night race on the Marina Bay street circuit, fans can expect to see two musical acts debut on the Singapore stage.

American Grammy award-winning acts Pharrell Williams and Maroon 5 will perform at the Padang Stage (Sept 18 and 19 respectively), while British band Spandau Ballet will be at the Village Stage (Sept 19).

"We've been hard at work to raise the bar each year, and we're pleased to make the first of many entertainment announcements for the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix," said Singapore GP Pte Ltd executive director Michael Roche.

"The response has been very enthusiastic, especially since Pharrell Williams and Spandau Ballet will be making their Singapore debuts, and Maroon 5 returns with a whole new album and 2015 tour.

"The Singapore GP team starts work the minute the last race ends to prep and plan the next year's event.

"Four months of hard work went into confirming this initial batch of key artistes and we're edging closer to announcing more great news shortly.

"Fans have been excitedly buzzing on who the Sunday Zone 1 and Zone 4 acts might be. All we can say is, we have more surprises up our sleeve, so stay tuned."

The new F1 season starts in Melbourne in mid-March.

*Access to the Spandau Ballet performance 
at the Village Stage is included with any 
three-day 2015 F1 Singapore Airlines Singapore GP Zone 1 ticket (from $498). Group Booking Special for eight or more tickets is available (from $398).

Get your early-bird tickets now from 
www.singaporegp.sg, via phone 6738 6738 and at all authorised ticketing agents.