Why the Singapore GP Trophy subtely changes each year

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Singapore GP trophy near invisible change each year

Image credit: Protocole.ca

Lifting the 1st place Singapore GP trophy is something all Formula 1 drivers want to do. But no-one has done it as many time as Sebastian Vettel who’s won the night race 5 times.

In recent years the trophy has been the same, except for one near-invisible change that occurs each year.

This article takes a look back at the evolution and changing designs of the Singapore Grand Prix trophy since the race’s inception in 2008.

Contents

Who presents the Singapore Grand Prix trophies?

Once the race is finished the top 3 drivers will head to the podium for the ceremony. The winning driving and winning constructor will have their national anthems played and then the trophies will be awarded.

The official FIA post-race procedure states that ‘Dignitaries will present the trophies on the podium’. 

This usually includes members of government, title sponsors and organisers from the circuit of national motorsport body.

At the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix the trophies were presented by the following people:

  • 1st place trophy: Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister
  • 2nd place trophy: S. Iswaran, Minister for Transport
  • 3rd place trophy: Winson Ow, President of Motorsport Singapore
  • Constructor Trophy: Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines (title sponsor)

Different trophies or same trophies?

Some Formula 1 races such as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone have the same trophy every race. Each time someone wins the British GP their name is inscribed on to the trophy to immortalize them in motorsport history.

Some races, however, have a different trophy design each year. The Canadian GP trophy is an example of this, where its design changes completely every time a new Grand Prix comes around.

The Singapore GP trophy is a mixture of both. As you’ll see below, for the first few years of the race the trophy changed dramatically every year.

Since 2014, however, the trophy has been the same with just one subtle change for each subsequent race. Read on more below for the full details.

2008 Singapore GP Trophy

The very first Singapore Grand Prix was held in 2008 and will unfortunately be remembered for ‘Crashgate’ more than anything. That was when Renault F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crashed his car, under his team’s orders, to give an advantage to his teammate Alonso.

The following inquests banned Renault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore from all FIA sanctioned motorsport events. But the crash did help Alonso who went on to win the race, and the result stood.

Singapore Grand Prix 2008 top 3 finishers:

  • 1st place: Fernando Alonso
  • 2nd place: Nico Rosberg
  • 3rd place: Lewis Hamilton

The 2008 Singapore GP Trophy was designed and manufactured by Royal Selangor Pewter, a Malaysian company specializing in high-end tableware. They also made trophies for the Malaysian and Chinese Grand Prix.

The design of the first ever trophy for the Singapore night race wasn’t the prettiest. Infact it made my list of the worst F1 trophies in the last few decades. It was a large aluminum structure with 20 curved pewter panels.

The alternating silver and black pieces replicate the black and white found on the chequered flag.

The shape of the trophy also resembled the Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay in downtown Singapore. Although that attraction wouldn’t officially open until 2012, designs started in 2006.

2009 & 2010 Singapore GP Trophies

The trophies for the 2009 and 2010 Singapore Grand Prix were the same as the one used in 2008.

The small red sections of the trophy were there to resemble the red colour found on the logo of the title sponsor of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 races; Singtel.

The top 3 finishers of the race each of these years were as follows:

2009:

  • 1st place: Lewis Hamilton
  • 2nd place: Timo Glock
  • 3rd place: Fernando Alonso

2010:

  • 1st place: Fernando Alonso
  • 2nd place: Sebastian Vettel
  • 3rd place: Mark Webber

2011 Singapore GP Trophy

Podium finishers at the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix:

  • 1st place: Sebastian Vettel
  • 2nd place: Jenson Button
  • 3rd place: Mark Webber

In 2011 the design of the trophy changed slightly. Still manufactured by Royal Selangor in conjunction with title sponsor Singtel, the trophy was designed to embody a Chinese proverb which translated to “within the four seas, all men are brothers”. 

The numerous small pewter panels on the outside of the trophy are supposed to represent the different nationalities of all the drivers. Sounds a bit abstract if you ask me.

It’s also designed to resembled the skyscrapers that line the downtown Singapore street circuit layout. Now that makes more sense.

Again Singtel had their way by not only getting their logo’s colour on the trophy, but getting their actual logo on it as well. Money talks.

It’s a bit of a monstrosity in my opinion, but I’m sure Seb didn’t care too much when he lifted it above his head.

2012 Singapore GP Trophy

Top 3 finishers at the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix:

  • 1st place: Sebastian Vettel
  • 2nd place: Jenson Button
  • 3rd place: Fernando Alonso

In 2012 the design of the trophy changed dramatically. 

Royal Selangor this time worked with Singaporean designed Nathan Yong who based his inspiration on the laurel wreaths used to symbolize victory as far back as ancient Greece.

Wreaths made of olive tree leaves were awarded to Formula 1 winners throughout the 1990s. 

This trophy is a nice throwback to when the good old boys of F1 would have a wreath around their neck, a bottle of champagne in one arm and a girl in the other.

2013 Singapore GP Trophy

Podium finishers of the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix:

  • 1st place: Sebastian Vettel
  • 2nd place: Fernando Alonso
  • 3rd place: Kimi Räikkönen

2013 was the first time the Singapore GP trophy wasn’t manufactured by Royal Selangor. Instead the contract went to RISIS where it has remained ever since.

The design was quite different to previous years but again incorporated title sponsor Singtel’s signature flash of red.

Singapore GP Trophy 2014 - 2023

In 2014 the title sponsor changed to Singapore Airlines who’ve held the position ever since.

To reflect the change in sponsorship for the event the airline company wanted a new trophy that would reflect their branding.

RISIS’ design was inspired the Singapore Airlines logo of a bird, and the trophy resembles it pretty closely. Each of the two sides of the trophy is a wing and the bird’s head sits between them.

The three 24 karat gold stripes on each wing represent those found on the logo, but also represent ‘power, direction and speed’.

I’m a big fan of this design. Its shape resembles more tradition ‘cup’ style trophies. It’s one of the most beautiful trophy designs we’ve ever seen on the podium.

The one subtle change...

There is just one thing that changes on this trophy every year, and it’s very subtle.

When it was first used in 2014 the black base had 7 small rings running around it. The number of those rings resembled the 7th running of the Grand Prix since it started in 2008.

Each time the race was held another ring was added to the base. Except for 2020 and 2021 when the Singapore GP was cancelled due to the pandemic.

In 2022 Sergio Perez won the race. If we look at the detail on the base of the trophy very closely we can just count 13 rings for the 13th running of the race.

So keep your eyes peeled and you can expect to see 15 rings on the base of the 2024 Singapore GP trophy.

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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