For the eighth time in the World Championship era, Formula 1 returns to the city-state of Singapore for what has fast become a new tradition - the F1 Night Race, the Singapore Grand Prix. As challenging and demanding as this twenty-three corner Marina Bay Street Circuit is, this year's race presents a couple of new challenges - a reprofiled layout, but most importantly, the haze. The air in Singapore has been covered in a dense haze for the last several days, caused by the unfortunate forest fires in the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. The density of the haze out at over 200 PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) on Monday, which is considered "Very Unhealthy" on Singapore's index. Since then, the 24-hour PSI has dropped to 98-118, but civilians are still being advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities as much as possible. Strenuous activities which might include...driving a Formula 1 car at ten-tenths for two hours. Last year, rookies Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat had an extremely difficult time coping with the brutal heat and humidity that Singapore throws down, even under the night sky. The addition of haze to the mix will undoubtedly test the fitness levels of all twenty drivers on the grid. One driver that had no difficulty coping with the conditions last year was Lewis Hamilton, who won his second career Singapore GP while championship rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg limped off the starting grid with electrical issues, and retired after just thirteen laps - putting Lewis Hamilton in the lead in the World Drivers' Championship, from whence he would not look back. Hamilton enters this race coming off his second career Grand Chelem in Monza, and he will look to wrap up his third title early with another string of late-season victories - as Rosberg suffered a late engine failure at Monza which put him 53 points down on Hamilton with seven races remaining. Speaking of 53, that is the permanent number being carried by Formula 1's newest and most American addition to the grid, Alexander Rossi, whose five-race stint at Manor begins this weekend. And on very late notice - he only booked his flight to Singapore two days ago. There are a lot of very invested American racing fans eager to see how Rossi will do in his debut performance (the author included) after spending nine years climbing the ladder through North America and Europe to reach this point. Rossi's pre-F1 career arc trends rather similarly to that of Mark Webber, who also was given just a handful of races at Minardi to start his F1 career. And we know how that first race turned out for Webber. Expectations must be tempered to start off with, given Rossi is driving the slowest car in the field and they would need ridiculous attrition levels to reach the points, but even if Rossi can only regularly out-pace Will Stevens in the same equipment, his time at Manor will be considered a success. Stevens outqualified previous teammate Roberto Merhi 6-3, well above projections given their respective forms in Formula Renault 3.5 last year - in which Merhi was a title contender and Stevens was a distant sixth overall. Singapore is not a power circuit, so the under-powered squads such as Red Bull, McLaren, and Toro Rosso may find themselves back in the fight for points after two very tough races at Spa and Monza. Low-speed traction will be the key as Marina Bay Circuit is plastered with first, second, and third-gear corners and requires a lot of downforce to negotiate effectively. It's also a very difficult track for overtaking, so those teams, which have been victimized by record-shattering grid penalties for power unit changes all season long, must keep the collateral to a minimum to keep as high on the grid as they possibly can. Back to the conditions - how will Max "The Bandit" Verstappen and Carlos Sainz fare in Singapore's brutal environment for the first time? Projected to be a three-stop race, how well the teams manage their strategies will go a long way towards their drivers' success. Sebastian Vettel is no stranger to success here - he's a three-time winner of this event, and his new Ferrari has been very kind to its Pirelli tyres this year. He once again enters as the number one candidate to win other than the Mercedes duo - while teammate Kimi Raikkonen has just one podium finish here in five starts. But they'll need a solid weekend and a rocket start as they had in Hungary to threaten Hamilton, Rosberg, and the mighty Mercedes - the clear favorites to win big again and have the fireworks explode above Marina Bay in their honor when they complete the difficult sixty-one laps Sunday night.