Bernie Ecclestone Promotes Night Racing
When the Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone first mentioned that he would like to host a night race at the Asian Grand Prix, he was met with a variety of different opinions and concerns. Ecclestone commented that a night race in Asia should increase the number of television viewers, especially in Europe. It would then become a day race for the European enthusiasts, instead of being aired in the early hours of the morning. He also anticipates that the effect of the night race will be spectacular and hopefully draw a larger crowd of spectators.
Some drivers have been concerned regarding the safety of a night race. If the lighting on the course is not sufficient and drivers cannot see the road, accidents could occur. Visibility on the track if it were to rain is another point that has been raised. Everyone involved, drivers, organizers and team bosses, know that there is a vast difference between racing at night and during the day. If an accident were to happen, would ground crews be able to cope with the situation as effectively at night as they do during the day? Many questions have been raised in regard to the suggestion.
Organizers of the Malaysian Grand Prix have expressed their enthusiasm in regard to hosting a night race. They believe that a night race would draw more spectators to the Sepang Racing Circuit, as the cooler night temperature is more bearable. If spectators will be prepared to stand and watch the race throughout the night can also not be confirmed. Amidst the concerns and questions, it has been reported that Bernie Ecclestone will consider a late afternoon race if his ideas are met with too much opposition. During these discussions Ecclestone again mentioned his desire to see twenty races during the racing season, opposed to the current seventeen. This will enable more countries to host the Grand Prix races. His suggestion has always been met with great reluctance, as more races, means more work and a larger budget.
If Ecclestone wins the night race debate, we might see night races taking place as early as 2008. Most drivers aren’t really concerned about when and where they race, as long as they can see the track clearly and their safety has been taken into consideration. Of course, it is the fans and spectators that will also be able to either support the initiative with their presence or oppose it by their absence.