The Singapore F1 Grand Prix date has been set – 28 September 2008. With just over a year to go, Singapore has begun putting great effort into preparing for its Formula 1 Grand Prix debut. As soon as the plans are finalized, Singapore will begin road works for its F1 street circuit.
Indeed, these are exciting times in Singapore. It may not be an easy project, but much time and expertise is being devoted to the creation of Singapore’s F1 street circuit. The paddock complex (with control tower, media room, garages, etc.) is presently being finalized and the Land Transport Authority has plans to begin construction in September. Several months of planning have already been spent on the project with Singapore’s government agencies working along with Singapore GP.
The street circuit for the Singapore GP 2008 will be created in the Marina Bay zone. Measuring in at 5.05 km, the race track has been carefully designed to include fast turns, opportunities for overtaking and technically challenging spots. This will be racing action you won’t want to miss. Over 70 percent of the Singapore GP circuit will run on already existing roads. It will be necessary to add section of road measuring 1.2 kilometers, to create the eastern side of the track. There are also plans to widen Raffles Boulevard. An underpass for pedestrians and vehicles will also possibly be created, leading to the pit building. Various modifications to road curbs and to traffic islands is also on the cards.
Efforts are also being made to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is ready for this large-scale event. Stakeholders and Government agencies will be working together to meet the project deadline.
Bernie Ecclestone, the CEO of Formula One, has also stated that the Singapore Grand Prix may be a night race so that Europeans won’t miss out on the live racing action. Because of this, the track design has to include exceptional lighting that can replicate daytime lighting. A number of strict safety protocols will also be put in place.
Race organizers have indicated that between 80,000 and 90,000 tickets will be on sale for the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008. Estimates are that the grandstand and hospitality zone will be able to handle over 80,000 spectators. Of course, hosting the F1 Grand Prix will benefit Singapore economically, as visitors flood in. Perhaps you will be amongst those lucky spectators at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
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.