Night racing and the environment

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

2008 Singapore Grand Prix night race artist?s impressionMax Mosley is requiring teams to start using environmentally-friendly technologies on their cars from 2009 in the form of KERS.

Meanwhile Bernie Ecclestone has signed a deal with Singapore to hold a race under floodlights, Malaysia looks set to follow and he’s pressuring Australia to do likewise.

You have to ask yourself if the pair, often thought of as being joined at the hip, share the same vision of the need for F1 to ‘Go Green’?

The organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix are planning to erect 1,485 projecters each putting out 2,000 watts to illuminate the race, consuming 3.18m watts. The power will come from 12 generators, which presumably will have to run on a fossil fuel.

It wouldn’t necessarily be much better if they plugged the lights into the national grid. Singapore has four power stations that produce over 1,000Mw each. Three of these burn natural gas and the other, an oil fired plant, is being converted to natural gas. There are more polluting forms of power generation, but this is not exactly ‘green’.

That said I doubt many other countries could supply this much energy from entirely ‘green’ resources. Would it be possible to hold a ‘green’ night race anywhere?

Perhaps Abu Dhabi could – it will hold its first F1 race next year and is planning to build the world’s largest hydrogen power plant.

It may not need to hold a night race, as it is only two hours ahead of Turkey which holds its race in daylight. But it could choose to simply because it can afford to, and to fit the television schedules as neatly as Ecclestone would like.

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