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.

More on the Singapore Grand Prix

21 comments on “Night racing and the environment”

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  1. My concern with Night Races isn’t so much the ‘how’ but the ‘why’. Why does Bernie need to spend so much of other people’s money just to increase his profits? Think about it – the FIA doesn’t provide Singapore with the money to set up the lights, that has to be provided by the local Racing Promoters, who in turn have to find extra revenue through increased sponsorship and higher ticket prices. Bernie has claimed the rights to all the property along the route, so he gets any money from grandstands and shops in those sites, instead of Singapore. And who is going to pick up the cost at the end of the day? The local fans! Thats why the Australians said ‘No’!
    I am also sure that there will be a ‘Night Race’ Premium forced on the TV companies who want to show the race, so there will have to be more advertising breaks during the race.
    This at a time, as has been said before, when the other half of the FIA is forcing the Teams to cut necessary costs (and nobody has mentioned the FIA cutting its running costs at all).
    Also, on this point, the actual costs for going racing have increased recently, everything from the F1 entry fee and Superlicences to what the circuits have to pay for the right to hold an F1 event (as well as any ‘Bernie-isms’ necessary to keep him happy). So in actual fact, the teams are paying more to get onto a racing grid and less to make a racing car! And I don’t think that is in the Spirit of Motor-Racing at all!

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