2010 F1 calendar may have 5 night GPs

Renault, Suzuka, 2005, 470150

If Bernie Ecclestone gets his way (and how often does that not happen?) five Formula 1 Grands Prix will be held under floodlights by 2010 – which by then will probably be a quarter of the calendar.

It’s an ambitious target given that the first F1 night Grand Prix at Singapore hasn’t even been held yet.

Ecclestone has already demanded the Australian Grand Prix organisers hold their race at night and if it doesn’t happen at Albert Park (which is difficult because it is a park and not ordinarily illuminated) it is likely he will take the race somewhere else.

He’s snapped his fingers at Sepang too and the organisers have given him the “yes sir, three bags full sir” response. The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix will almost certainly be a night race, the circuit owners using the same company as Singapore are to install the flood lights.

Next on the list is Shanghai International Circuit, home of the Chinese Grand Prix. Ecclestone said recently:

We’ll speak to the people in China, see what we can do there. Obviously when we race in South Korea, it will be good to have a night race there too.

The South Korean Grand Prix is due to appear on the Formula 1 calendar for the first time in 2010. Also new that year will be the Indian Grand Prix, another event that Ecclestone would surely want as a night race. As ever, the impetus is to schedule races at the optimum time for F1′s largest audience in Europe. (It should not be necessary for Abu Dhabi, new on the calendar from 2009).

The only obvious Grand Prix I haven’t head connected with holding a night race is Japan. With Honda and Toyota fighting over the right to hold the race at their venues (Suzuka and Fuji respectively) it is surely only a matter of time before one of them offer to install lights.

The whole thing is rather loony in a very Formula 1 kind of way. Fewer races are being held in Europe because no-one wants to pay Ecclestone’s exorbitant prices. So instead the races are held in countries where governments stump up hundreds of millions of dollars not only to build tracks, but to install lighting so the races can be held at night.

No word yet on the gigantic environmental cost of all this. And what happens if there are problems with the lighting used at Singapore? Would floodlights at Sepang be sufficient in the kind of torrential downpour we saw in 2001?

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35 comments on 2010 F1 calendar may have 5 night GPs

  1. James Steventon said on 20th April 2008, 19:24

    I believe that night races are a good idea, and in many ways it shows that Bernie realises the importance of the traditional F1 fanbase, which is mostly European. You can look at it from the perspective of the Singapore authorities who have poured millions into holding a race there later this year. After all that investment, all that work, Bernie tells them that the race must be at night to satisfy European audiences. It would be like racing at Silverstone at an odd time to please the ‘primetime’ viewer in China, or Japan. Could you imagine the outcry! The idea of night racing is fine as long as its done right. In America, NASCAR and the IRL series have been racing under the lights for years, and its spectacular to watch. The only concern for me is what happens if it rains, as in Fuji last year? Would not visibility be compromised? That could be a problem. Apart from that, I love the idea because it is different for F1. Why not race at Spa at night, or Monza? It would look awesome and would capture the primetime audiences in every European country. How many people would watch a Champions League game on a Tuesday afternoon? Not many is the answer, because they would be at work. At night, people get the chance to see it. F1 should be the same. You can’t expect millions of people to stay up until 3.00a.m in the morning to watch a grands prix? Thats stupid!

  2. the limit said on 29th June 2008, 1:23

    At the end of the day, we should all wait an see how the race in Singapore pans out. If it is a complete and utter balls up then we will all look like the contestants on Mastermind. If its a rip roaring success, then Bernie’s smile will extend all the way to Java.
    Don’t knock it till you try it folks!!!

  3. 1 night race will be good, 2 might be gos as well but 5 is surely overkill. I dont know how other people feel but I actually like getting up in the early hrs of the morning to watch the races. Bernie should stop making stupid demands and concentrate on what is best, finding the best tracks to go to for the best racing. plain. simple.

  4. mmidastouch said on 22nd July 2009, 12:23

    i think f1 is starting to change not for the better i think they should leave things alone and let people enjoy the sport i love going to the f1 in march im not to sure about the time change because i didnt like it

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