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Webber calls for more research regarding night race

NEWS STORY
31/03/2007

Following what he described as a leisurely drive around the proposed (street) circuit in Singapore, Mark Webber has called on the powers that be to do a little more research before rushing ahead with plans for a night race.

"They are talking about the night concept which is very, very new and pioneering and something which has not been done before in Formula One," Webber told reporters at a press conference following his laps of the proposed circuit in a Renault Megane Cabriolet.

"It requires a lot of research and development into actually understanding how it could take place in terms of the amount of lighting required to make the event safe for the drivers, marshals and people taking part," he continued. "There's a few unanswered questions which need a bit more research, but that happens when you have something very exciting and something very new which is what we have here. Also, the question of whether it rains has been mentioned."

Referring to the proposed circuit, he said: "All the drivers are very, very keen to race on a new street circuit, which is definitely going to be the case here. It's a clean and beautiful city and I think it will be a real signature event if you can have a Grand Prix here," he added.

Although there had been talk of an official announcement regarding Singapore's joining of the 'F1 club', none was forthcoming, though Webber remains confident that if those involved get to work the race could go ahead as early as next season.

"If there are people walking on the moon, you can make things happen very quickly these days," he said.

However, the Red Bull driver added a note of caution, concerned that F1 should think carefully as it continues to seek new venues in the East, seemingly turning its back on its European heartland.

"My opinion is that we still need to keep the backbone of where the sport was born, which is over there," said Webber, referring to Europe. "We need to keep a lot of that feeling for it, although we also have to be absolutely open to fresh ideas.

"It's a world championship so we have to travel to different countries to race and show we are competing at different venues around the world and that we have people of different nationalities competing at this level," he added. "Coming to new venues is inevitable, that will continue to happen. Every decade, some venues drop off and some new ones come in. The new tracks at Shanghai and Istanbul are absolutely massive financial acquisitions from the governments, or the people, who have funded these programmes. That's why they will probably stay in the calendar for a while."

At a time when the future of F1 racing in France is in doubt - following the French Motorsport Federation's decision to suspend the 2008 event - Webber is mindful that F1 has already lost some of its traditional venues.

"There have some scalps," he admitted, "like Imola, which has lost its berth at the moment, while Spa was off the calendar but is coming back again this year.

"That's just the way it goes," he added. "I think we will see some venues pop out and the odd one will come back."

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