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Shedding light on the night race

NEWS STORY
13/12/2007

Although we have no official confirmation, according to a reliable source the organizers of the Singapore Grand Prix have a clause in their contract, whereby, should the cost of holding the event at night prove excessive the event will revert to a day-time slot.

Our source claims that the clause, which constitutes a straightforward formula, states that should hold the race at night cost more than 'x-times' more than it would cost at night, the event doesn't have to be held at night.

Meanwhile, the company responsible for illuminating the race, which is scheduled to get underway at 20.00 on September 28 next year, has been shedding light (sorry) on the difficulties faced when undertaking such a task.

Valerio Maioli, whose company will illuminate the event, explained to F1 Racing the monumental challenge that he faces. Referring to the first approach from Bernie Ecclestone at the end of 2006, the Italian reveals: "He said that I must pay special attention to a number of aspects.

"First of all, driver safety. No light beams can be directed into their eyes, even if they spin and are facing in the opposite direction. The same for the marshals; they must not be dazzled. Secondly, it is very important that the television cameras work well, with optimal light and no glare, producing a good image. And, finally, absolutely no blackouts - at any time!"

Thus far, there have been three lighting tests, one run by the FIA at Indianapolis over the course of the 2007 United States GP weekend, and the tests at Paul Ricard in July and September.

Next month, work begins on the 1602 lights needed to light the streets of Singapore - 1485 on the track and 117 in the tunnel - which will be placed every four metres around the entire circuit.

Speaking about the powerful lamps that will light the track, Maioli continues: "We chose 4200K lamps because their warmer light works better with the greenery along the track. The viewing comfort they offer would be better for spectators, too." He reveals that the alternative, 5600K lamps produce "too cold a light, which isn't good for the grandstand spectators."

One of the biggest fears concerns the possibility of power failure during the race - a scenario that doesn't bear thinking about. However, this appears to be covered, for in addition to Singapore's impressive record, with regards the reliability of its power supply, the organizers will use twelve (twin-power) generators, which will be located in sound-proofed containers, with added protection in case of attempted sabotage.

"The status of each generator will be transmitted through a fibre-optic ring to a central building in the pits," reveals Maioli. "All the system data - diesel levels, frequency, voltage, current, temperature - will be displayed and sent to a specific engineer assigned to each generator, as a back-up."

All they have to do now is keep the cost down.

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