In-principle approval a milestone in history of sport
(SINGAPORE) Singapore made history in the air yesterday, and got the green light to make it on the roads as well.
Even as the first-ever commercial flight of the Airbus 380 took off at 8am yesterday, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) finally gave the go-ahead for a night race to be held here.
Never before has Formula One seen a race hosted after dark, under floodlights. It will provide a unique perspective for F1 fans around the world. The fact that it starts late in the evening here also means that it will get maximum exposure on European television markets. The inaugural Singapore Grand Prix is slated for Sept 28, 2008.
‘Given that one of our objectives is to showcase Singapore to Formula One fans around the world, our late starttime will help us achieve this. The stunning city skyline backdrop will be an added bonus,’ said Colin Syn, deputy chairman of Singapore GP.
However, as the approval is only in-principle, additional tests to the lighting system and track circuit will still have to be conducted in the run-up to the race.
Minister of State for Trade & Industry S Iswaran said the approval was both a ‘milestone’ and very welcome affirmation from the FIA.
‘They have been satisfied with all the efforts in the preparations for this night race. They need to now make sure they test it out completely in the local context, make sure that it is fully functional and workable in the Singapore environment. Once that is completed, then we should have the clear signal to go ahead.’ The minister reckoned that everything should be wrapped up by sometime next year.
Nonetheless, Mr Syn appeared confident. ‘We are well on our way – with two positive lighting tests under our belt, we are on track to delivering the first night race in Formula One history,’ he said. The confirmation of a night race came as more than welcome news to avid F1 fan Anisha Merchant. Ms Merchant has previously travelled to both Shanghai and Monaco to catch the Grand Prix in action. ‘Watching the F1 is already such a thrill but racing at night will add a whole different dimension. It’ll be interesting to see how the drivers and teams handle it,’ she enthused.
The confirmation of the night race also means a clearer picture of hotel room rates during the race period in time to come, which has been subject of much speculation since the announcement by the government that trackside hotels would be slapped with a 30 per cent levy. Various hotels have cited uncertainty about the race time as one of the key factors holding them back from announcing official prices.
Source: Business Times 26 Oct 07