Q+A on Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit
The 2009 season ending GP in Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit will take place at an unusual day and night time, where some sessions will take place during the day and some others during the night courtesy of flood lights similar to the GP in Signapore. The race will have a 5pm local start time, therefore it will only have about 45 minutes of daylight, since dusk is shortly before 6pm. The following is an interview with Abu Dhabi's press office.
Why has this decision been made?
F1 is all about constant change and innovation. Most of the time that focus is on the change and innovation surrounding the cars. This is a great chance to set a new precedent. Yas Marina Circuit has been built from the outset to host day and night-time activities. Staging Formula 1's first ever day/night race in Abu Dhabi offers us the unique opportunity to demonstrate this circuit's inbuilt flexibility and state-of-the-art facilities and it couldn't be staged at a better location than with the stunning backdrop of an Arabian sunset.
When will the lights get turned on?
Subject to confirmation by the Race Director, all lights will be turned on prior to the Pit Lane opening before official practice, qualifying and race times. This ensures consistent lighting levels at all times for the drivers.
Will the drivers have to deal with changing light conditions and will that present dangers?
Yas Marina Circuit's lighting system uses a mixture of tall outfield floodlights and smaller infield fixtures to ensure that the lighting level for the driver is consistent throughout the race.
Why is this different to the race start times for Singapore or Australia?
This is the first time in Formula 1 history that a race is scheduled to start in daylight and end during night-time. The difference between Singapore and Australia is that Singapore is a full night race and Australia, due to daylight saving hours, is raced during daylight hours.
Who made the decision?
This is a joint decision between Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management and Formula One Management. It has always been our mutual intention to showcase to the world this spectacular venue and this decision allows just that opportunity.
Who benefits from this decision?
Spectators and television viewers will see the stunning architecture of the world's newest Formula 1 circuit during the afternoon sunlight and then experience what it is like under floodlights. It is the best of both worlds.
How do you think the F1 teams will react?
Formula 1 has a long history of embracing challenges and pushing boundaries. We hope all teams will embrace racing on this spectacular race circuit at this historic time.
What time will be free practise and qualifying?
According to FIA guidelines, practice and qualifying must replicate conditions for the actual race. So, we can expect the second free practice on Friday and qualifying on Saturday to be held under similar sunset conditions.
Does this mean that some or all of the support races will be at night-time?
We are working with FOM to ensure that the support race programme will be set to optimize racing conditions to the benefit of each and every race category. By that we mean: drivers, spectators, and viewers. We will be announcing the support race programme, shortly.
Is this really a first? Surely Singapore and Australia have done something similar?
This is the first time in Formula 1 history that a race is scheduled to start in daylight and end during night-time.
How have you taken into considerations the drivers' previous complaints about the danger of driving in day/night conditions?
Yas Marina Circuit's lighting system uses a mixture of tall outfield floodlights and smaller infield fixtures to ensure that the lighting level for the driver is consistent throughout the race. The lights will be on from the start of the race to ensure a seamless transition from daylight to dark.
Have you taken into consideration those people who have booked flights already?
Inbound and outbound flight schedules for Abu Dhabi and the UAE are compatible with both the previous and new start times for the race. Those with bookings need not change their travel plans.
Does it mean the F1 teams will have to bring more personnel?
As with the time change for Singapore last year, the F1 teams changed their working days to suit the new schedule.
What happens with daylight savings times?
The change in daylight savings is on October 25th 2009 for Europe and November 1st for USA. Except for the USA, broadcast times for race-day will be unaffected.