Formula One's forthcoming floodlight debut has caused some within the F1 paddock to express concern over driver safety. Christian Klien, the official BMW Sauber F1 Team test and reserve driver, talks about his night-race experiences and insists that there is no reason for these concerns.
"Currently, many people ask if racing at night represents a safety risk," says Klien. "But believe me, in dry conditions, driving at night won't make the slightest difference for the drivers. It's just the same as in a football stadium. And nobody would believe that playing under floodlights is more difficult for the players. We have taken a very close look at the track in the run-up to the event. The track illuminations will make for lighting conditions as bright as daylight."
The Austrian has competed in races that were partly held at night. He contested - for instance - this year's edition of the legendary Le Mans 24-Hour Race. Consequently, he knows from experience that a driver doesn't need much time to attune to new circuits or adverse conditions. "Formula One drivers have what it takes to find their way even in the case of poor visibility - as recently witnessed at Monza," he says. "At Le Mans, I raced at night for quite a while. And there, the track isn't illuminated at all. But you adapt your style of driving intuitionally to the conditions. At the end of the day, the lap times set in the dark were no slower than those achieved in broad daylight."Source BMW Sauber