Alonso slams brake on night racing

Thu, 15 March 2007, 07:36

World champion Fernando Alonso has slammed the brakes on Bernie Ecclestone’s plans to bring night racing to F1.

The reaction to the concept has been mixed, for while some have lauded the idea for its novelty factor and convenience for European TV audiences, actually implementing the necessary lighting systems is likely to be costly and draw criticism from environmental groups due to the amount of power needed.

Spaniard Alonso, who drives for McLaren, expressed doubt that it could be made safe enough for the highest category of open wheel racing.

“For me it’s very, very hard to believe that they will have strong enough lights to see perfectly okay to have a race, a grand prix,” Alonso, who said he could hardly “see anything” during a night demonstration in his McLaren in January, told a news conference at the Albert Park circuit on Thursday.

“But sometimes formula one surprises you.”

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, meanwhile, agreed that visibility would have to be comparable to daylight, but local driver Mark Webber – who backed Ecclestone’s idea – argued that too much lighting would detract from the atmosphere of a night race.

Racing’s DTM (Germany) and IRL (America) categories have already staged night races.

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