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GP Week : Issue 30
>>GPWEEKOPINION Night Fever cars ran. And it all made sense. It has been written that the Will Buxton GPWeek Editor I’M not what one would term a sceptical person, but following the new F1 street race in Valencia earlier in the year, I departed for Singapore uncertain as to what to expect from F1’s first night race. The very notion seemed somewhat gimmicky, and a phenomenally confusing message to be sending out at a time when F1 is trying to be seen as environmentally sound and financially conscious. The sheer cost and environmental impact of lighting a 5km street circuit to daylight-esque levels for a week just didn’t really compute. And then we got here. And the Singapore Night Grand Prix stands not so much as a race to rival the hitherto established grandeur of Monaco, but as one which may completely eclipse it in terms of glamour and sheer spectacle. The circuit itself is fantastic – a punishing and unceasing combination of intense concentration, tricky corners and bumpy road surfaces. So a few drivers complained about the height of the curbs at Turn 10 (beautifully dubbed ‘The tic-tac curves’ by Suttons photographer Gareth Bumstead), but as Lewis Hamilton admitted, you only hit them once. After that, you’re a bloody idiot if you do it again. Isn’t that what race tracks are supposed to be about? Isn’t there supposed to be a punishment for getting a corner wrong? Stop whining and get on with it – it’s the same for everyone. The Singapore street track was what we, as fans and media, have been crying out for. Fast, unrelenting, unforgiving … a challenge of man and machine, devoid of vast swathes of run off. It may not be the greatest place for overtaking, but those moves that were made were superb to watch. It’s a proper street track, and not one edged out to the corner of an industrial part of a city so as not to get in the way either. It’s bang in the centre. As it should be. Our Singaporean hosts must give themselves an enormous pat on the back. The first F1 night race has raised the bar of what is possible in this sport. It was, and will hopefully be for many years to come, a true highlight in the calendar. The race organisers are perfectionists to the last, making any and all changes requested of them without complaint. And the city itself is a wonder … a true 24 hour metropolis. From the taxi drivers to the waiters and police, nobody could do enough to help. And they were all completely fevered by Formula 1. For me, however, one of the highlights was getting back to the hotel at 3am every night and walking a few minutes down the road to a tiny road-side restaurant. It didn’t look much, but was filled with locals. We sat by the road eating local delicacies, washing them down with local beer and discussing how truly fantastic this event was as we waited for the sun to rise before departing to our beds. It was an odd experience, but a brilliant one. One that I, and my many colleagues in Formula 1, cannot wait to repeat. 21 opinion