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Do We Need another Night Time Street Race?

Last week we heard that Thailand may soon be joining the crowded Formula 1 calendar, but do we need another street race under artificial light?
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd, 2012 (F1plus / Rosie Baillie).- It emerged last week, on thursday, that Thailand and the FIA have made a provisional agreement to holding a Grand Prix there, which could appear on the calendar as soon as 2014, though it’s far from set in stone and fee’s are yet to be agreed.

Speaking about the potential race, Kanokphand Chulakasem, Governor of the Sports Authority in Thailand said “It will be a city race like in Singapore and Monaco. It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix.”, but do we really need another night time race? And a street race at that.

Last weekend when the Formula 1 circus hit Singapore, any who was interviewed mentioned that what made Singapore so special, so magical and so unique was simply, that it was held at night time.

It’s wonderful to see those cars whizzing around the streets of Marina Bay under the floodlights, as drivers wear over the top glittery and shiny helmets, and is there any better way to end a race than with fireworks? I think not.

Singapore has recently confirmed that it will play host to Formula 1 races until 2017, so we know it’s not a case of Thailand replacing Singapore on the calendar.

Do we need two night races?

Although the checkered flag falls in Abu Dhabi as the sun is going down, Singapore is the only true night race on the grid, with the entire race being completed in the dark.

I personally, don’t like the idea of another night race, it’s what makes Singapore so special and such a spectacle, if there were two night races it wouldn’t be quite so special. Though, we would get to see those sparkly helmets twice a year.

Singapore and Thailand are geographically close together, so it’s likely we’d end up with two night races back to back, though one could be held at the beginning of the year either side of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The reason for having another night race, is most likely because it benefits the European audience, who can watch the race in the afternoon rather than having to get up early. This will also benefit the US audience, who wouldn’t have to get up during the middle of the night to win, though they might have to get up slightly earlier than usual on a Sunday.

Formula 1 will certainly be looking to appeal to the US audience with the addition of the US Grand Prix and the New Jersey GP to the calendar.

None of the above are bad for the sport, though I do think it will make Singapore slightly less special, however if it’s bringing in more fans I can’t argue with that.

Jenson Button under the lights of Singapore (McLaren)

Do we need another street race?

We already have a few street races on the calendar, such as Monaco, Singapore, Australia and in 2013 we’ll see the New Jersey street race added to the calendar.

Some street races can be truly spectacular, such as Singapore and Australia, but others can be a real borefest, Valencia I’m talking to you and glad you’re no longer on the calendar.

The consensus amongst fans seems to be that some street circuits can be a real procession as there’s less opportunity for overtaking than there is on a proper circuit. So I hope that if we are gifted with another street race, it’s a brilliant one.

Which race could Thailand replace?

Next year the calendar will be at full capacity again with 20 races, which means one race will need to go to make way for Thailand.

There are already concerns about whether the Korean Grand Prix will go ahead or not next year, as ticket sales were so low last year, which in turn means they may struggle to pay hosting fees in the future.

Bernie Ecclestone’s always threatening that he doesn’t need one track or another, most often the Australian Grand Prix, so will we see the Australian Grand Prix getting the axe? What do you think, do we need another night time street race?

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