Russian Grand Prix bosses want next year’s Formula 1 event to be a night race.
Ahead of its inaugural appearance on the F1 calendar at Sochi this weekend, race promoters have revealed that plans are well advanced for a twilight grand prix in 2015. F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is fully behind the idea and, with track chiefs having already ensured the lighting systems can be ready in time, it is now just waiting for the official green light.
“That kind of thing could happen quite quickly – from next year,” said Richard Cregan a consultant to the race organizers. “The infrastructure is there to supply the power for the lighting system, and that has already been checked. It is only a matter of decisions being made. If you see how quickly the likes of Bahrain implemented the system, it can happen [at Sochi] for next year.”
Cregan, who was drafted in by GP officials to assist in putting on the Russian GP following his success in Abu Dhabi, believes the backdrop of the Olympic park (pictured) makes it a no-brainer to run the race after dark. However, he accepts one of the issues that will need resolving is sorting out the ideal time to run it, because there is a greater period of twilight here than in Abu Dhabi.
“The facilities that surround the track are amazing – they are the most modern systems in terms of lighting,” he said. “When you see it at night time, it is beautiful. But we have to be watching our sunset. It is different to somewhere like Singapore or Abu Dhabi or Bahrain, where you are close to the equator and it is quickly light or dark and twilight is short. So we would want to start in low light conditions and finish completely in the dark.
“But it is definitely is on the cards, and has been discussed quite a bit. I think it is just the matter of the right conversation and it will happen.”
MAY DATE SWITCH CONSIDERED
Although the 2015 Russian GP has been handed an October date, Cregan admitted that he would be open to moving the event to May.
“There has been discussion about having the race in May, because May is a big holiday time here,” he said. “With races being added, we will have to see how the calendar works out and what opportunities present themselves.
“But we have to be realistic – we are a new race and we will fill in whatever slot we are given, basically. Ideal for us here is May, and the ideal for Abu Dhabi is the end of the year.”