F1 – Sports and illumination
Singapore, 22nd September 2014
I made it back from Delhi just in time for Singapore’s F1 weekend. It remains something special and specifically as lighting designers we can appreciate the only night race being held under artificial lighting. Exactly because it is held at night it has that extra special feeling of being part of something unique. The lights help you focus on the track and the events surrounding the race. I was present at the very first inaugural race in 2008 when many were wondering if the lights would be good and safe enough for the F1 drivers. Today all the F1 drivers laud the Singapore Grand Prix as a unique track and even more, love racing under the lights. Similarly to golfing at night, somehow lighting up the race track or the fairway only, in my opinion helps focus your attention much better. Because of the surrounding night you are not distracted by peripheral activities, with lights illuminating just that part that you need to see for top performance. Lighting levels are very high (around 3000 lux) so more then enough for good visibility and TV recording. For those of you who followed the race on TV you will have seen the great clarity of the images. As an added bonus of the night, it allows to create illuminated feature light that stand out at night, such as the lighting of buildings, bridges, trees and added features such as balloons, cones, flames and even an illuminated Singapore flag.
The event has on-track (the racing) and so called off-track events which are predominantly the concerts. This year the event was graced by acts such as the Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams, Ziggi Marley and Jennifer Lopez; none of them really my cup of tea, but nevertheless enormous crowd pleasers. I was a guest at the Singapore Cricket Club on race day and enjoyed the views with a drink from the roof terrace of turns 10, 11 and 12.
The only thing that remains to be seen is how well the race holds up when it rains with obvious reflections of the lights in water a possible major issue. So far the last seven years the race has been a dry one, though on Saturday night it was a close call…with a major downpour happening just minutes after the end of qualifying. It did not dampen the spirits with everyone soaking wet attending the Robbie Williams concert…no one really cared…
Light Watch 5-159: Some images from both qualifying and race night in Singapore