As this is such a new event and there is so much interest, I thought I would pen an occasional blog over the course of the weekend with extra information and behind the scenes insight.
It’s Thursday night and everyone is still at the track, because it’s lunchtime in Europe and most people in F1 are staying on European time. It’s a bit weird going about your daily business at night, but for anyone who has done Le Mans or journalists who have covered night time football matches, it’s fairly normal. My plan is to get to the track around 3pm local time each day and leave around 2am. The problem then is that your body is telling you that it is dinner time, but your watch is saying ‘go to bed’. Some of our TV crew were in the hotel bar last night at 2am (which is fairly normal) and David Coulthard was apparently there, ordering his dinner, as it was the only place still open! He was trying to stay up until 4am. Apparently it is critical that the drivers eat their meals at the right time so that their energy levels are correct at the times that matter.
I’ve been here since this morning and the whole set up here is fantastic. The people are so enthusiastic and the work they have done is impressive. The people who built the track are the same ones who did Melbourne and they know what they are doing.
As I write, the safety car is doing laps, so the driver can learn the track and also to give the TV cameras a chance to follow him and make an adjustments they might need to positions and so on. It looks great at night on TV, even though to the naked eye the track is not as brightly illuminated as I thought it might be. I had heard it would be three times as bright as a football stadium, but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s bright enough and there are no shadows to speak of. As part of the test they have switched off the lights in one of the fast corners and there is enough ambient light around for the drivers to see where they are going. I’m sure that if we had a total failure of all the generators powering the lights, there would not be an accident. The drivers would be able to slow down without hitting each other or anything else.
I’m very excited about this event. It will move F1 on a great deal. It’s exactly the kind of innovation the sport needs and it brings it into the 21st century. It will make going to places like the Nurburgring seem very dull and old fashioned!