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Singapore timetable raises questions for teams.


Although they are used to jetting around world for eight months of the year, the Formula One teams have expressed concern about how to handle the added time difference that will be built in to competing under lights in Singapore.

While the latest addition to the F1 schedule is in roughly the same area of the world as the regular stop-off at Sepang, the fact that its inaugural grand prix will be run at night is causing more personnel problems than technical ones.

"I think, from a technical point of view, there's not a great deal of extra preparation," Renault's Pat Symonds revealed, "All the normal preparation we have to do for a new circuit, which really revolves around trying to understand that circuit, looking at the sensitivities of the various tuneable aspects of the car to that circuit, we've just been through that with Valencia, and we are just going through it again with Singapore.

"I don't think the fact that the racing is later in the evening, in the dark, is going to be a particularly big deal. We sent people out there when they did the lighting tests and it was certainly a lot lighter than it was this morning here at Monza!

"I think that a lot of the burden in this particular case has fallen on our team manager, Steve Nielsen. He's had to look at a lot of different aspects of the logistics and the human performance aspects of things. How do you keep people working through the night? What sort of time zone is their body going to be in? We know what it's like to go to Japan and move eight hours, but this is a different situation again, and it's one where, possibly at the beginning of the week, we've got people working during the day and sleeping at night, and then transitioning to sleeping during the day and working at night. Some of those aspects are really quite tricky, so I think there's a lot more burden on those guys than the technical guys this time."

Williams technical director Sam Michael admitted that the Grove outfit had had similar 'concerns', with the whole F1 timetable - including post-session debriefs - being moved later in the day (or night), while sponsorship engagements take place before the majority of sessions.

"A lot of the team managers have been putting a lot of work into [considering] that," he revealed, "Most of the engineers come in just a day before, so they can deal with just immediately changing their patterns but, if you just offset the meeting schedules and things, it means that we will be finishing at five o'clock in the morning on Saturday and Sunday mornings, so it is quite a big change.

"You could look at it and say 'well, everyone's in Europe normally, so they should be on that time zone', but it's quite difficult to go back to the hotel and sleep during the day, especially when you've got people walking around, tidying it up. So one of the other things they've done is to make sure that they can have one floor in the hotel that's only got team members on it and not have people knocking on your door at nine o'clock in the morning saying 'shall I come and clean the room up?'.

"I think, from the technical side, there's not much [difference], to be honest. There are a few little things like the brightness of the display on the steering wheel and things like that, but they are quite straightforward and easy to sort out. The weather itself… we just got our long range forecast this morning, which is just two weeks in front, and it's predicting 50-60 per cent chance of rain at that time of night. Because it's such a humid environment, I think there's quite a reasonable chance of rain on one of the nights...."

The brightness of the dashboard/steering wheel display was raised on the opening day at Monza, where torrential rain brought heavy clouds and a dramatic loss of light during first practice on Friday. Such were the conditions, that various drivers complained that the display was too bright, as well as complaining about the glare from both the large television screens and photographers' flash bulbs around the circuit, prompting several teams - Toyota and Force India among them - to confirm that they would be investigating ways of dimming the lights for Singapore.


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