Time a bigger problem than vision, says FIA official

Drivers happy with track but attempts to keep usual body clocks may not work
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The Independent Online

Trying to stay on European time, in order to remain in peak physical condition, has proved more challenging for drivers in Singapore than performing beneath floodlights.

"One of the key differences drivers talk of is whether to stay on European time or acclimatise to Singapore time," said the FIA's emergency rescue co-ordinator, Dr Gary Hartstein. "But light is the great synchroniser, and unless the drivers trying to stay on Euro time were to lock themselves away in their rooms and avoid daylight, I don't think they're going to be able to succeed. I have some doubt about the utility of that strategy."

Hartstein also doubted that drivers had any problem with the artificial light, thanks to the brilliance of the 1,500 light projectors situated around the circuit. There had been some concern that drivers might find it difficult to pick out braking points when not running in natural sunlight, but Hartstein said: "The way the lights have been done here is so close to daylight that, frankly, there isn't that much difference. They have done such a great job with them here.

"The organisers and circuit designers have engineered shadow in the braking areas to help drivers with their depth of field, but that's pretty much it. To be honest, I think if you let them run under the lights or at noon, there wouldn't be a lot of difference."

Sebastian Vettel, the winner of the Italian Grand Prix, reported no problems. "Some places are darker than others, but it's good fun," he said.

His Toro Rosso team-mate, Sébastien Bourdais, said: "There are no worries about running under the lights, and I even ran with a slightly smoked visor. There are hardly any shadows and you can see really well."