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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Cautious welcome for night racing
Felipe Massa
Ferrari driver Massa has expressed concerns over safety
Formula One drivers have given cautious support to Bernie Ecclestone's plan to stage Grands Prix at night - but only if their safety can be guaranteed.

The F1 supremo could introduce night races as early as 2008 and sees Asia as the ideal location.

But Williams' Nico Rosberg stressed the need for safety, saying: "It could be great for everyone but it can be dangerous especially if it rains."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa said: "As long as we can see and it is safe, why not?"

His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen echoed his thoughts saying: "For me it is OK as long as there is enough lighting."

It's very hard to believe that they will have strong enough lights to see OK to have a Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso

Ecclestone believes night races could attract increased television audiences, especially if they were shown in Asia where the time difference would suit the European television market.

But double world champion Fernando Alonso has serious doubts about the scheme because of safety fears.

Speaking at the start of the season, the McLaren driver said: "We launched the car in Valencia at night and it was extremely difficult to see the road.

"For me, it's very hard to believe that they will have strong enough lights to see OK to have a Grand Prix."

Formula One legend Jackie Stewart was another to doubt the wisdom of the idea.

"One has got to appreciate the difference between night and day," he said.

"If a bad accident occurs, the complexity of dealing with it in both conditions would be different. You've got to think of the rain. You've got to think of all the ingredients that make for an effective management of an accident at night."

However, Mokhzani Mahathir, chairman of the Sepang circuit which will stage this Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, leant his support to the scheme.

"It makes commercial sense to host a night race," said Mahathir. "It is cooler to race here and we think we can get more people to come and watch at Sepang."

Follow the Malaysian Grand Prix live on BBC Radio Five Live and this website - qualifying starts on Saturday at 0700 BST, with the race on Sunday at 0800 BST.

SEE ALSO
F1 boss wants to hold night race
03 Apr 07 |  Formula One


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