Sunset no problem for Baku race – organisers

2016 European Grand Prix

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The organisers of Azerbaijan’s first Formula One race say the race will start early enough for the race to take place during daylight hours.

The inaugural race at the Baku City Circuit will begin at 6pm local time. The race organisers say sunset is due at 9:14pm and “the three-hour window between the start of the race and sunset will allow F1 drivers enough time to race through the streets of Baku during daylight”.

The FIA’s investigation into Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix recommended that “a regulation or guideline be established such that the start time of an event shall not be less than four hours before either sunset or dusk“. This led to alterations to the start times of some races last year.

The timing of next year’s race in Baku has also been influenced by a desire to avoid a clash with the Le Mans 24 Hours, which finishes one hour before the European Grand Prix is scheduled to begin.

The organisers are making 28,000 tickets available for the race and say 65% of those sold so far have been to racegoers from outside Azerbaijan, chiefly in the UK, Russia and Finland. The F1 race will be supported by two rounds of the GP2 series.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Sunset no problem for Baku race – organisers”

  1. So just after a year after Bianchi’s accident, the subsequent recommendations are being trampled over already.

    A brand new circuit, narrow track, inexperienced marshals and Maldonado still racing = recipe for safety car or race being stopped and the light fading during the race. Very poor decision.

    1. Modern circuits with aircraft landing zones for runoff areas are absolutely boring and unatractive, not to mention that far more dangerous in wet weather conditions where traction is none existing when off the track. If they would reintroduce sand, then fine, otherwise we need narrower tracks to atleast have a possibility of a driver being punished for making a mistake and making a contact with the walls. And about safety in general: Driver salaries vary from 500k to 35millions per year (mostly, except for those that need to pay to drive) so they should embrace the risk of getting hurt or even die in a crash. Normal people risk their lives for an average 1000 euros per month in developed countries, not to mention those in 3rd world where payment is far less. Decades ago drivers drove mostly because of their passion, not for money. If u cant handle the heat, dont stand near the fire.

      1. @proteus, having hard standing at the sides of the track also make it considerably safer, easier and therefore quicker for marshals to move a car that has stopped at the side of the track.

        When we talk about track safety, why is it that so many fans have such a narrow focus solely on the safety of the drivers? Should volunteer marshals just “embrace the risk of getting hurt or even die”, even though they are not receiving any sort of payment that would be commensurate to the risks they are taking? Those same safety measures benefit the marshals as well, but it seems that few care less for their welfare.

        1. U can protect marshals with installing reinforced booths for them to wait in when they are not needed instead of tents (or even nothing) which they get now. I focused in track design which botheres me with all this tarmac laying everywhere making allready plain and quite boring racing even more dull. I really miss the times when it still meant something. For me F1 started dying in 2002 and finaly died in 2005. From then to now it is on life support and it looks we will soon unplug the cables…

      2. As Anon mentions, lets not ignore the risks involved to the other people that are not drivers @proteus. I think that especially in a city enviroment having a new track its better to be safe than sorry. What if a car crashed in an area where they hit a marshall post and launch into the hundreds of people watching track side?

  2. It’s obviously not a problem unless the race is delayed. Unfortunately a track like this is one with a high risk of red flags for the race and support series.

  3. Just when you think the people running F1 can’t possibly come up with dumber…….

    This is blind stupidity on an epic level.

  4. How much of Bianchi’s fatality was down to light conditions, and how much to having a crane trackside where a car had just aquaplaned off?

    The cockpit yellow-flag indicators will be in fact more visible in twilight, after all.

    1. I hope Baku will have more cranes in the style of the overhead ones like in Monaco.
      I never want to see another JCB with cast-iron bits at driver head height on the track unless there is a full course yellow or red flag.

      1. Agreed. Every time I see a JCB near a racing track I’m still a bit haunted by Jules accident.

  5. Todt has become a big disappointment,he has failed to do his job properly since 2014.
    Is Todt the same man to lead Ferrari to dominate F1 for such a long time?

    1. Is Todt the same man to lead Ferrari to dominate F1 for such a long time?

      Given the real brains behind that phenomenal run of success were Brawn, Schumacher, and Byrne, I’d say no ;)

    2. Most of the time it’s easy to forget Todt is running the show. You only hear from him very occasionally, usually to talk about road safety. Obviously that is one part of his job but what is he doing on the motorsport and sporting side of things?

  6. Jonathan Parkin
    22nd January 2016, 20:48

    Also does anybody remember Canada 2011 with it’s two hour delay because of rain. As a wise person said once. Because it’s happened once doesn’t mean to say that it can’t happen again.

  7. we do not know the risk of SC or red flags until a race has taken place on this track. but there might be a issue with the old T word that came up in USA last year.

  8. I wish there wasn’t a limit on race lengths. Now there’s going to be no goliaths like Canada 2011. It’s a little inconvenient from an organiser’s perspective and more costly but surely F1 has to money to cover it. The epics are what make F1 spectacular

    1. Personally I’m against cancelling a race for that rule. Canada 2011 was so great because of what happened after the 2 hour interruption. Fans who stuck around definitely got their money’s worth. With the current rule in place, we’d never get that.
      It’s not like Canada 2011 is going to happen every race.

    2. Canada 2011 is easily my favourite race ever. Its weird to think that with the time limit the way it is now vettel would have won and Jenson wouldnt have done it. Drive through for speeding under safety car, team mate in wall, spinning Alonso out, breaking front wing… then goes from last to first.

    3. I agree. Watching final laps of the Canadian GP after 11pm my time is a pretty memorable experience. I personally do not cry over red flags, it’s much better than pounding rounds during the SC with the laps and 2h-race-limit ticking down.

  9. This is just ridiculous. The clash with Le Mans, not starting 4 hours before sunset…

  10. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    23rd January 2016, 16:20

    This is what happens when you purposely organise something to clash with Le Mans, F1 is a joke.

    1. ”purposely organise something to clash with Le Mans” – any valid evidence about that? I don’t think so.

      1. You honestly think that they sat in a meeting room and chose the starting time without once mentioning LeMans Schedule? Of course they knew exactly what other motorsporting events were scheduled that weekend, and of course they decided in the end to start the race at a time that clashed.

        If you expect us to believe the quite shocking claim that the organisers (who are not only professionals in motorsports, but passionate fans of motorsports too) were in ignorance of LeMans at the time they decided this, then it is you who has to provide evidence, and in the words of Sagan, Laplace and Hume, that evidence needs to be as extraordinary as your claim.

        1. So, in the absence of evidence either way, crazy conspiracy theories must be true?

  11. I am really frustrated that the starts of the Baku qualifying and race have been scheduled so as to directly clash with the beginning and end of the 24 hours of Le Mans, these are the two parts of Le Mans that I am most interested in seeing but if I watch the F1 live then I have to miss the beginning and end of Le Mans.

    It is completely unnecessary for these two events to occur at the same time. There is no reason why the F1 cannot start at 14:00 or 15:00 local time, making it 11:00 or 12:00 for Central Europe, which is a perfectly suitable time for most people. By putting F1 directly up against Le Mans when they don’t need to is basically F1 robbing Le Mans of TV spectators just to prove a point, namely that F1 is the most watched motorsport, but everybody knows this already so why make an unnecessary clash of events? It makes no sense at all.

  12. This isn’t the first time (and probably won’t be the last time either) that Le Mans 24h and F1 race occur on the same weekend, so it isn’t that big a deal, and the last time this happened was in 2011, so it isn’t an annual thing.

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