Singapore Preview: Q and A with Martin Whitmarsh

Martin WhitmarshFrom sleeping patterns to tinted visors, McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh reveals all on the intricacies of the Singapore challenge.

What will be the key logistical challenge faced at the Singapore Grand Prix?
Inevitably, ensuring all the team personnel have the opportunity to get enough sleep will be the main challenge over the course of the weekend. For example, the mechanics won t be going to bed until 4 – 5am, because we finish running late in the evening and there is a programme of work to complete prior to the next day.

There is a clear plan, because we know the timings of the sessions and how much work needs to take place after each of the sessions. The reality is, it will be hard work for the mechanics, engineers, support crew, marketing operation and we will take measures to support this, but I don t believe it will have a massive impact on the cars and the drivers, with the programme for Lewis and Heikki being very carefully planned and monitored.”

Is the team planning to take additional lighting?
Ordinarily, the garage is lit for work at night anyway so that won t be a new phenomenon. There will be some functional lighting on the pitwall which we don t currently have, that will be the only addition. In the car the cockpit display is illuminated so that won t be a problem, and there is an assumption that there will be sufficient ambient luminosity that you can see knobs and buttons in a way you ordinarily could.

We are going with a variety of visors with high-contrast, different colourations, as with artificial light you will not have natural shadow and depth perception can be reduced. However, we are expecting the quality of light is so good that we wouldn t have to do anything, the purpose of floodlighting is to be operating as though it was daylight.”

Are there any other impacts the timing will have on the race?
There is the potential for the temperature to drop, but I suspect it will still be warmer at 21:00 in Singapore than during Friday practice at Monza! We expect the ambient will be around 30 degrees centigrade, the track temperature will cool down for the evening but will still be close to 40 degrees centigrade, unless there is rain.

If it rains, there is the unknown of whether there will be a problem with glare or the sparkle of light from droplets of rain that is greater than you would ordinarily get. To manage this potential, we are using coatings for the visors that won t allow droplets to collect.

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