Safety factored in lighting F1 track

BRIGHT IDEA: Singapore's race track needed 1,500 asymmetric lights. With this solution, there is less glare, making the circuit safer for racers.


    Sep 20, 2013

    Safety factored in lighting F1 track

    The lights lining the Formula One night-race track for the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix since 2008 aren't ordinary ones.

    Also, illuminating the 5km track isn't the only consideration that the people from Philips, who designed the lights, had to bear in mind.

    Ahead of this weekend's race, My Paper yesterday spoke to Mr Rogier van der Heide, 43, vice-president and chief design officer of Philips Lighting, and Ms Mieke de Schepper, 37, general manager of Philips Lighting Singapore, on lighting the race.


    How many lights have been mounted onto the F1 race track?

    Ms de Schepper: About 1,500 light projectors. It's been the same solution for the last five years now.

    Mr van der Heide: (The average lifespan of these metal halide lights is) over 10,000 hours, probably 12,000 hours.


    How much stronger are the lights used on the F1 track compared with regular lights in a Housing Board flat?

     Mr van der Heide: A standard lamp in a home is 60 watts and a standard asymmetric metal halide floodlight (for the track) is 2,000 watts.


    What were the considerations for lighting the F1 night-race track?

    Mr van der Heide: To light an F1 race properly, you need four times the illumination needed on a football pitch.

    For Singapore's race track, we needed 1,500 asymmetric lights, special optics that shine straight down on one side, and diagonally on the other. That's great, because you wouldn't need light bulbs on both sides of the track.

    Ms de Schepper: With this solution, there is less glare. In bad weather conditions with rain, glare is extremely dangerous for the drivers, who are racing at high speeds, and safety in a city circuit like Singapore's may be compromised. Safety is the most important concern.

    So, these lights were designed specifically for Singapore and her environment.

    They are also very good for high-definition television cameras and recording because they are of the right light quality.


    What has been your most fulfilling project in your 20 years of experience in the industry?

    Mr van der Heide: I'm very inclined to say that my latest project, Hue, was the most fulfilling, because we enabled people to do something new with lights.

    Hue enables you to create a light atmosphere, as you want it, from your smartphone. It features a smart system that includes the lamp and a device called the "bridge" that connects the lamp to your smartphone. Its light bulbs have an average lifespan of 15,000 hours, 15 times that of regular bulbs. Hue will be launched in Singapore by the end of the year.