- Title: MOTOR RACING-PRIX/HAZE Singapore Grand Prix on alert over haze threat
- Date: 14th September 2015
- Summary: SINGAPORE (SEPTEMBER 14, 2015) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SINGAPORE MARINA BAY SANDS BUILDING AMID HAZE SUN HIDDEN BY CLOUDS AND HAZE
- Embargoed: 29th September 2015 13:00
- Location: Singapore
- Country: Singapore
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVACDU1BIY03R0XDW958BU96MZYP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A vast blanket of haze hung over Singapore on Monday (September 14), raising concerns over the impact it might have on the city's upcoming Grand Prix (GP).
Since the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix in 2008, drivers have been routinely quizzed about how they would cope with a tropical downpour during the only Formula One race held entirely under floodlights.
After seven years of bone dry races, the answer still remains a mystery, but a different hazard could possibly threaten this year's race, scheduled for Sunday (September 20).
A dense cloud of haze has been hanging over the city-state of Singapore for the past week, a result of farmers in neighbouring Sumatra burning forests to clear their land for agriculture.
An annual occurrence, the smog is currently rated under the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) as being in the mid to low range of "unhealthy" air quality, but race organizers are monitoring the situation in case it worsens and affects driver visibility.
Singaporeans in the city-centre and near the F1 race track on Monday voiced their concerns about whether the Grand Prix should be postponed.
"Pretty, pretty dangerous yeah, so I guess should be more precautious about that, like, they should actually postpone it, yeah, that's my opinion," said one resident, Fysal.
"I'm not sure if it will affect drivers' ability or not but in terms of health wise, I'm not sure what else they can do to help people protect them or not but I don't know if the worst case scenario is to cancel the race or not but hopefully, if this weekend is not so bad, then hopefully we can still see the race on but, hopefully it's not going to be as bad as this," added Shawn.
A Singapore GP spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters that the possibility of haze is just one of the many potential issues covered in the overall 2015 Singapore Grand Prix contingency plan.
The spokesperson added that the Singapore GP would work closely with relevant agencies before making any collective decisions regarding the event if the haze caused visibility, public health or operational issues.
A number of local sports events in Singapore were cancelled over the weekend (September 12-13) because of health risks, and the Singapore National Environment Agency told Reuters that the PSI levels were likely to remain in the "unhealthy" range for the next week.
Neither the NEA or race organisers would speculate on whether next Sunday's night race around the Marina Bay street circuit, could be affected if the smog worsened.
The Singapore Grand Prix is the 13th race of the season and defending world champion and last year's winner Lewis Hamilton will be a strong favourite to extend his championship lead, currently 53 points, with an eighth victory of the campaign.
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