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Smoky haze hits Singapore race

2014-09-19 08:21

SINGAPORE NIGHT RACE: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (centre) greets fans ahead of the Singapore GP. Due to the humidity and heat, drivers can lose more than three kilogrammes during 61 laps. Image: AP/ Wong Maye-E

SINGAPORE - A smoky, 'unhealthy' haze has drifted over Singapore, clouding the build-up to the city-state's glamour sporting spectacle - its Formula 1 night race.

Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) said air pollution had reached unhealthy levels after a wind change had brought smoke from forest fires on Indonesia's Sumatra island.

The three-hour Pollution Standards Index rose above 100, the level at which the air is deemed unhealthy, on Thursday (Sept 18) and continued to rise when the next two hourly readings were published.

HAZARDOUS POLLUTION

The NEA advised on their website that "healthy people" should "reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion" when the haze levels reach over 100, which also happened on Monday.

The Williams team said that the heat, humidity and length of the Singapore grand prix made it one of the most arduous on the F1 calendar, with drivers losing over three kilogrammes over the 61 laps.

Rain is forecast over the next four days which should help reduce the pollution levels but race organisers said they would be monitoring the problem.

A Singapore GP spokesperson said: "In the event that the haze caused visibility, public health or operational issues, Singapore GP would work closely with the relevant agencies before making any collective decisions regarding the event."

In 2013, smoke smothered Singapore, with pollution index levels reaching a record 401 in June. A mark over 300 is deemed hazardous.

In August 2014, Singapore's parliament passed a bill proposing fines for companies that cause pollution regardless of whether the companies operate on the island, though it remains to be seen how the law can be enforced.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Singapore GP weekend

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