Formula 4 night street race in Chennai | Madras High Court directs government to produce all permissions obtained for its conduct

Justices R. Mahadevan and Mohammed Shaffiq want to know whether sufficient safeguards had been taken to ensure public safety during the racing event scheduled to be held on December 9 and 10

Updated - December 05, 2023 05:05 pm IST

Published - November 29, 2023 12:45 pm IST - CHENNAI

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to produce by Thursday the permission granted by various authorities, including the police, for the conduct of Formula 4 night street race on a 3.7 km circuit being created around Island Grounds in Chennai.

Justices R. Mahadevan and Mohammed Shaffiq told Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram they were concerned only about public safety and therefore want to peruse official orders granting permission for the night race to be held in the city on December 9 and 10.

The direction was issued on a public interest litigation petition filed by a 25-year-old doctor K. Shri Harish of Tondiarpet. He had objected to the conduct of the race on public roads that house the Army and Navy establishments in the heart of Chennai city.

His counsel Narmadha Sampath said, the circuit was also close to the Government Multi Super Speciality Hospital at Omandurar Estate and hence there was every chance of the noise generated by the powerful engines of the racing cars disturbing the patients.

She said, the petitioner had no objection to the conduct of Round 4 of Formula 4 Indian Championship, featuring 12 drivers from various countries, alongside the Indian Racing League in which 24 drivers were to participate at the Madras International Circuit at Irungattukottai between December 1 and 3.

The objection was only with respect to the street race planned on the circuit passing through the Flag Staff Road, Kamarajar Salai, Sivanandam Road and a part of Anna Salai. The petitioner feared the 135-year-old Napier bridge might not be able to withstand the racing cars weighing 535kg each.

Allaying all fears, the A-G told the court that Racing Promotions Private Limited was investing ₹200 crore and the State government had decided to spend ₹42 crore this year, and ₹15 crore in the next two years, for creating world class facilities required to popularise the sport among youngsters.

He said, all safety precautions had been taken and necessary permissions obtained from the authorities concerned. The Army and Navy officials were kept in the loop and they had been attending the meetings in connection with the preparations.

Such street race is common in Singapore and Hyderabad too had been conducting it for past two years. He also stated that the Government Multi Super Speciality Hospital was 300 metres away from the circuit and noise breakers would be installed to prevent disturbance.

The A-G also denied the petitioner’s claim that the racing cars would create 128dB of noise and said, it would be only in the range of 98dB. He added that Formula 4 was the lowest level of racing with Formula 1, 2 and 3 being the higher level races which involve faster cars with bigger engines.

Further, pointing out the race would take place only between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the A-G said, a permanent infrastructure was being created for making it an annual event and all safety precautions had been taken for the spectators too.

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