Thursday, June 18, 2009

Malaysian chiefs want rethink on start time

Wednesday 17th June 2009

Organisers of the Malaysian Grand Prix have insisted the start time of next year's race should be brought back to 3pm to avoid the chaos that resulted in the shortening of the 2009 event.

At the insistence of Formula One supreme Bernie Ecclestone, this year's race began at 5pm (9am GMT), a time better suited for the European television audience.

But monsoon conditions at the Sepang circuit an hour into the race resulted in it being red-flagged just past half-distance.

With little daylight time remaining when the thunderstorm eventually receded, the race was not re-started and half-points were awarded to the top eight finishers.

Sepang International Circuit CEO Razlan Razali believes the situation could have been avoided if the start time had not been altered.

"For many years, it rained after the end of the 3pm race and it's likely to happen again and again," said Razlan to Singapore's Today newspaper.

"So, we need to rethink how we can make it agreeable to everyone involved."

Despite earlier suggestions by Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak that they might follow Singapore's lead and hold the race at night under floodlit conditions, Razlan said no such plan is in the works for 2010.

"We will definitely not have a night race, but we are still talking to Bernie to stage a race between 3pm and 5pm," he added.

Source : Planet F1

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