In a bid to try and avoid a repeat of the shortened 2009 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, whilst taking into account European TV audiences, a compromise has been reached whereby the 2010 event will start one hour earlier.

The 2009 race began at 5pm to help maximize the number of live viewers in Europe, but a tropical storm brought the race to a halt - and fading light then ruled out a restart.

Whilst a repeat of the tropical storm cannot be prevented, the organisers will at least have one more hour of daylight with which to try and fit in the full race distance.

Sepang officials believe as many as 100,000 fans could watch the 2010 race, a 40,000 increase over 2009 figures, fuelled by the return of F1 legend Michael Schumacher and local support for the new Lotus team.

"I expect a turnout of nearly 100,000 on the last day on Sunday. In the last edition, nearly 60,000 spectators turned up on the last day," Reuters reports race organiser Mokhzani Mahathir as having told the Bernama news agency.

The Sepang circuit is currently undergoing repair and upgrade work in preparation for the new season, including work to the pits area, roof structure and spectator facilities.


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