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Australian GP set for earlier start in 2011

Australian Grand Prix start time set for another change after FIA light tests show the 2010 race was 'over the limit' and quite simply 'too dark'.
The Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park should start a bit earlier next year, Michael Schumacher has revealed.

Following the second round on the F1 2010 schedule drivers again complained about fading light - like they had done in 2009 - and after the FIA took some light tests, it appears the start time will now be altered.

"It was certainly over the limit by the end of the race, it was too dark," Schumacher told ESPN. "I understand that the FIA has measured this and will take action for next year - there seem to be some guidelines now on what light you have to have as a minimum."

Jenson Button, who won the event, concurred that the light was a problem: "One thing that was pretty tricky in this race was the light. I had a clear visor and at the end of the race I was struggling to see on the last few laps," he stated.

"It seemed a lot darker than last year. I suppose it was because there was no sunlight, it was all behind clouds, so that might be something we need to look at a little bit."

Speaking prior to the Australian GP event, Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber both said that there was an issue in 2009 too, when the race started at 4pm [local time] as opposed to 5pm. They also noted that the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association) voiced its anxieties more 12 months ago.

"We raised our concerns last year but apparently nothing has changed. There is very little you can do on the safety side on the track, apart from starting the race an hour earlier which probably won't hurt anyone," Trulli said. "We have given our opinion and that's it. The FIA - or whoever - has decided to keep the twilight race at that time, so we just have to deal with it."

"Jarno has hit it on the head. If you picked the best time to have a high speed sporting motor race event, obviously it's not when the sun is at eye level with us," Webber continued. "Anyway, that's how it is for lots of different commercial reasons."

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has been keen for races like Australia to take place later in recent years so that F1's principal European audience doesn't have to get up in the middle of the night. This is also thought to be one reason he was so keen on Singapore staging a night race.

Renault number one driver Robert Kubica however, has come up with a novel solution: "I say let's do it early in the morning so it's Saturday evening in Europe," he added.

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Invictous - Unregistered

April 06, 2010 11:01 AM

Bernie, listen here you stupid little troll. Leave F1 alone, go to your retirement home, buy yourself a wife and settle down in misery for the rest of your life. :blush:

harry - Unregistered

April 06, 2010 4:44 AM

Australian F1 GP maybe headed to Sydney in the 2014 for a night race, would love to see this happen, this would improve broadcast times around the world. Better for everyone and Im sure Sydney would do a better job than Melbourne (the nanny state) at making drivers and teams feel welcome. Heard in a news report one of the RBR mechanics was injured by security when going for a jog on tuesday morning for not having ID. :-o

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