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DATE News (chronologically)
04/04/10
f1
Australia to have earlier start time in 2011?  UPDATE (GMM)  Australian grand prix organizer Ron Walker has slammed reports that drivers successfully pushed for an earlier start-time for next year's Melbourne race.

In the wake of the 5pm race a week ago, with the 'twilight' concept providing a better live TV slot for F1's bulk European audience, some drivers repeated their criticisms that the race ended in dangerously low light.

On Saturday, Michael Schumacher - backed by some of his on-track rivals - revealed that the FIA did lighting tests at Albert Park that should now lead to an earlier race in 2011.

But in response, Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Walker said on Sunday that the whining F1 drivers are "prima donnas".

"It (the 5pm start) is clearly not dangerous," he told the Herald Sun newspaper.

"You can't please these drivers, they are a bunch of lazy people who won't do anything to help the sport, except for two or three.

"A lot of drivers are prima donnas.  They are never happy," added Walker.

Australia's motor racing sanctioning body CAMS insists that the official debrief of the 2010 GP has not yet taken place.

And Walker said he is anticipating the FIA's apparent lighting test findings, because he thinks 5pm is a good start time.

The saga comes at a bad time for the Melbourne event, because the rival New South Wales government is pushing to snatch the Australian GP and host it under floodlights in Sydney.

The Victorian government, on the other hand, has ruled out lighting the Albert Park track, despite strong pressure from F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

04/03/10 (GMM)  An earlier race start time for next year's Australian grand prix is likely, Michael Schumacher has revealed.

After the drivers complained about evening sun in their eyes in 2009, and then the fading conditions at the end of last week's race, Schumacher said the FIA took some light measurements at Albert Park.

"It was certainly over the limit by the end of the race, it was certainly too dark," the seven time world champion said at Sepang on Saturday.

"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," added the German.

Last year's Malaysian grand prix was ended early due to fading light and torrential rain, so the start time for 2010 was brought forward an hour from 5pm to 4pm.

The late start is still a problem, said Renault's Robert Kubica.

"It's risky -- like today if there were big clouds, heavy rain and a lot of spray, it would just be too dark," he said.

With Bernie Ecclestone wanting to avoid live broadcasts to F1's bulk European audience in the dead of the night, Pole Kubica said he thinks a better situation would be for early morning races in the southern hemisphere.

"I say let's do it early in the morning so it's Saturday evening in Europe," he said.

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