Organisers of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have announced that the start of the race will be moved forward from 3pm to 5pm local time – creating Formula One’s first ever day-night race.
Earlier today Formula One’s television broadcasters had received notification from Formula One Management (FOM) that the start time for the Grand Prix would be moved forward, in a bid to improve viewing figures in the crucial European market.
However in a statement Abu Dhabi circuit’s CEO, Richard Cregan, confirmed that the decision to start the Grand Prix at a later time would also allow for the event to make history.
“Yas Marina Circuit has been built from the outset to host day and night-time activities.” said Cregan.
“Staging Formula 1’s first ever day/night race offers us the unique opportunity to demonstrate the circuit’s inbuilt flexibility and state-of-the-art facilities. It has always been our intention to showcase to the world this spectacular venue and this decision allows just that opportunity.
“It is the best of both worlds, spectators and television viewers will see the stunning architecture of the world’s newest Formula 1 circuit during the afternoon sunlight and then experience what it is like under floodlights. We hope that everyone will be impressed by what they experience and see.”
To allow for a seamless transition from daylight conditions to darkness, the circuit’s floodlights will be switched on from the start – with sunset expected around 5.43pm local time.
The first race, around the state-of-the-art Yas Marina circuit, is scheduled to conclude the 2009 season on the first of November.