Ecclestone agrees to earlier Malaysian start time

Next year’s Malaysian Grand Prix will start an hour earlier after circuit owners and Bernie Ecclestone reached an agreement.

The move is designed to avoid the lightning storms which prevented this year’s race from being fully completed.

Malaysian promoters had originally requested that the race would be brought forward from its 5pm start time, something which Bernie Ecclestone had been reluctant to do due to television audiences in Europe.

However the Formula 1 Chief Exexutive has now agreed to allow the race to start an hour earlier, at 4pm, to prevent another washout.

“We are going to run an hour earlier,” Ecclestone said in an interview with the Today newspaper in Singapore.

However Ecclestone believes that the move to change start times away from the traditional 2pm slot, has proved a success.

“We started this whole thing, particularly with Singapore, and added an extra race because it was very bad for us for TV in Europe,” said Ecclestone. “So now we are having a look.

“With Australia we had a twilight race, so it was in Malaysia, but maybe we went a little late there and managed to find a good way to catch the rain. But I think in general that is what we will be doing now; it is good for the promoters and the events to have it in the evening rather than during the day.”