In the face of television ratings and Bernie Ecclestone's defiance, the boss of the Sepang circuit insists the Malaysian grand prix needs a new start time for 2010 and beyond.

In the face of television ratings and Bernie Ecclestone's defiance, the boss of the Sepang circuit insists the Malaysian grand prix needs a new start time for 2010 and beyond.

Following Sunday's rain-shortened race amid fading natural light, F1 chief executive Ecclestone insisted the event had still been a good show.

Indeed, the television viewing figures of the European audience, buoyed by the more civilised watching time, seemed to support the 78-year-old's stance.

But Razlan Razali, chief executive of the venue near Kuala Lumpur, insists: "We do not look at just television viewers. What about the thousands who paid money to come to the circuit, some from out of the country?

"Of course, even after Sunday's race, some said it was exciting even if it was only half a race. Maybe it was the case for television viewers, but not for those at the track," he emphasised to the local New Straits Times.

He suggests that organisers will now push for a reversion to a normal afternoon start time, and not embrace a floodlit night race.

"Even holding the race at night, given our weather, it would provide even more difficulties if it rained. Visibility, even under not such heavy rain, would be more severely affected," said Razali.

Negotiations about scheduling for the following season's F1 calendar normally takes place around mid-year.

Razali made clear he blames no-one for the problems with the 2009 Malaysian grand prix.

"I don't think there was any right or wrong with the outcome. The problems were due to the weather and when the race started at 5pm, it left no room for error," he said.

 

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