Ecclestone wants Melbourne night race

Oct.24 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is once again applying pressure on organisers of the Australian grand prix.

The F1 chief executive, after pushing for a night race but instead succeeding in debuting the ‘twilight’ concept for this year’s Melbourne (above) event, wants an even later start time for the 2010 edition.

A new contract was signed prior to this March’s running of the race at Albert Park, and it is believed the 5pm start time is expressly mentioned in the document, while the necessity for artificial lighting is not.

Drivers this year complained about long shadows and sun glare as evening fell towards the end of the race, but Ecclestone hailed the concept as much better for F1’s bulk European television audience.

But he told Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun that he is now in talks with organiser Ron Walker about an even later race start.

“When you say last year was twilight, I don’t know how twilight it was,” said the 78-year-old.

“The later we can get that race, the better it is for us. Ron and I are talking about all these things,” Ecclestone added.

A spokesman for the Victorian government said the rejection of the night race concept is “not negotiable”.

“We have a firm position on when the race should be held,” he said.

“Bernie Ecclestone is well aware of that position and the time of the race will not be moved.”