Aus GP chief says 5pm race ‘not dangerous’

Sun, 4 April 2010, 04:01

Apr.4 (GMM) Australian grand prix organiser 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 whinging 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.

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