Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Adjustments in Australia - Tweaking the start time of the race to gain more viewers

Published by Christine

News is circulating on the web today that Australia has been kicked out of it's slot as the season opener for 2008. In it's place, the more European time-zone friendly Bahrain is going to be sitting pretty and bringing in the viewers.

This happened last year, when Australia was hosting the 2006 Commonwealth Games when it was supposed to be holding a Grand Prix (isn't it always the way that F1 is bumped for other sports?). The race was pushed behind Bahrain and Malaysia and it made the opening of the 2006 season much more accessible to everyone - not just the die hard race fans who stay awake till the early hours. I want to count myself amongst these people but I have yet to prove myself worthy.

So, for 2008, Bernie has learnt his lesson and Australia will be second on the calendar.

The other piece of news surrounding the track down under is that organisers are pushing the time back by 90 minutes, again in an attempt to make it more Europe-friendly. My first impression when reading this part of the story was "Okay, so it's 4:30 rather than 3am, big deal. It's still too bloody early."

But then I stopped and thought about it and two rather important pieces of information fell out of that short sentence of news. Firstly, and I can't say this for sure, but it may be the only race that starts on the half hour. I have only ever seen races start dead on the o'clock. It almost upsets the perfectionist in me, but if it means more sleep, then I'm all for it.

And what happened to the night races? Remember that oh-so-successful test that the FIA embarked upon about a month ago? They threw some water on the track at Indy, switched on the flood lights and took the safety car round a couple of times. At the time, they said the test was great, everything they expected and wanted to know. That is despite the fact that they couldn't see an inch in front of their own face, let alone a marshal waving a flag at the side of the track.

Perhaps, now, they have realised it wasn't as successful as they let on it might have been. Maybe with the chaos that ensued in Germany this weekend, they figured that if it rained during a night race, actual proper damage could be done. Either way, it looks like night racing is off the agenda, and a quick adjustment to the programme on Australia Race Day is all we can expect.