F1

F1 figures call for Melbourne night race

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Locally controversial Australian GP could move to a night race for better viewership in Europe.

Mar.6 (GMM) Leading Formula 1 figures have called on organisers of the Australian Grand Prix to consider switching to a Singapore-style night race format.

Keen to install a better television time for the bulk European audience, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has been pushing the idea for years, but the state government has always ruled it out.

In fact, the Albert Park event is already highly controversial within Victoria, with opponents baulking at the cost to taxpayers and even the government refusing to commit to a new contract beyond the existing 2015 deal.

Ecclestone said recently: "We hope we're going to be in Melbourne forever, although we do get a bit of criticism and I don't know why."

Suddenly, a trio of what the local Herald Sun newspaper described as F1 'heavyweights' are proposing a flootlit night-race format for the Grand Prix.

2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton said he backs the idea to see Melbourne alternate normal daylight races with a floodlit race once every three years.

"I'd like to see things vary because every year is the same," he said.

Agreed Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo: "It sounds like a good compromise."

And Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was also quoted as saying: "A night race in Melbourne, when you consider where the viewing figures are, could be interesting."

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