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GP Week : Issue 40
Stand by your man(agement) BERNIE Ecclestone is standing by his decision to move the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix to 17:00 local time in 2009, despite the race running to just over half distance, as seasonal rainstorms and low light curtailed what had been, up until that point, a thrilling race. GPWeek caught up with Ecclestone as the podium trophies were being handed out. He seemed surprised that the weather had arrived when it had: “It’s the first time it’s been like this for quite a few weeks,”he said, despite the rain hitting Sepang regularly for the days of the Grand Prix at mid to late afternoon. When asked if the Malaysian Grand Prix would hold onto its 17:00 start, he confirmed that he had no current plans to change the timetable. “I’m sure we will [continue to start the race at 17:00]. It’s going to serve the purpose we wanted it for, [which is to be appealing for] worldwide television.” “If I could have done something about it I would have done it actually,”he laughed, before quipping, “that’s showbusiness.” “I think it’s terrific,”he continued mischievously. “We should do it every race, shouldn’t we really? Make it a one hour race …” GPWeek asked Ecclestone, in light of the giving of half points for the curtailed race, how such a scenario would affect his medals suggestion for deciding the world championship: “You’d get half a gold! They’d cut the medal in half. Cut all the medals in half. We’d economise in general.” But in spite of a growing feeling within the paddock that the late race start had been a mistake, Ecclestone stuck to his guns and insisted that he had seen no downside to the events of Sunday afternoon. “[It was] very nice, different eh? People like things that are different otherwise it’s the same old thing all the time.”