Jenson Button has again expressed his concerns regarding the later start time of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, pointing out that ‘it can be dangerous if you’ve got the sun in your eyes and you can’t see where you’re going’.
The race around Albert Park was moved back last year from a daytime event to one ending as the sun goes down. With a 5pm local start time, this could mean the chequered flag may not appear until as late as 7pm. The aim of the schedule change was to attract a greater share of global television audiences, as the grand prix is now broadcast live at a more sociable hour in Europe, where the sport’s majority fan base lies.
The setting sun, however, already provoked some controversy in 2009 with drivers complaining of a reduction in visibility towards the end of the race – and those fears refuse to go away 12 months on.
“It sounds petty, but it’s not,” Button told Reuters. “It can be dangerous if you’ve got the sun in your eyes and you can’t see where you’re going – but I’d rather be racing in the day, even a twilight race for me, than the night-time. Out in front is probably not such a bad place to be [as the sun sets], so hopefully we can put ourselves in the same place and won’t have to worry.”