Ecclestone: twilight races here to stay

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone says the later start times for races in the Far East and Australia have boosted television audiences threefold. Despite widespread criticism from drivers due to fading light levels, Ecclestone says twilight starts in F1 are here to stay.

This year was the first time the Grands Prix in Australia and Malaysia began at 5pm local time, three hours after their usual start time. This was done so the races could be broadcast live in Europe in the early morning, rather than the middle of the night, and it served its purpose. "All our TV up to now has been up 300 per cent," says Ecclestone, adding: "We have been getting more than 50 per cent of the market share."

The later start time was a compromise after the Australian organisers objected to following the example set by Singapore last year and hosting a night race. The sticking point was the cost of floodlighting the circuit and Ecclestone says that although this will cost the Malaysian circuit $16 million (£10.8m), it will be the next night race on F1's calendar.

He dismisses speculation that construction of the Abu Dhabi circuit is not on track for its inaugural race in November. "It will be done on time," says Ecclestone, adding that although F1 is increasingly moving eastwards, he cannot envisage a time without races in Europe since "it is a world championship".

Ecclestone is in negotiations about bringing F1 back to the United States, where it has been absent since 2007, and he reveals "we'd like to do something in New York or California". But if this race is added, then another may have to go. When South Korea joins the calendar next year, there will be 18 Grands Prix and Ecclestone says that in the past the teams "just about lived with 18".

Another dispute between Ecclestone and the teams is over the £20m prize money earned by Honda which left F1 at the end of last year. They are now leading the F1 championship under the Brawn GP name but lost their entitlement to the money after being classed as a new team by F1's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).

The Concorde Agreement, the contract committing the teams to race in F1, says prize money earned by outfits which have left the sport should be split between those remaining in the sport. However, the contract is not in force and although the teams initially agreed to give the money to Brawn, there are now objections to this given Brawn's success. Ecclestone reveals that the money will not be paid to Brawn and he adds it will not be paid out at all if there is not unanimous agreement on who should receive it. "We can keep it," he says.

Despite Brawn's success, Ecclestone says it would have been better for the team to have retained their former name. "I opposed the name Brawn," he says, claiming it is "not a good name, doesn't mean anything to the public, better being Honda than Brawn".

If the Honda prize money goes to Brawn, the teams can make up for it by running under a £40m budget cap next year. Critics have claimed that it will be impossible to police in the notoriously secretive world of F1 but Ecclestone says that this will be quite a straightforward process.

He explains that every three months the teams will have to sign a commitment that they are running under the limit and, as with everything in F1, the punishment they will face if found in breach will be financial: a $100m fine.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution