The start times of five Grands Prix have been brought forward by one hour for the 2015 Formula 1 season.
The Australian, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian Grands Prix will all have earlier start times, according to confirmation issued by Formula One Management.
The changes come in the wake of recommendations by the FIA-appointed accident panel which investigated the circumstances surrounding Jules Bianchi’s crash at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, which occurred in heavy rain and fading light.
The panel recommended that the start time of a number of races be brought forward to ensure that they would not risk finishing in poor light conditions. The recommendation did not apply to night-time races, such as the Bahrain, Singapore or Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.
Despite initial denials to the contrary, the Australian Grand Prix organisers have announced that the season opener’s late afternoon start time of 17:00 local time will not be brought forward by one hour.
The season’s second round at Malaysia will also start one hour earlier at 15:00 local time, officials from the Sepang circuit have confirmed, with their decision made to reduce the risk of the race being impacted by the region’s traditional late afternoon thunderstorms.
The third flyaway round of the championship in China will see its start time brought forward to 14:00 local time, a timing mirrored for the Japanese and Russian rounds later in the season. Russian Grand Prix organisers had planned to petition for a night race in its second running, but have since abandoned the proposal.
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