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Walker labels drivers 'prima donnas'

NEWS STORY
05/04/2010

Mat Coch writes:

Australian GP boss, Ron Walker, has hit out at claims the late start time for the event is dangerous, labelling the drivers as 'lazy', according to the Herald Sun newspaper.

Over the GP weekend in Melbourne the light was a constant cause for concern for the drivers, most voicing their fears as darkness shrouded both the end of qualifying and the race.

At the time, three-time world champion Jackie Stewart told Pitpass that while a later race time had merit, the light conditions did need to be taken into consideration. Stewart admitted that, while he didn't believe visibility to be an immediate problem, it was something that should be looked at retrospectively. "This will give us a good idea if the light is an issue then we have to address it," he said. "Unfortunately sometimes these things have to happen before any changes are made."

Measurements taken during last weekends Australian Grand Prix by the FIA are believed to have revealed light conditions fell below the minimum requirement, even for night racing conditions, though the official results have not yet been released.

Walker however has struck back. "It's clearly not dangerous," he told the Herald Sun. "You can't please these drivers, they are a bunch of lazy people who won't do anything to help the sport, except two or three. A lot are prima donnas. They are never happy."

Traditionally scheduled for a 14:00 local start time, the race was moved to a 17:00 time slot in 2009 to be more accessible for European television audiences. While last year's event was held in bright sunny conditions, last weekend heavy cloud saw the light deteriorate significantly by race end.

The Victorian State Government has ruled out installing lights around the Albert Park circuit, despite pressure from Bernie Ecclestone. Although a contract exists for a twilight race for another three years the start time could be revised to 15:00 local time if light conditions are deemed to be unsafe when the FIA and Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) debrief on the event - however those discussions are still weeks away.

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