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Rosberg hits out at twilight races

TWILIGHT racing is too dangerous and there is a risk that Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix may have to be stopped for safety reasons, Williams driver Nico Rosberg said yesterday.

The first two races of the Formula One season in Australia and Malaysia are starting later than this year - at 1700 local time - to catch a bigger television audience in the European morning hours.

Drivers complained about the light conditions as the sun set in Melbourne last weekend and Malaysia could have the added complication of tropical downpours in the late afternoon.

"If the monsoon comes down, the race is going to have to be stopped because we can't race and drive with that amount of water," the German said.

"I think twilight racing is not the way to go," added Rosberg, who finished second in the first night race in Singapore last year.

"In Melbourne it was obvious that it just increases the danger so much.

"The visibility is so difficult, you can't even see the edges of the track in some corners. I was driving into the sun and that's not what racing is about. So I really hope they reconsider that.

"Even moving it forward by one hour or something will help us massively. It was just the last part of the race that was the really problematic time."

The season-opening race saw a one-two finish by the new Brawn GP team with former Williams driver Jenson Button leading the field from pole to finish ahead of Rubens Barrichello. Rosberg, who topped the timesheets in every practice and set the quickest lap of that race, said Williams could claim to be the best of the rest and saw no reason why Brawn could not go on to take the title.

"Brawn has done a great job and has been massively quick in winter testing and also in Melbourne and I think it will sustain it," said Rosberg, the son of Finland's 1982 world champion Keke.


"It's going to be very difficult for anybody to catch up that advantage. They are seven-tenths down the road more or less per lap.

"We will be doing the best of our capability to catch up but they will be developing also so I think they are going to have a great chance for the championship."

Brawn, Williams and Toyota are using controversial rear diffusers that differ from those of other teams. Race stewards rejected a protest against them in Melbourne but the matter will go to appeal in Paris next month.

Rosberg said the new regulations had clearly altered the pecking order in Formula One, with champion Ferrari failing to score a point in Melbourne while McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton is struggling with a poor-performing car.

"I'm a great fan of the regulations. It gives everyone an even chance and improves the racing and improves the excitement, overtaking is possible. Fantastic," he said.


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