Jenson Button in his Brawn Mercedes was declared winner after just 31 laps as monsoon rain washed out the Malaysian Grand Prix. Gaining only half the normal points as less than the required number of laps had been completed.
The timing of the start of the race was set at 5pm ensuring a convenient start time for the European television audience.
This was at odds with common sense as everyone, including the locals, the race organisers, the fans and the competitors all knew the predictable monsoon rains have a habit of opening the skies and dumping floods of rain in the late afternoon. It is after all equatorial Malaysian monsoon season and despite Malaysia’s Sepang circuit being designed and built with rain in mind it simply cannot cope with the daily monsoon downpours.
The race was later deemed fit to be re-started but required ten minutes warning for the contestants to prepare, but as all formula 1 races must be completed within two hours and there was only ten minutes to go the race was abandoned.
The race results were determined as at the start of the last lap before the red flag. This resulted in confusion including Glock being shunted from 2nd to third and Hamilton being moved from 5th to 7th.
This follows the potentially dangerous late start in Melbourne where the drivers had difficulty seeing while driving straight into the setting sun.
It must surely be time to re-consider start times so as to ensure the safety of the contestants rather than the commercial interests of the european television companies.