UPDATE: Start to Malaysian GP qualifying delayed due to heavy rain

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The start to qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix has been delayed due to a heavy rain shower that has hit the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday afternoon.

Around 40 minutes before qualifying was scheduled to get underway at 4am ET, heavy rain began to fall at the circuit, and has not since eased. With the race being held in monsoon season, such weather in Malaysia is not uncommon.

In 2009, the race had to be red flagged due to the weather, with a result being declared early and half points being awarded as the drivers were unable to get racing again.

With the rain continuing to fall, more delays could be required to allow the weather to improve so that the drivers can safely get out on track.


0400 – Qualifying is currently scheduled to start at 0415, with the next update coming at 0405.

0405 – Qualifying has been delayed by a further 15 minutes. New scheduled start is 0430 ET. Next update at 0420.

0420 – Another 15 minute delay, meaning that the new start time is 0445 ET. Next update at 0435.

0435 – Another delay, but only 5 minutes this time. Planned start is 0450. The rain has stopped falling.

0445 – FIA confirms that qualifying will begin at 0450 ET.

For all of the details on how to watch qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix LIVE on NBCSN and Live Extra, click here.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”