Australia in is danger of losing its season-opening grand prix unless it moves the Melbourne event to the evening, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone told an Australian newspaper.
Ecclestone told the Sunday Herald Sun he wants the race moved to the evening so it could be broadcast at a better time in the European schedules.
"I would like to make sure we can watch [the race] in Europe and other parts of the world at a respectable time rather than having to get up at three of four in the morning," the Englishman said.
Australia has hosted a round of the championship since 1985, starting with Adelaide before the event was moved to Melbourne 11 years later. Melbourne has since established itself as the opening race of the season but the contract expires in 2010 and several countries are vying for the rights.
Singapore, who have just wrapped-up a five-year deal to host a race as of 2008, is planning the first night grand prix while Malaysia is reportedly also considering moving its grand prix to the evening.
"When the contract comes up, we have to have a look and see exactly what we will be doing with Melbourne," Ecclestone continued.
"Unless they can come up with something satisfactory, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be able to continue there."