Formula 1 officials are planning to move the start time of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to a later 5pm slot - which means the season could now finish with a twilight race.
The inaugural event at the Yas Marina Circuit is currently scheduled to begin at 3pm, but there has been speculation for weeks that the event may be shifted back to take place at a better time for the European television audience.
A document sent from Formula One Management to television producers at the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday has now pointed to a 5pm start time for the Abu Dhabi race -- which means it will start at twilight and end under darkness. The 5pm starts will be 1pm GMT. The schedule document states that both qualifying and the race at Abu Dhabi will start at 5pm.
Although the Saturday practice time has been slotted in to run from 2pm, the times for Friday practice remain provisional and have not yet been approved. They are currently scheduled to start at 1pm and 5pm. An Abu Dhabi spokesperson denied on Friday, however, that the start time had been changed to 5pm. She said: "The race time in Abu Dhabi is as per schedule at 3pm."
Sunset on the November 1 race date takes place at 5.43pm - meaning if the 5pm start goes ahead then there will be a transition between dusk and darkness over the course of the race.
The Abu Dhabi circuit has been built with the capability of being lit at night, and the track's CEO Richard Cregan revealed earlier this week that a night race was a possibility in the future.
When asked by the official Formula 1 website if the timing of the event mattered, Cregan said: "I don't think so. I think what's most important is that we give everybody a great experience, and on Sunday night they'll go home and want to come back to the next event at Yas Marina - and definitely the next Grand Prix.
"Whether a day race or a night race, the most important thing is to create that atmosphere. I think there is something special about racing Formula 1 cars at night time. If in the future we can maximise that, and do something that has never been done before, then I think it would just add to the buzz of the whole weekend."