Melbourne will no longer host the opening round of the formula one season after refusing to run the Australian grand prix at night in future. Instead, Bahrain will kick off the 2008 calendar, with the Albert Park event following it in mid-March, Australian organisers revealed on Monday.

"Bahrain will stage the first race," a spokesman for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation said, confirming that the Melbourne event will however be started later than usual at 3.30pm. The later time is a compromise after AGPC chairman Ron Walker refused to meet Bernie Ecclestone's demand for a race under floodlights to help bolster the early-morning TV audience in Europe.

Walker said of the rejected night race option: "Our investigations have convinced us that as things currently stand, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages." (GMM)