November 18, 2018, 19:18

F1 in 2018: Race start times pushed back for new Formula 1 season

F1 in 2018: Race start times pushed back for new Formula 1 season

F1 races in 2018 will start at 10 minutes past the hour with the Bahrain GP becoming a full night race and the French GP scheduled for a late-afternoon start that avoids a clash with England v Panama in football’s World Cup.

In a radical rewriting of the schedule, this season’s races will start at 10 minutes past the hour with all of the European races moved back at least 70 minutes from their traditional 1pm UK time slot.

The French Grand Prix, returning to the F1 calendar after a decade-long absence and which will be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, will start at 3.10pm UK time on June 24, thereby avoiding a clash with England’s second World Cup game which kicks off at 1pm.

Moving to a new slot, the Spanish, Monaco, Austrian, British, German, Hungarian, Belgian and Italian GPs between May and September will all begin at 2.10pm time.

The qualifying sessions for all of those races will also move from their traditional 1pm slot to 2pm.

The Bahrain GP, usually a ‘twilight’ race, on April 8 will start at a local time of 6.10pm, approximately 15 minutes after sunset, while the Brazilian GP has also been moved back an hour.

March 25’s season-opening Australian GP will commence at 6.10am UK time with the year’s first qualifying session held from 6am UK time the day before.

All 21 races, as well as every practice and qualifying session, are live on Sky Sports F1.

Why have the start times changed?
F1’s new owners, Liberty Media, believe moving the start-time of races to 10 minutes past the hour will improve experience of TV viewers.

According to the Formula 1 authorities: ‘Some broadcasters usually go on air precisely on the hour, hence missing the tension and emotion that characterize the minutes before the start of each Grand Prix. Thanks to this change, television viewers will be brought closer to the teams and the drivers and fully enjoy the spectacle offered just before the red lights go out.’

Additionally, the hope is that the later starts in Europe and Brazil will increase TV audiences by making the sport more accommodating.

‘Research has indicated that a wider TV audience is reachable later in the afternoons, especially in the summer months,’ Liberty stated. ‘Consequently, it has been decided to move the schedule of every session back by one hour across the whole weekend for each of the above-mentioned Grands Prix.’

F1’s 2018 race start times – UK time

Race Date Start time in UK
Australian GP March 25 6.10am
Bahrain GP April 8 4.10pm
Chinese GP April 15 7.10am
Azerbaijan GP April 29 1.10pm
Spanish GP May 13 2.10pm
Monaco GP May 27 2.10pm
Canadian GP June 10 7.10pm
French GP June 24 3.10pm
Austrian GP July 1 2.10pm
British GP July 8 2.10pm
German GP July 22 2.10pm
Hungarian GP July 29 2.10pm
Belgian GP August 26 2.10pm
Italian GP September 2 2.10pm
Singapore GP September 16 1.10pm
Russian GP September 30 12.10pm
Japanese GP October 7 6.10am
United States GP October 21 7.10pm
Mexican GP October 28 7.10pm
Brazilian GP November 11 5.10pm
Abu Dhabi GP November 25 1.10pm

Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.


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