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.