Later start times announced for 2018 Formula 1 season

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Formula 1 has published the start times for races, practice sessions and qualifying in the upcoming 2018 F1 season. All 21 races now begin at ten past the hour and the schedule at European races has been pushed back one hour in a bid to attract higher TV audiences.

All races in 2018 will begin ten minutes later, at ten past the hour. Here’s the rationale from Formula 1: “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.”

All sessions during the races on the traditional European calendar (not including Azerbaijan or Russia) will also start one hour later in 2018 to accommodate a wider TV audience. In addition: “Other minor adjustments have been made in order to avoid clashes with other major sports events like the FIFA World Cup, to allow for differing sunset times, and to attract a wider attendance to promoters’ events.”

2018 Formula 1 start times

RaceDatesFP1FP2FP3QualifyingRace StartSunset
Australia Mar 23-2512:00-13:3016:00-17:3014:00-15:0017:00-18:0016:1019:24
BahrainApr 6-814:00-15:3018:00-19:3015:00-16-0018:00-19:0018:1017:57
ChinaApr 13-1510:00-11:3014:00-15:3011:00-12:0014:00-15:0014:1018:22
AzerbaijanApr 27-2913:00-14:3017:00-18:3014:00-15:0017:00-18:0016:1019:33
SpainMay 11-1311:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0015:1021:01
MonacoMay 24-2711:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0015:1021:00
CanadaJun 8-1010:00-11:3014:00-15:3011:00-12:0014:00-15:0014:1020:42
France Jun 22-2412:00-13:3016:00-17:3013:00-14:0016:00-17:0016:1021:22
AustriaJun 29-Jul 111:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0015:1020:57
BritainJul 6-810:00-11:3014:00-15:3011:00-12:0014:00-15:0014:1021:24
GermanyJul 20-2211:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0015:1020:19
HungaryJul 27-2911:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0015:1020:22
BelgiumAug 24-2611:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0015:1020:35
ItalyAug 31-Sep 211:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0015:1019:59
SingaporeSep 14-1616:30-18:0020:30-22:0018:00-19:0021:00-22:0020:1019:03
RussiaSep 28-3011:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0014:1018:04
JapanOct 5-710:00-11:3014:00-15:3012:00-13:0015:00-16:0014:1017:30
USAOct 19-2110:00-11:3014:00-15:3013:00-14:0016:00-17:0013:1018:53
MexicoOct 26-2810:00-11:3014:00-15:3010:00-11:0013:00-14:0013:1018:04
BrazilNov 9-1111:00-12:3015:00-16:3012:00-13:3015:00-16:0015:1019:26
Abu DhabiNov 23-2513:00-14:3017:00-18:3014:00-15:0017:00-18:0017:1017:33
*All start times are local
*Free Practice 1 (FP1) and FP2 take place on Friday (Thursday in Monaco)
*FP3 and Qualifying take place on Saturday
*The race takes places on Sunday

What do you think about these changes? Leave a comment below.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mitchell says:

    Personally I find it annoying as we like watching f1 over or just after lunch, now we have to hang around and the rest of the afternoon is wrecked for going out particularly on sundays. Can’t see how that will drive up numbers, can’t see the 10 mins makes a difference as tv always adequately covers pre-race, tinkering for no real purpose but I suppose they have to justify doing something

  2. Bob Merrison says:

    If they’re trying to increase TV audiences why won’t F1 be on terrestrial TV next year? Could it be because Sky are paying a fortune for exclusive TV rights?

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