Formula 1 race start times pushed back for 2018

Another new move for the 2018 season will see Formula One start times being pushed back from their traditional time slots in a bid to enhance the viewing spectacle.

The start time of races will now commence at ten minutes past the hour instead of on the hour in a move from new owners Liberty Media to enhance the experience of television viewers.

European races see the most radical change with their traditional 1pm slot moved back 70 minutes with the exception of the French Grand Prix which will start at 3.10pm to avoid a clash with England’s world cup football match against Panama.

Saturday’s qualifying sessions will also move from their traditional 1pm slot to 2pm whilst Bahrain now becomes a full night race rather than a twilight race as a result of the change.

In a statement released on the official F1 website, Liberty Media explained that the move had been made in the interests of the viewing public to increase their enjoyment of the sport.

“Formula 1, together with the FIA, has revealed the starting times for the 21 Grands Prix of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

“There are two main changes to 2017’s structure. The first is that on Sunday the race will start at ten minutes past the hour. 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.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.