F1 revises race and session start times for 2018

2018 F1 season

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Formula One Management has revised the start times of all races and some other sessions for the 2018 F1 season.

The most striking change will see all races start at 10 minutes past the hour. FOM said in a statement this is in order to give broadcasters the opportunity to begin broadcasts on the hour and show some build-up before the start.

The start times for sessions at European rounds of the world championship plus the Brazilian Grand Prix have been moved back by one hour. F1 says this is because “research has indicated that a wider TV audience is reachable later in the afternoons, especially in the summer months.”

The French Grand Prix, which has returned to the championship for the first time in 10 years, will have later start times for all its sessions than other European rounds.

2018 race start times

Race Date Start time (local) Start time (UK)
Australian Grand Prix 25/03/2018 16:10 06:10
Bahrain Grand Prix 08/04/2018 18:10 16:10
Chinese Grand Prix 15/04/2018 14:10 07:10
Azerbaijan Grand Prix 29/04/2018 16:10 13:10
Spanish Grand Prix 13/05/2018 15:10 14:10
Monaco Grand Prix 27/05/2018 15:10 14:10
Canadian Grand Prix 10/06/2018 14:10 19:10
French Grand Prix 24/06/2018 16:10 15:10
Austrian Grand Prix 01/07/2018 15:10 14:10
British Grand Prix 08/07/2018 14:10 14:10
German Grand Prix 22/07/2018 15:10 14:10
Hungarian Grand Prix 29/07/2018 15:10 14:10
Belgian Grand Prix 26/08/2018 15:10 14:10
Italian Grand Prix 02/09/2018 15:10 14:10
Singapore Grand Prix 16/09/2018 20:10 13:10
Russian Grand Prix 30/09/2018 14:10 12:10
Japanese Grand Prix 07/10/2018 14:10 06:10
United States Grand Prix 21/10/2018 13:10 19:10
Mexican Grand Prix 28/10/2018 13:10 19:10
Brazilian Grand Prix 11/11/2018 15:10 17:10
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 25/11/2018 17:10 13:10

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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89 comments on “F1 revises race and session start times for 2018”

  1. not a fan of this at all,

    means i’m going to miss the end of most qualifying sessions as i have to be at work for 3pm.

    also means i wont be able to see the end of some of the races as i have some other things that i do on some sunday afternoons. as well as having to prepare for cooking sunday dinner.

    and if the broadcasters want time to show some pre race then start there coverage earlier, no need to go to some stupid 10 past the hour start just because some (american) broadcaster can’t be bothered to have a pre race coverage.

    1. …i’m going to miss the end of most qualifying sessions as i have to be at work…

      Technology to the rescue! Why not record it? I seldom see a race or Qualifying actually live, I watch a legal online recording of it. In fact one could argue you’re only seeing the race live while what you’re watching is the race + the few seconds of broadcasting delays, and that if if you pause the race for more than a minute or so to take a break then when you resume watching you’re really seeing a recording. I used to watch the interesting programs on TV, so because I work shifts I bought a digital video recorder, so maybe you could justify the expense of one.
      Where I reside races are for Paywall subscribers only, but fortunately our local provider offers a legal online alternative to their satellite business. So usually I can get home to watch the race without hearing the race results on the car radio, although sometimes I fail. The big drawback is my PayTV company gives me about 24 hours to watch the race on line before it fades into the mists of time.

      1. @drycrust there is that option but i always prefer watching live because i like using live timing and watching the onboard camera feeds and pits channel with the extra team radio. none of those extras are available when not live.

        plus i hate having to try and avoid spoilers.

        1. Yes, I must admit you do loose the benefit of having live timing running when you watch a recording or delayed broadcast, but at least you do get to see the race and all the events in context.

          1. Being in Australia I record 1/3 of races due to time differences and just use the F1 live timing app on my tablet to still get live timing feed. Just make sure to turn on the no spoiler setting so you can get to the live timing screen without knowing the results.

        2. “i always prefer watching live because i like using live timing”

          This is my position too. I hate watching without live timing, the race looses something for me without it.

          I’ve made a couple of suggestions for the app, like synchronisation of the timing with video feed (either manually with a button you hit when the lights go green or automatically based on your phone/tablet listening to the audio from the TV). However, you can download the live timing later and try to sync it yourself. I haven’t tried it myself because I’m always scared I’ll see the result in the app before I get to the timing screen…

    2. not a fan of this at all,

      means i’m going to miss the end of most qualifying sessions as i have to be at work for 3pm.

      hold on – did they not personally consult you on this?

      1. One of the main points of this site is for any of us to be able to give their personal opinions about anything regarding F1. This includes how we may be affected personally by changes to the sport. Being able to vent our frustrations and receive conciliatory feedback from like-minded individuals can often be really helpful.

  2. I am pretty happy about it. The European races have always started at 15:00 in my timezone (Latvia), which is sometimes a bit too early if I want to get something done (do some shopping, go to a swimming pool etc.) in the first half of the day before the race. Also, my inner afternoon nap time is at ~15:00 so sometimes I struggle to stay awake if the race is boring. 16:10 is good news!

    1. I agree that a later start time makes sense to me as well. Instead of having it force you to limit any sunday activity to the morning, having it a bit later means you can actually do something with your day. Although another hour would have been better for me, I get that they have to fit it in for everyone.

      I do feel that it is pretty short time to get everybody used to the times, and the 10 minutes past the hour is bound to make me miss the start – Indy CAr start times are not at the whole hour either and I keep messing up and missing the right moment.

  3. Edsel Ramirez
    1st February 2018, 16:00

    I live in New England, I think this is stupid as well, the start times never bothered at all, I’m always up at 4ish AM anyway. Plus there is DVR services available if I can’t watch them early on.

  4. As someone living in eastern Canada, this brings the start times for the European races to around 9am in morning, so I guess for me and a lot others living on EST it means we’re more likely to watch the race live. (I usually time-shifted or watched recording back later)

    1. Also in Canada, EST zone, I have some flexibility with my work hours (we’re open to the public at 10am seven days/week), so will now be obliged to watch my Bell Canada feed on a computer screen at the office. This sucks. At home I have a 43″ HD screen with good sound (well, as good as today’s engine noise gets) and no recording possibility, here I have a very decent 15″ laptop with “laptop” sound, but it’s just not the same pleasure.

  5. I’m an introverted, antisocial F1 nerd, this has no power over me

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      1st February 2018, 16:17

      Haha +1

      1. Best banner ever

  6. This does make sense in the US. With ESPN taking over the coverage, I doubt there will be a pre-race show anyway. Now the coverage can begin at the top of the hour and nothing will be missed. Also, they can now slip in as many commercials as possible before the race begins.

  7. I’m sure going to love trying to get out of the tracks an hour later, Sure thats going to be great for traffic, Not to mention how not all trains run later on Sunday’s in some country’s.

    And that doesn’t get to how much of a pain it’s going to be for those who flew out to watch a race & are now going to be stuck in airport terminals later into the evening.

    Silly move, don’t like it at all & can see it causing many problems.

  8. #LibertyMediaOut

    1. is trending on twitter.

    2. @Dave-F1 #BringBernieBack

  9. Hypothetically, if you happen to be waiting for the highlights (as might apply to a UK viewer), will they now be later too?

    It strikes me that later will generally be worse. If you were free at the you could watch. If not, timeshift. The reverse doesn’t apply.

  10. Can’t say that i am a fan of this change.

    Bumping everything back an hour is inconvenient for me personally (And means i shall have to miss more races this year) but aside from that I have been to many races over the years & can see the extra hour causing chaos for people trying to leave the track with extra traffic & having to catch later flights & stuff.

    The 10 past the hour thing i couldn’t care about really but the extra hour, Not a fan!

  11. FOM/FIA – fixing what isn’t broken since…


  12. Guybrush Threepwood
    1st February 2018, 16:20

    In Australia this puts many of the races beyond a live-watch time window. Previously you could watch a European race live and be in bed around 11:30pm. Doable with work the next day. Now it will be finishing around 12:45am or later which puts the race and qualy sessions out of a live watch window.

    With streams available the next day, it’s time to cancel the paytv subscription.

    1. Well that is because nobody cares about some actual fans down in ‘straya. Them Americans who couldn’t care less for F1 as long as its not ‘americanized’, that’s what counts. BTW why not more north america races! Lets make F1 great again!

    2. In Australia this puts many of the races beyond a live-watch time window. Previously you could watch a European race live and be in bed around 11:30pm. Doable with work the next day. Now it will be finishing around 12:45am or later which puts the race and qualy sessions out of a live watch window.

      With streams available the next day, it’s time to cancel the paytv subscription.

      As an Australian totally agree with this…has got me seriously thinking about dropping even my paytv dvr and grabbing a stream/recording

    3. Spare a thought for us Kiwis mate. 12am race start is now 2:10am.

      Lucky NZ or Australia don’t have a proud history in the sport or anything…..

    4. Its going to be borderline for sure! Anyway we arnt really thought of down here so it doesn’t surprise me. just means maybe a nap before the race starts

      1. Yep, I was already struggling to watch the races lately but this is the final nail in the coffin as far as my viewership goes. Disappointing but I’ll just watch the WRC and Motogp from now on.

    5. It’s like we’ve returned to the 90s, when Channel 9 delayed the broadcast so they could show a second Sunday night movie.

      It means I’ll probably only watch a handful of races live, the rest I’ll avoid the media for a day and find a download of the race on Monday night.

  13. Thank god, at least some common sense prevailed after all. The start hour of the Bahrain GP will remain the same (the hour of 6 pm or 18:00-18:59), that’s great for a start. Furthermore, a good thing also that they didn’t postpone the starting hours of the NA races. BTW, I didn’t expect the start time of the US GP to be brought forward from the hour of 2 pm to the preceding one (1 pm). The only thing I don’t really understand is the postponement of the Brazilian GP starting hour.

    1. Me too, as usually the weather in Brazil is unpredictable the later during the day (thunderstorms) at the time of the race , we might risk having races ending there sooner due to insufficient daylight.

      1. Doubt it. Sunset isn’t until about 8 PM on daylight saving time that month of the year, and no race can take longer than two hours anymore, can they? I forgot if there is any exception left since they changed it.

        1. 4 hours in total if i recall correctly.
          ie if the race is stopped for an hour.

  14. Meh, Not really a fan of the later start times as it means less time to get other things done over race weekends as well as it meaning i’m now going to miss part of Friday practice.

    Also did they not try a later start time for Melbourne in 2009 only to find the low sun caused visibility problems for drivers which is why they moved it back to 3pm? And staying with Melbourne they have sunset listed as 7:30, Doesn’t leave as much time to get a delayed/stopped qualifying session or race in before they begin to lose light.

    1. @stefmeister In case you hadn’t noticed, the start time (or more precisely the starting hour) of the Australian GP has been 4 pm for quite a while already, so the starting hour of that race remains unchanged from previous seasons. It was 5 pm from 2009 to 2013 IIRC the precise years of that experiment.

      1. @jerejj Thanks for the info, Wasn’t aware of that.

  15. As a UK based fan, 10 minutes extra in bed on a Sunday is more than fine with me!

  16. I can understand it… used to strike me as very odd for coverage in some countries to start at the same time as the race.

    But I’m one of those people who likes times and numbers to be very tidy and precise, and my head believes that significant events should start on the hour or at half past… at a push, :15/:45 is acceptable. Seeing that big line of 10 pasts is making me twitch.

  17. I am happy about the 10 min change. I started watching F1 on Star Sports in India as a casual viewer. That means, I only watched the races and switched on the TV at 1730 hrs local time. The coverage would start directly with a shot of the starting grid and the warm-up lap about to start.
    Now, Steve Slater would have the unenviable task of explaining where the track is, what are the key over-taking points, what is the current drivers and championship standing, who bottled up and who aced qualifying the previous day but who did it only because he had lower fuel or because his second lap didn’t get ruined by rain in an aggregate qualifying calculation (Remember, this was the early 2000s, when F1 changed its qualifying system 8-10 times . Read this for more info: https://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2008/03/29/f1-gets-8th-qualifying-change-since-2003/ :)), who is likely to be on a 1-stopper vs who would be on a 2-stopper and their expected pit stop window, how much slower is the prime tyre, what is the weather status; and Steve would explain all of this in the time it required to do a warm-up lap. Needless to say, he did a horrible job and the casual viewer would just end up confused.

    These 10 mins (if planned well), can be used to have a small qualifying highlights package, and properly explain about the tyres available, expected pit stop window, key drivers to watch out for in each race. It would help in sustaining the interest of the casual viewer and help him/her enjoy the race better.

    1. Star already shows the entire qualifying before the race, so a qualifying highlight is unnecessary. What I’m really looking forward to is Martin’s grid walk!

      1. Not sure you’ll get that as his grid walk usually ends at least 10 mins before the start (literally at the point of the national anthem).

    2. Glad to see here more Indian f1 fans. I am also from India.

  18. There’s going to be so many time clashes with other sports from now on, Football especially as i think many games tend to start around 3pm.

    guess liberty want your whole day to revolve only around f1 as a 2-4pm race doesn’t leave much time to do much before its time to get a sunday dinner ready.

    if the viewing figures come back lower i can see this silly move changing quite quickly.

  19. “research has indicated that a wider TV audience is reachable later in the afternoons, especially in the summer months.”

    F1 is in a competitive environment: people want to watch high quality top tier open wheel motor racing, and one racing series that competes with F1 is Indycar. When I look at the full race video of the last Indycar race of the 2017 season the viewing counter shows 37K viewers. So Indycar got a wider audience of 37K viewings by putting full races online for free. So one question is did Liberty Media’s research indicate an even wider TV audience was reachable if recordings of full race and Qualifying sessions were available for free online, e.g. at Youtube.com? Does changing these times get an additional 37K viewers?

  20. I used to coincide 1pm session start times with having a tasty lunch. Not a fan of this.

  21. Are the European races mostly 13:10 hours UTC? (I really don’t know how to put the DST into that to translate to where I live)

    1. Yes, all but France are 13:10 UTC.

  22. This concession to television broadcasters better have the additional condition that the broadcast MUST include the full podium ceremony and interviews even if the total time exceeds 2 hours.
    Already, when a race is longer than usual for whatever reason, both broadcasters in Canada (TSN in English and RDS in French) cut the broadcast shortly after the checkered flag.

    1. Maybe they’ll shorten the race to fit it into a two hour schedule.

  23. I wish they hadn’t moved Malaysia. With all the monsoons there, a later time just kills the available sunlight to unacceptable levels of risk for the drivers. I’d hate for them to run there so late with the halo blocking their view.

    1. @faulty ICYMI The Malaysian GP isn’t part of the Championship anymore (due to the race organizers’ decision to stop hosting it beyond last season).

      1. I know, it’s a shame they moved it.

        1. They didn’t move it at all all, they removed it.

          1. They did also move it a few years back iirc

  24. I happened to be listening to one of the commentators on the local talkback radio last night, and he said he’d gone off Formula One because of the lack of overtaking, which was primarily because of the aerodynamic effect cars have on those behind. A car should keep their place in a race because they are faster, not because they’re making the cars behind slower. Since Liberty Media are paying attention to what the media want, maybe there’s a place to re-jig the aerodynamic rules so as to reduce the air turbulance behind a car while racing.

  25. They suddenly care about viewer numbers?
    “research has indicated that a wider TV audience is reachable later in the afternoons, especially in the summer months”
    At the same time putting all live races behind a paywall, so very few people can see it live anyway. Genius.

    1. +1

      Doesn’t seem to make a whole load of sense to be fair.

  26. When I watch F1 with my daughter, I want her to aspire to have things that start on the hour…

  27. Hearing that more than 1 european broadcaster is highly unhappy with the moving of races back an hour because that is going to result in F1 clashing with other sporting events that they show more often than it has done previously.

    I have also been told that the meeting that broadcasters held with Liberty recently got quite hostile as many of them were against many of the changes that were proposed not just in terms of the start time change but also with the proposed overall presentation of the TV broadcast.
    It was apparently presented as rather American in style with the discussion been around creating & following a narrative. For example if you look at Indycar in 2005 where they created a narrative around Danica Patrick & then followed that narrative. Or when there is a crash in NASCAR & the narrative of the next race is around the 2 drivers involved with them getting more attention when/if there around each other again.

    A lot of the new people Liberty have brought into FOM are people that Sean Bratches worked with an ESPN & it’s felt that as a result of that it’s going to have a very ESPN feel to the presentation which not everyone see’s as a positive.

    1. @gt-racer Spot on once again as usual.

    2. Spot on.

      I also can’t imagine the broadcasters would be happy with races starting later. In Asia, Australia and NZ it is getting to a time which is very difficult to stay up for (around 11-1am on a Sunday evening). For other European broadcasters it is clashing with other sports, eg, qualifying will overlap with football.

    3. It will certainly be interesting to see how the viewing numbers react to the changes!

  28. There is no Malaysian race this year, perhaps you are thinking of Brazil?

    1. Sorry this was meant as a reply to @faulty

  29. Great, New Zealand finally gets a driver on the grid and now all the races will start at 1am

    1. Blame it on the mustachioed Liberty idiot and his cohorts!

    2. Yeap, that’s me gone haha, 12am was fine but 1am is pushing it

  30. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    1st February 2018, 21:27

    Does anyone know if the practice and qualifying times have been confirmed yet?
    I got the feeling everything was confirmed at once last year but I can’t find the times for these other sessions.

    1. @thegianthogweed Sure they’re all available via this link (under ‘Add all the 2018 F1 race, qualifying and practice times to your calendar’):


      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        1st February 2018, 22:15

        Yea, I must have clearly missed that. But I’ve looked really hard elsewhere and I don’t seem to be able to find them. Great that you have them here. I end up writing my own document with a single page showing all the races, qualifying and practice times and I also highlight which are on Channel 4 live.

  31. As an italian, i would like to still have your times for the next season. We are one hour ahead and my sunday it’s almost finished after the end of the races. So be grateful, it could have been worse ahah

  32. Not a fan at all! Here in Australia most European races starts 9:30pm or 9pm on the Sunday night, which is hard enough to get through- push that back an hour & 10min and I don’t think I will see the end of a live race this year!!! Yes you can record them, but very hard to get through a day without hearing a result these days.
    I wasn’t too fussed about the grid girls (but didnt think it needed to be done- the world has gone PC mad!!) but the Halo and now this, Liberty’s stock has taken a huge hit with me!

  33. The ten minute offset is in fact due to the fact that confused drivers will need more time to find their starting spots, now that grid girls are gone…

  34. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    2nd February 2018, 0:53

    Hmmm this could mean a lot of races missed next season for me. I wonder how much the viewership will go down because of this?

  35. Not good for Australian (& NZ) viewers. Fortunately F1 has disappeared from free-to-air broadcast and is entirely behind the paywall so no one will notice.

    I read lots of comment on grid girls being traditional. Well what about the tradition of starting times?

  36. BluePimpernel
    2nd February 2018, 3:10

    I live in New Zealand and usually have to wake up at some pretty ungodly hours to watch most races on the circuit, so this makes little difference… ha ha ha

  37. Starting at 10 past the hour seems a bit daft to me, its not hard for TV Companies to start at xx.45, many shows do ! and I am not sure what the reason is for such a late start with the French GP ? F1 seems to have got a bit squiffy over the break, bring back Bernie !!

  38. I get the feeling these Liberty guys are doing way too much than needed. Or is it because they want to be seen doing something to make the sport better? I don’t know what research they consulted, but the majority of television-viewing fans are not going to be benefited by this change, including me. I’ve never liked Bernie, but in times like this I wish he was still in charge.

    1. ”I’ve never liked Bernie, but in times like this I wish he was still in charge.” – Spot on, LOL.

  39. Not a fan, I’d rather an hour earlier than normal, not later.

  40. It’s going to be interesting to see all the different designs of F1 car head lights.

  41. It’s definitely a move favourable to the US and Canada. Whatever times will be set, some will benefit and some will lose out, 10 minutes offset isn’t making a big difference really.

  42. Jonathan Parkin
    3rd February 2018, 14:59

    I always think the races should all be on at the same time for a few reasons. One everybody knows where they are and two if covers you if you have situations like Belgium 98 or Canada 11. You can get the full race distance in before the sunsets.

    Although can I get pedantic and point out that the on the hour start time is for the formation lap. The start of the race (unless there is a SC start) is usually a few minutes later

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