F1 rearranges Imola GP timetable to avoid clash with funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Formula 1 will bring forward the start of practice and qualifying sessions for this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to avoid a clash with the funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip on Saturday.

The funeral is due to take place at 3pm British time on Saturday. Qualifying was originally scheduled for 2pm GMT, meaning its conclusion would likely have coincided with the beginning of the funeral. F1 has revised its timetable to reduce the possibility of that occuring.

The race weekend was originally scheduled to begin on Friday with first practice at 11:30am and second practice at 3pm local time in Italy, while on Saturday third practice was down for 12pm. Those times have now come forward, allowing qualifying to move from 3pm local to 2pm, which is 1pm in the UK

All three practice sessions last 60 minutes this year, with the first two having been shortened from 90 minutes. Friday’s schedule is being adjusted because the F1 sporting regulations state third practice must start “no less than 19 hours after the end of P2, [and] will take place the day before the race”.

There will be no change to the start time of Sunday’s race, which will begin at 3pm local time, 2pm in the UK.

RaceFans understands some broadcasters were keen for F1 to move qualifying to ensure it concluded early enough that its coverage of the action at Imola could be wrapped up before the funeral of Britain’s longest-serving royal consort begins.

Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II and a World War II veteran as well as former president-in-chief of the British Racing Drivers’ Club for 42 years, died at the age of 99 last Friday.

The coverage of the prince’s death has become a sensitive topic in Britain. The BBC received a record number of complaints after it dropped its scheduled programming from multiple channels on Friday to run continuous tributes and reactions in the immediate wake of his death.

F1 will also hold a minute of silence before qualifying begins out of respect for the late prince.

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Updated 2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix session times

Friday 16th April 2021

Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Free Practice 1: 11:00-12:00 (UK time: 10:00-11:00)
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Free Practice 2: 14:30-15:30 (UK time: 13:30-14:30)

Saturday 17th April 2021

Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Free Practice 3: 11:00-12:00 (UK time: 10:00-11:00)
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Qualifying: 14:00 (UK time: 13:00)

Note: The deadline for entries for the RaceFans F1 Predictions Championship has also been brought forward by an hour.

Sunday 18th April 2021

Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix: 15:00 (UK time: 14:00)

Image: Garry Knight via Flickr

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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96 comments on “F1 rearranges Imola GP timetable to avoid clash with funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip”

  1. The idea that coverage of the prince’s death has become a sensitive topic is laughable. Maybe on twitter. In the real world nobody cares.

    1. In the real world millions of people care.

      1. @chrisr1718

        Just to clarify, I mean nobody cares that the TV coverage has been substantial.

        There’s been whining on twitter, and a few complaints to OFCOM, but I really can’t see millions of people caring that the terrestrial TV channels cancelled programmes on Friday and Saturday.

        There’s a protocol when a senior Royal dies – it’s been that long since it’s happened people have forgotten what it is. It’s not like Netflix turned off their app!

        1. To be fair, 100,000 complaints to the BBC isn’t a few.

      2. In the real world, not everyone is British (actually, it’s a rather small percentage of people). In the real world, Italy is not in UK. In the real world, many other people (famous or otherwise) die each day. This man meant nothing to 99,99% people in this world, and I say that without any disrespect. F1 wouldn’t have done the same if some public figure in Iceland or Sri Lanka had a funeral. To me UK is as important as those countries, so as its duke.

        1. Technically it affects everyone in the commonwealth (Not that the majority of people care about it) which is actually 2.4 billion people of 7.6 billion world population (about a third of the world population). Also considering the majority of F1’s teams are from Britain its not surprising that events there have more influence (not saying that is correct, but that is probably the reason)

          1. Most commonwealth states are Republics nowadays, they have zero legal links to the UK or the British monarchy.

  2. RaceFans understands some broadcasters were keen for F1 to move qualifying to ensure it concluded early enough that its coverage of the action at Imola could be wrapped up before the funeral of Britain’s longest-serving royal consort begins.

    Yeah, “some” broadcasters. British mafia once again showing they rule the sport.

    1. It is what it is… Sky pay more than any other broadcaster so they have a lot of sway in F1. It sucks and means the UK is excluded from F1’s online services but when they pay the sort of money they are paying, Liberty will bow to any demand they make.

  3. Thank god there’s no F2 / F3 this weekend, or they might have gone and cancelled it!
    So ridiculous. UK TV is closing down for the afternoon and they’re gonna be amazed to see just how low the ratings are!
    If there’s ever a final nail in the coffin of linear TV vs on-demand / streaming, this will be it.

  4. I could understand this if it was British GP but now this is nothing but laughable.

    1. @huhhii Same. Things happening in one country should only affect that country’s event, no other country’s. Imagine if country x’s sessions timings changed because of country y’s independence day or something.
      F1 cares too much about things no one outside a specific country or region cares about, etc., or all sorts of secondary, trivial stuff in general. Laughable indeed.

    2. On one hand I get it, and this type of thing is not new to f1. on the other hand it damages the credibility of the sport.

    3. @huhhii, laughable indeed

  5. For myself, I think flexibility by F1 is good. Clearly Sky was lobbying hard as they are covering both events.
    But I feel for the drivers.
    They will have just had lunch, and with full stomachs they will be sleepy and eager for their normal siesta. Especially the oldies Kimi and Alonso. Qualifying in that state won’t be a cinch.
    And I hear beef ravioli in garlic and tomato is on the menu.

    1. Clearly Sky was lobbying hard as they are covering both events.

      Never watch Sky. Don’t they have different channels (news, sports, etc) to cater for different needs, or the odd chance that two events of interest happen at the same time?

      1. @coldfly They do, but I assume they are worried their ratings will drop if they are broadcasting qualifying at the same time as the funeral.

      2. @Racer and @Coldfly
        As you imply, they will want to maximise the audience for each separate event, and thus the advertising revenue.

        1. advertising revenue from a funeral? I don’t think that is here question but as all British station are going to broadcast it as it should when it leading royality pass away.

          But it’s very strange times in a other country is changing about this event. This means if this happens in the future in a other country the times will be adjusted too. So now i have to check which times are changed as i allready had planned my weekend.

          1. @macleod You’re being naïve if you don’t believe this is purely motivated by money. This way, Sky can maximise ad-revenue for both events. They absolutely will offer funeral ad-slots at increased rates simply because the audience will be larger.

          2. @psynrg, i don’t think they are get any money for that as everyone can see the same on the Other channels (BBC) for free. So expect none on Sky during the funeral.
            England isn’t the VS where they put anything between important events.

  6. The power of UK broadcasters and journalists is once again painfully clear. Apparently F1 does not want to be an International sport.
    The number of British journalists and pundits within F1TV (and the website as well for that matter) is already proof of the complete ignorance of the rest of the world’s fans (except the USA maybe). This decision only serves as further confirmation.

    1. Yes, this is a clear problem. We Race As One and so on and so forth but all the coverage offered by F1’s social media comes from British sources, only British pundits are doing the post-race and post-qualifying interviews etc.
      Something should be done about it. At least bring experts from other countries too or even better bring back local celebrities to do post-race interviews. Those were fun and unique.

      1. Not a problem. They can do what Sky do. Pay for the privilege.

        1. I pay as well for the privilege!
          Nobody asked me.

        2. Sky is not the only one who is paying..

    2. Perhaps the reason that they are so many British journalists in the English speaking sphere of F1 coverage is because of the rich tradition of motor racing in the UK? There is no other English speaking country that has the depth of tradition and history in all forms of motor racing. America will be the closest competitor, perhaps Australia, but it isnt the same as both those countries are quite focused on the local racing series.

      Further to this, we should also note that most of the English speak world (and Commonwealth) relied (and still does) on British broadcasts for various sports. F1, Football, MotoGP, Rugby. It just really depends on how much skin you have in the game. Just look at how cricket has changed in terms of broadcast. Indian media companies own pretty much all the lucrative rights, hence broadcasts are typically anchored by Indian broadcasters and/or former players.

      I used to think like you, its an easy conclusion to come to. Once you look a bit deeper, it will make sense.

  7. It is a kind gesture to a man who was so long associated, indeed president of, the BRDC. Not essential but a one hour shift in time hurts no one and says much about F1 caring about it’s heritage.

    1. Totally agree

    2. Nicely put

    3. Well said.

    4. Yeah, if F1 was the British Open Championship.

    5. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      13th April 2021, 17:13

      Quite right.

  8. At least it won’t clash with the MotoGP qualifying anymore.

  9. Couldn’t they have rearranged the funeral to avoid clashing with F1 qualifying? Compulsory mourning for British serfs, I can understand. But Italian?! The rest of the world?!?
    Seriously, even the British public should have the right to tune out and tune into something else other than imposed reverence of a pseudo-dictatorship.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. This is solely a British thing, so it shouldn’t have any impact on any other country.

      1. @david-br I couldn’t agree more. This is solely a British thing, so it shouldn’t have any impact on any other country.

      2. @jerejj I’ve no issue with respecting the fact a 99-year old man died. I do have an issue with the perpetuation of a toxic institution through imposed quasi-devotion. The UK is little different to North Korea at such moments.

    2. @david-br The Royals and the English government care nought for the people of other countries, as an Australian I can 100% hand on heart say that.

      1. I think the Meghan Markle debacle gives a good insight into how far their ‘global view’ really extends. But entrenched racism aside, it’s the amount of undeclared wealth and secretive undemocratic influence that has really astounded me recently, whether the fact the Queen (and Prince of Wales) pre-vet all British legislation, completely contrary to the idea of merely symbolic ‘Royal assent’ and ‘non-interference,’ or the fact that the Crown (those two again) ‘own’ the UK seabed and earn millions for themselves from auctioning of these ‘underwater plots’ for windfarms. It’s truly absurd. But ‘events’ like a near centenarian dying are exploited to the maximum to lull everyone into ignoring facts and celebrity-worshipping royalty (as seen on Netflix). Obviously, though, a sport that does PR for dictator royals in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere isn’t going to have much issue doing the same for the UK variety.

        1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
          13th April 2021, 17:30

          I’ve always struggled to understand why republicans have such distain for the concept of monarchy when the alternative is to elect a sleazy, narcissistic politician as President. I’d far rather the Windsors than people like the Trump or Clinton families acting as such.

          1. @jackisthestig I think we (the UK) can easily do without either.

          2. Great comment! The Royal Family has it’s issues but do we in the U.K. really want to have to elect another politician or someone else who is selected for the role based on sucking up to the right people?

          3. @phil-f1-21 Err, I’m not sure you’ve noticed the band of pirates currently running our country?!

  10. 1 pm GMT, 2 pm British time, but what’s the point? Possibly the funniest reason for avoiding a direct timing clash or at least weirdest. I can understand adjusting a timetable to avoid certain sports events (Le Mans 24H, World Cup football matches, etc.), but a funeral? No one cares about funerals.
    Why also Friday sessions, even though the funeral takes place on Saturday, not both days?

    1. Tommy Scragend
      13th April 2021, 15:10

      The article clearly states that “the F1 sporting regulations state third practice must start “no less than 19 hours after the end of P2””.

      So to get enough time between FP3 and qualifying, they have to start FP3 earlier. They then need to move Friday earlier in order to get 19 hours between the end of FP2 and the start of FP3.

      1. @Tommy Scragend Not necessarily always the case as sometimes FP2 has started later than QLF.

      2. Ah, thanks for that bit of info Tommy Scragend that change was one I particularly wondered about.

      3. As they already changing the times they could ignore those rules as it’s ‘special’ situation. But good that you said that otherwise i would miss FP2 and that would made me very upset

  11. Over 200 million people worldwide watched Wills and Kate’s wedding in 2011, so I don’t think it will just be the UK broadcasters that will want to avoid a clash with an event of a similar scale, as some other commenters are suggesting. Seems like a fairly common sense decision to me.

    1. Agreed, this will save a lot of people who share their TV with other people a fight over what to watch, so it makes sense to move qualifying. Doesn’t seem like a big thing to me at all.

  12. Suck it up world, rule Britannia.

    1. Or more accurately, rule SkySports.

      1. Sky – a British broadcasting group…

  13. Um yeah I’m sure Prince Philip has many people in England who would like to pay their respects. But outside of England I’m talking about Scotland, Wales, Ireland and a large piece of Northern Ireland as well as the rest of the Commonwealth…not so much.
    I don’t believe he was thought of in the same way as Nelson Mandela.

    1. Ireland is not in the commonwealth

      1. Roe Of course not I apologise.

  14. This is just how they communicate it to the world. In reallity I asked them to do this, because my son has swimming lessons so I couldn’t watch it otherwise ;-)

    1. Well done, dad/son time is very important so good for you @anunaki, it certainly makes me feel a bit better as a reason for having to recheck my weekend schedule than the funeral of a non-monarch royal of a country I am not a citizen of (Though I’d not miss F1 for the former Dutch queen, now princess, Beatrix funeral either I think, I do wonder how that’d be – would Verstappen ask to have a 1 minute silence (and w. about royals from his birth-country of Belgium?; How about Alonso, Sainz and former King of Spain – wasn’t Sainz Sr. a friend there?; and Monaco and Leclerc? How about former US presidents & Haas? Or maybe with Red Bull, the Thai Monarchs?). I have to say I find it a tad odd.

      I suppose one could say that the expectation is that quite a few former colonies, and countries where Elizabeth II is still Monarch, as well as several other countries might want to show it so it is a bit like avoiding other big events, but that doesn’t explain the 1-minute silence, so I wonder at what the requirements are there.

      1. @bosyber A well-put post. Red bull could also care about Austria, even if that country isn’t a Monarch.

  15. Chins up everyone. Its not like the event has been postponed. We should all be grateful that we are getting any races at all again, especially looking at currently happening in Brazil and some of Europe with the virus. I understand the frustration as its an Italian event, but remember most of the teams are British or British based full of British staff, so I personally understand why they have pushed it back an hour. No different to torrential downpours at the start of quali or race. Lets all just be happy that we have the majestic Imola back on the calendar again.

    1. @Gubstar I agree with your main point about getting races in general, but one small thing:
      Brought forward, not pushed back when making something start earlier than planned.

  16. Speaking as a British man myself, I find this absolutely absurd!

  17. So much petty nastiness in many of these comments – you would think that they had banned all racing forever. I know its the internet and people generally come here to complain rather than compliment, but maybe we should just note that the start times have changed and move on. I am British, but not a Royalist by any means (and will not be watching the funeral), but I can appreciate the stated intention behind the change of times – and yes it may seem overkill, but its done.

    Take care and be Kind folks.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      13th April 2021, 15:12

      COTD right here ^

    2. I don’t think it’s nastiness in the main @ahxshades, and the day we stop questioning and just agreeing with everything and saying ‘well it’s done, so be it’ is the day we give up having any sense of critical thought (and I class myself as being a relatively kind person if I may say so myself, perhaps wrongly who really knows).

      The problem is what the decision represents rather than the single decision itself, putting the UK ahead of other nations when F1 is meant to be global. Think about delaying the British GP due to the funeral of the King of Sweden or something like this (i.e. it isn’t going to happen). Anyway, just my two penneth… take care indeed.

      1. @ahxshades As far as I’m concerned, I’m criticizing the institution. Maybe you can explain how you can be ‘nasty’ about an institution. I leave persecuting royals to the royalists. (HRH PP detested the royalist Murdoch press and other UK tabloids. Given their relenetless hounding effectively killed his former daughter-in-law with their ‘unnasty love’ you can see why.)

  18. I’m sure the Queen will be most thrilled that she doesn’t have to miss qualifying to attend a funeral now.

  19. This is ridiculous. Are they going to move the German GP if a Dutch royal passes away? I don’t think so. If this were the British GP it would’ve made sense, but moving qualifying for a GP in Italy makes no sense. British broadcasters can sort themselves out, it’s what the rest of the world does!

    1. I mean, given that the Germans absolutely adore the Dutch Royal Family, this would probably be a very likely scenario.

      1. someone or something
        13th April 2021, 17:10


        the Germans absolutely adore the Dutch Royal Family

        You seriously need to reconsider your news sources, because … what?

    2. @Two Same if the funeral took place on the British GP weekend.

    3. i don’t thin this will be the case as the Dutch royals are ruling only over Denmark

      1. ….. I heard about the Germans liking the Durtch Royal Family but Denmark? Denmark have their own royal family.

        But if a Dutch royal pass away when the Dutch grandprix is being hold I am sure F1 is going to be influnenced. 1 minute silence or movement of times (less likely).

  20. When Kubica was racing back in 2010, on April 10th plane with Polish president and many VIPs crashed, killing everyone on board. State funeral took place the very same weekend as Chinese GP. Was it recognised by F1? No. A minute of silence on the grid, maybe? Of course not. But when some British royal member dies of natural causes at the age of 99, start of qualifying is moved and there’s mandatory minute of silence. It’s sickening how hypocritical F1 is stating they’re running “international” sport. It’s not international, it’s British and British bias is truly repulsive with British narrative used on many occasions to benefit British people. Case in point Mazepin and the utmost effort of British journalists to make him fired and replaced with OUR Callum Illot. Perfidious Albion.

    1. Firing Mazepin is hard as he pays and those who pays decided how thing are running. But i agree with you other segement.

  21. Blimey, all this banging on about privilege, bitterness and chips on shoulders…

    There are many royal families around the world but there’s only one *Royal* family that doesn’t need a country to prefix it and the top man in that family has just died.

    Those in charge of the coffers in F1 know full-well that half the world will be watching that funeral and perhaps it makes sound business sense to work around it rather than fight it for eyeballs. I’m old enough to remember that in 1997 when Diana died, they didn’t even bother broadcasting Monza’s qualifying session because they knew nobody would watch it.

    But no, let’s talk about privilege…

    1. someone or somethin
      13th April 2021, 17:22


      There are many royal families around the world but there’s only one *Royal* family that doesn’t need a country to prefix it and the top man in that family has just died.

      Nope, that’s language bias. It works in English, because there’s more or less just one notable monarchy in the anglosphere. But if you switch to a different language, you need more context to determine which royal family is meant. Or you use the English term, which, again, owes its unambiguity to the history of the British Empire. But that’s much like being French and assuming the French “Révolution” is the only one that ever mattered, because if you write it with a capital R and that funny thingy on top of the e, most every literate person on earth will know which revolution it refers to.
      Comparing one English-speaking country with another one in search of international consensus is a form of echo chamber fallacy.

      1. Well I didn’t intend to mean different languages. That said, a German may well talk about the ‘Königin Silvia’ or whomever but they’ll it’s quite likely they’ll know who ‘The Queen’ is.

        E.g. try going to Baidu and doing an image search for ‘the queen’. Aside from the film, there aren’t any other royal families in their results.

        1. someone or something
          13th April 2021, 18:39

          That’s exactly my point. It only works in English. Searching for “a” queen by using the English term already shapes the outcome. And if you search for “the queen”, you’re basically asking for your confirmation bias to be confirmed biasedly.

          Now try the German term (“Königin”, as you rightly said). In the first 31 results (the results I can see without scrolling), I get:
          – The Royals™ (6), of which:
          – Elizabeth II (3)
          – Elizabeth I
          – Kate whatshertitle
          – Alexandra of Denmark
          – Spain (5)
          – Sweden (5, including one historical queen)
          – Fictional or methaphorical queens (5)
          – Denmark (3)
          – Netherlands (2)
          – Austria-Hungary, Begium, Jordan, Prussia, Thailand (1 mention each)

          I’m not saying the royals aren’t a thing at all outside of the Anglosphere. They are notorious. But not unique.

      2. …and according to apparently 42% of the world watched Diana’s funeral, over 50% of the UK did too.

        Question those stats as much as you like but I think it makes sound business sense to avoid clashing.

        1. someone or something
          13th April 2021, 19:01

          According to what/whom?
          42% sounds like an awful lot. 42% of TV spectators who tuned in on a Saturday morning (at least in Europe), at a time when there’s very little reason to turn on the teevo at all? Still a lot, but could be.

          Also, no disrespect, but Diana and Prince Philip are far from comparable. The former was a worldwide celebrity, whose life was followed by many like a soap opera that was strangely relatable if you looked past all that royal stuff. And then there was her dramatic death, which was an iconic event that symbolised the ugliness of unhinged voyeurism preying on glamour.
          The latter was a very old man, who was essentially famous by proxy (as the husband or father or grandfather of someone famous), and who died peacefully after a life of never breaking out of a mould that no one can remotely relate to.

    2. @joshgeake I remember watching 1997 Italian GP qualifying and it was broadcasted normally here. If people in Britain didn’t care about watching then so be it. Now it should be the same, choose between the royal funeral and F1, don’t force your schedule to the rest of the world.

      1. You’re probably watching some international feed with Brundle etc these days so…tough. I guess you’ll just have to be mildly inconvenienced and show a little respect before watching cars go round in circles.

  22. Need more proof F1 is and will always be a British sport?

    1. What apart from Sky UK having the biggest influence because of the money they put into it, the majority of the teams, industry, personnel and support services being UK based, the majority of the press being UK centric, and successive UK governments willing to invest billions to keep motorsport UK based and centred in and around Motorsport Valley as it has been for the last 50-60 years?
      Surprised there is anybody around who thinks otherwise.

      1. You’re making my point really. Single seater motorsport fundamentally has remained very British centric since the 1960s. There has been very little effort to make it actually international. A mediocre talent from the UK has a better chance at exposure to the F1 ladder than say someone born in Paraguay or South Asia, or heck, even some European countries.

  23. Its amazing what F1 fans Whine about.

  24. I give you two names. Elisabeth II and Pope. World can never forget their past. Britain doesn’t rule the world anymore nor is christianity as powerful as it has been. Still those two are the ones that have the most power (not maybe in the proper sense of the word) but anything that slighty affects them can turn the world around.

    1. @qeki Excellent point. I’m pretty sure the Italian press & viewers (if not the Roman Catholic world) would be incensed if the Pope’s funeral clashed with an F1 session but they didn’t move it!

      1. someone or something
        14th April 2021, 10:04

        Maybe I’m missing something, but as far as I know, the Pope does not have a spouse, and Elisabeth II is alive and more or less well. Apples and oranges.
        Also, Prince Philip was the spouse of the head of state for about 150 million people worldwide. A head of state with an almost exclusively ceremonial role.
        The Pope is the head of an organisation with 1.3 billion members worldwide, an organisation whose member can (theoretically) choose to join or leave it on a whim, and he tells his members what to do and how to think on a more or less daily basis. If you replaced him with a cardboard cutout, people would notice.

        Neither of them are Gandhi or Martin Luther King, but I’m convinced that the Pope and his eventual demise are far more impactful on a global scale than Elisabeth II, much less her spouse.

  25. Lets look at this another way. Quali is one hour closer.

  26. Err, there’s an uncredited photo used at the top of this page?

  27. I am not British and I have absolutely no problem with this. I guess they ran their data and worked out how many eyeballs they would lose if the two events overlapped and this is what they came up with. Makes sense, well done.

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