F1 reveals revised race start times for 2021 season

Formula 1 has confirmed the shift in race start times for this season, after abandoning grands prix regularly beginning at 3.10pm

F1 reveals revised race start times for 2021 season

One of the first moves made by F1's new owner Liberty Media in 2018 was to shift the series away from a 2pm local time race start in favour of the later slot.

It was felt that shifting races back later than 2pm would be better for boosting American television audiences.

It was also felt that starting the races 10 minutes after the hour would help broadcasters, as they could schedule their pre-race programming to begin on the hour shortly before the action started.

At the time, a statement from F1 said: "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."

With no evidence of a dramatic shift in behaviour of television network audiences, the 3.10pm race start was also not very well liked within F1 circles.

With greater demands for pre-race ceremonies, including the national anthem and the #weraceasone displays, the start being at ten past the hour complicated the timing of pitlane exits being opened and the pre-race ceremonies.

As Autosport reported recently, the matter was discussed with teams and there was support for reverting to the previous start time regime. F1 decided against going all the way back to the original 2pm race start slot, though.

From 2021, the majority of European races will start at 3pm, but not all races will begin then - with Baku getting a 4pm slot.

The season opening Bahrain Grand Prix will have a 6pm start, while the night race start time for Singapore (8pm) and Saudi Arabia (7pm) will be later than normal.

Canada, Japan and America will start at 2pm, with Mexico getting the earliest slot of the year at 1pm.

F1 also confirmed that Friday practice is being cut back to two one-hour sessions.

2021 F1 race start times

28 March - Bahrain GP: 6pm local, 3pm GMT
18 April - Emilia Romagna GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
2 May - TBC
9 May - Spanish GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
23 May - Monaco GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
6 June - Azerbaijan GP: 4pm local, 12pm GMT
13 June - Canadian GP: 2pm local, 6pm GMT
27 June - French GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
4 July - Austrian GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
18 July - British GP: 3pm local, 2pm GMT
1 August - Hungarian GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
29 August - Belgian GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
5 September - Dutch GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
12 September - Italian GP: 3pm local, 1pm GMT
26 September - Russian GP: 3pm local, 12pm GMT
3 October - Singapore GP: 8pm local, 12pm GMT
10 October - Japanese GP: 2pm local, 5am GMT
24 October - United States GP: 2pm local, 7pm GMT
31 October - Mexico City GP: 1pm local, 7pm GMT
7 November - Sao Paulo GP: 2pm local, 5pm GMT
21 November - Australian GP: 5pm local, 6am GMT
5 December - Saudi Arabia GP: 7pm local, 4pm GMT
12 December - Abu Dhabi GP: 5pm local, 1pm GMT

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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