Formula 1 chiefs and the FIA have announced new starting times for all 21 Grand Prix in the 2018 season.
As you may have guessed by now, this is yet another move in Liberty Media’s task of revamping the sport. The timetable shake-up will see two primary changes over the 2017 season.
The first of which is races on Sunday now begin ten minutes past the hour. As stated by F1, the reasoning behind this is broadcasters go live on the hour, thus missing the “tension and emotion” leading up to the race itself. Resulting from this change, TV viewers feel closer to the action before the lights go out.
Many viewers will no doubt find themselves puzzled by the change and the reasoning behind it. Why? Pre-race coverage. U.S. viewers in particular will be quick to point out NBCSN’s half hour pre-race shows last year. With the sport moving to ESPN this year, that pastime appears to be no more.
The second change affects all European and Brazilian race weekends. According to F1, research suggests a wider audience is available later in the afternoon, especially during summer. As a result of this, every race session will start an hour earlier across the entire weekend.
Other minor changes include avoiding clashes with other major events, like the FIFA World Cup. Furthermore, these changes take into account differing sunset times, and attracting a larger audience to promoters’ events.
The schedule is as follows:
*Free Practice for the Monaco Grand Prix takes place on Thursday.