F1 makes changes to start times in 2018

Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

In the US, we still aren’t quite sure how we will be watching Formula 1 this year but when we do, we know we won’t see any grid girls and we also know the approximate times we’ll be watching something…presumably.

F1 announced today that they are moving race-starts back as much as 70 minutes. Races will start 10 minutes after the hour and here is the idea behind that from F1:

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.

The second change is to the European and Brazilian race weekends. Research has indicated that a wider TV audience is reachable later in the afternoons, especially in the summer months. Consequently, it has been decided to move the schedule of every session back by one hour across the whole weekend for each of the above-mentioned Grands Prix.

Other minor adjustments have been made in order to avoid clashes with other major sports events like the FIFA World Cup, to allow for differing sunset times, and to attract a wider attendance to promoters’ events.

It’s an interesting position in that it would lead one to believe that their broadcast provider will not be offering any pre-race coverage so 10 minutes will be elbowed out for a build-up as it were.

Something tells me that this is going to accommodate a rather spartan broadcast on ESPN but I could be completely wrong on that. I’m not sure what, “brought closer to the teams” means but perhaps they have a script and outline of what that 10 minutes will look like? Maybe they have worked out a content package for that initial 10 minutes that could be very cool?

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As someone on the east coast of America I prefered the earlier start times… it leaves more of the day to be with family and friends… but if Liberty can get more butts in couches watching this I’ll sacrifice and do something else during those 70 minutes.

It’s amazing that we don’t yet have any official word on the TV/OTT packages and yet start times are still being modified… lots of moving pieces out there and I doubt we’ve seen the last of them before the season starts.

The Captain

You’re not wrong, I think this is being done entirely because ESPN won’t run a pre-race show like NBC did (and apparently aren’t gonna run a post race show either). So U.S. fans are exchanging a 1 hour pre-race show with driver interviews, storyline rundowns, analysis, practice and quali highlights and buildup for a 10 min race build up that supposed to bring us “closer to the teams” than the hour NBC did? (and it will probably be only 6 min since ESPN will be in 4 min of commercials). Yea, it doesn’t matter if you start the race an… Read more »


Red lights go off (at the start)? They look more like orange to me…(a tease, smile…).

sunny stivala

Looks like LM are hell bend on leaving very little if anything unchanged.

sunny stivala

“Motorsports.com:- formula 1 announces new schedule for 2018 races” race start times listed are “local race start times” which anybody can convert to his local time. if the format of the schedule used for 2017 season will be repeated later on this year it could be bookmarked and your “local race start time” listed automatically.


That solves a problem for me.
The local time for the European race starts was midnight Sunday. So I’d watch about half the races live, get to bed about 2am, and stagger through Monday at work.
A 1:10am start means, all races will be recorded and watched from 5:30am, or Monday evening, both of which mean no internet until the race is watched, noooooo!
Maybe L.M can switch, night races, on a Saturday????


I always record the races to skip the commercials. Hopefully a streaming package (commercial free) will be offered in the US this year.