Formula One management has officially confirmed that the start times of all Grands Prix in 2018 have been altered, with each race to start at 10 minutes past the hour. Reports surfaced last month that, under plans floated by Liberty Media, the formation lap would begin at 15:10 at European Grands Prix, as opposed to 14:00, as has become traditional in recent years.
Earlier today, those plans were confirmed, with races shifted to 10 past the hour in order to aid TV broadcasters, while the times of other events have also been tweaked: “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,” read a statement – “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.”
The French Grand Prix is one such event to have been shifted to cater to the World Cup, with the lights set to go out at 16:10 at Paul Ricard, in order to avoid the England vs Panama game.
The Bahrain Grand Prix now becomes a full night race, with the start taking place after sunset