Put a note on the calendar to change the Sunday alarms on your phone and get ready to sleep in a little later, because Formula One’s new bosses aren’t done changing things up yet: A day after announcing grid girls would no longer be used at races, F1 confirmed it’s moving back start times as well.
Last week, Motorsport.com reported that sources who attended a meeting with television broadcasters and F1’s new bosses, Liberty Media, said race start times could get pushed back to reach a larger television audience. F1 announced the move Thursday, saying European and Brazilian race weekends would start more than an hour later than they have in prior years.
F1 also said all grands prix won’t start right on the hour anymore, since various broadcasters worldwide that start their coverage on the hour miss “the tension and emotion that characterize the minutes before the start” of the race. It’s also for more pre-race advertising. From the announcement:
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. ... 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.
All of the new start times, most of which are just an hour after what they were last year and between 2:10 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. local time, can be found here.
The announcement said F1 made other small adjustments in the schedule in order to not clash with big events, like the expected delay of the French Grand Prix because of a World Cup game that day. And while altering race schedules by an hour can’t make F1 air at more acceptable times in all parts of the world, it does mean us lazy Americans won’t have to wake up at 6 a.m. every weekend.
No matter where you are, get ready to set your alarms back an hour or stay up even later than you’d already planned—this one sounds like a done deal.