F1 shifts start times to attract more TV viewers

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Madrid, Feb 2 (IANS) Formula One has announced a significant change in Grand Prix start times aimed at increasing the size of the television audience.

“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,” F1 said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

“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,” F1 said.

The changes will apply not only to the actual races, but also to the three Free Practice sessions and Qualifying, reports Efe.

Based on market research that showed later starts would boost viewership for the races in Brazil and Europe, organisers decided to put back start times by one hour.

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F1 also made minor individual adjustments to ensure that a Grand Prix race does not coincide with another major sporting event, such as a World Cup soccer match.

The full schedule of free practice 1, free practice 2, free practice 3 and qualifying and race, is as follows, all times local.

FP1 FP2 FP3 Qualifying Race

Australia 12:00 16:00 14:00 17:00 16:10

Bahrain 14:00 18:00 15:00 18:00 18:10

China 10:00 14:00 11:00 14:00 14:10

Azerbaijan 13:00 17:00 14:00 17:00 16:10

Spain 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

Monaco 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

Canada 10:00 14:00 11:00 14:00 14:10

France 12:00 16:00 13:00 16:00 16:10

Austria 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

Great Britain 10:00 14:00 11:00 14:00 14:10

Germany 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

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Hungary 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

Belgium 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

Italy 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

Singapore 16:30 20:30 18:00 21:00 20:10

Russia 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 14:10

Japan 10:00 14:00 12:00 15:00 14:10

United States 10:00 14:00 13:00 16:00 13:10

Mexico 10:00 14:00 10:00 13:00 13:10

Brazil 11:00 15:00 12:00 15:00 15:10

Abu Dhabi 13:00 17:00 14:00 17:00 17:10

–IANS

pur/bg

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