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European races set to go back to 2 pm race start times  

F1 will revert to the old 2 pm start time for the European races this year
F1 will revert to the old 2 pm start time for the European races this year
ANALYST
Modified 08 Jan 2021, 22:37 IST
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F1 is set to go back to the original 2 pm start time for European races from this year. In 2018, Liberty Media had pushed the race start to 3:10 pm in a bid to increase television viewership in America.

The races were planned to start10 mins from the hour mark because these 10 minutes were supposed to be used by the broadcasters. This was intended to help the broadcasters start their pre-race show on the hour in a bid to capture the tension and emotion just before the start of the race.

At the time, a statement from F1 said: "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."

Although it's not entirely clear what tangible benefits were gained from this move, it wasn't entirely popular within the F1 circles. The move delayed the pack-up times by an hour for the crew who were already stretched by an increased number of events.

The TV companies had to scramble to find 10 extra minutes of content before the race
The TV companies had to scramble to find 10 extra minutes of content before the race

To add to this, the 10 minute-from-the-hour start time complicated the timings for the opening of pit lane exits and the pre-race ceremonies. This didn't suit the TV companies either who had already committed to lengthy pre-race shows on the grid and now had to scramble for the extra 10 minutes of content before the race.

Autosport has reported that F1 has proposed to the teams that from this season the race start times will be moved back to the hour and the normal race start time will be 2 pm for events in the European time zone.

Early indications suggest that teams are in favor of the move which should be formally ratified soon. For events outside of the European time zone, the start time would be moved to fit the peak viewership time.

Published 08 Jan 2021, 22:37 IST
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