F1 reverts to on-the-hour start times for 2021, while Friday Practice time cut
Changes to the F1 schedule confirmed for the 2021 season with races to again start at the top of the hour and Friday's two practice sessions reduced from 90 to 60 minutes apiece; first race in Bahrain on March 28 will start at 4pm in UK
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 29/01/21 12:34pm
Formula 1 races will revert to starting at the top of the hour in the 2021 season, the sport has formally confirmed, while Friday practice track time has been cut by an hour.
Grands Prix had started 10 minutes past the hour since 2018 but that change has now been reversed for the new season.
Meanwhile, Friday's two practice sessions will now each run to an hour in length instead of the traditional 90 minutes.
Most European races will start at 3pm local time, which is 2pm for UK viewers on Sky Sports F1 (the British GP will start at 3pm local).
When do the F1 races start in 2021?
|Date||Grand Prix||UK race start|
|March 28||Bahrain GP||4pm|
|April 18||Emilia-Romagna GP||2pm|
|May 9||Spanish GP||2pm|
|May 23||Monaco GP||2pm|
|June 6||Azerbaijan GP||1pm|
|June 13||Canadian GP||7pm|
|June 27||French GP||2pm|
|July 4||Austrian GP||2pm|
|July 18||British GP||3pm|
|August 1||Hungarian GP||2pm|
|August 29||Belgian GP||2pm|
|September 5||Dutch GP||2pm|
|September 12||Italian GP||2pm|
|September 26||Russian GP||1pm|
|October 3||Singapore GP||1pm|
|October 10||Japanese GP||6am|
|October 24||United States GP||8pm|
|October 31||Mexican GP||7pm|
|November 7||Brazilian GP||5pm|
|November 21||Australian GP||6am|
|December 5||Saudi Arabia GP||4pm|
|December 12||Abu Dhabi GP||1pm|
F1 is planning for a 23-round season but the third event, which was originally meant to be China, remains unconfirmed. Portugal's Portimao circuit is considered the front-runner after making its debut on the much-changed 2020 schedule last autumn.
Bahrain opens the 2021 campaign on March 28, with their event to run in the evening under floodlights as usual. The season-opener will start at 4pm UK time.
Less practice time, but more condensed action?
F1 had held two 90-minute practice sessions on a Friday since 2007 but there have been consistent calls in recent years to reduce running time ahead of qualifying, to both ensure busier sessions when cars are on track and increase chances of unpredictability later in the weekend.
With limited tyre allocations and penalty-free engine parts, teams chose not to use significant amounts of Friday's 180 minutes of track time with their cars.
Following Friday's announcement, Sky F1 commentator David Croft tweeted: "A welcome move & one that I hope eliminates the often long periods of track inactivity. It shouldn't result in less laps completed."
Practice, qualifying & race start times for F1 in 2021. For those, like me, who like to organise their year :)))— David Croft (@CroftyF1) January 29, 2021
FP1 & FP2 are now 1 hour for each. A welcome move & one that I hope eliminates the often long periods of track inactivity. It shouldn’t result in less laps completed pic.twitter.com/cvMTmjhPJh
Practice Three on a Saturday will continue to run to 60 minutes.