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Why are the opening 2024 F1 races on Saturday: Schedule changes for Bahrain and Saudi Arabian GPs explained

The opening two races of the 2024 Formula 1 season, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, are each taking place one day earlier than normal; watch the season-opening Bahrain GP live on Sky Sports F1 at 3pm on Saturday with build-up from 1.30pm

The first two Formula 1 races of the 2024 season are being held on a Saturday in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

This is due to Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, starting on Sunday March 10 this year.

Saudi Arabia's second round was scheduled for that weekend and has been moved forward by a day as a result.

As FIA rules dictate that there must be a full seven days between Grands Prix, the opening round in Bahrain the week before has taken on that revised schedule too.

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Sky F1's Ted Kravitz analyses the key moments qualifying of the Bahrain GP.

As a result, that means the two season-opening rounds will take on the following schedule:

  • Thursday: Practice One and Practice Two
  • Friday: Practice Three and Qualifying
  • Saturday: Grand Prix

World champion Max Verstappen starts on pole position for Saturday's season-opener in Bahrain ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Mercedes' George Russell after a competitive first qualifying hour to the new season on Friday.

"I'm confident that we have a good race car, but I think also what you saw already [on Thursday] in the long runs, the gaps are small and it's about attention to detail and that will make the difference also," said Verstappen.

Also See:

Bahrain GP Qualifying: Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull<BR>2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari<BR>3) George Russell, Mercedes<BR>4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari<BR>5) Sergio Perez, Red Bull<BR>6) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin<BR>7) Lando Norris, McLaren<BR>8) Oscar Piastri, McLaren<BR>) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes<BR>10) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

As was the case when it returned to the Formula 1 calendar last year, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, scheduled for November 23, will also be held on a Saturday.

The main reason for the Vegas race taking place on a Saturday is to enable relatively convenient viewing times for a global audience, with the eight-hour time difference to the UK meaning the race set to start at 6am on the Sunday morning for Sky Sports F1 viewers.

The full live Bahrain GP race-day schedule on Sky Sports F1

Saturday March 2

  • 8.55am: F3 Feature Race
  • 10.25am: F2 Feature Race
  • 1.30pm: Bahrain GP build-up: Grand Prix Saturday
  • 5pm: Bahrain GP reaction: Chequered Flag
  • 6pm: Ted's Notebook
  • 6.30pm: Bahrain GP highlights

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