F1 races put back over an hour to attract more viewers
A majority of Formula 1 races will start 70 minutes later in 2018 as part of efforts to increase television audiences, it has been announced.
Most of the grands prix in Europe and the one in Brazil on 11 November will begin at 2.10pm local time, instead of 1pm as has been the custom, in the belief this will garner better ratings.
The exception will be the returning French Grand Prix on 24 June, which will get under way at 3.10pm to avoid a clash with the England versus Panama game at the Fifa World Cup in Russia, starting at 1pm UK time.
Meanwhile, the Bahrain Grand Prix on 8 April will start at 4.10pm, thereby switching from a twilight to a night race.
Explaining the decision to start races at 10 minutes past the hour, Formula One said: “Some broadcasters usually go on air precisely on the hour, hence missing the tension and emotion that characterise the minutes before the start of each grand prix.”
The move is one of various reforms made by Liberty Media, the US media giant that acquired the sport last year, and is seeking to attract new fans and engage better with the existing audience.
Earlier this week, Formula One announced that it would no longer make use of 'grid girls' from this year, saying it "does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms."
The 2018 season gets under way with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 25 March.