Formula 1 confirms start times for the 2024 sprint races

The timetable for the 2024 Formula 1 season is now final: Formula 1 published the schedules for all 24 race weekends a good two weeks before the start of the season.

It was not yet known how exactly the change in the sprint format would affect the weekends. Here too there is now clarity.

The new sprint format looks like this: On the sprint weekend, the (first) free practice session takes place on Fridays at lunchtime. Sprint qualifying follows in the early afternoon.

Saturday will begin with the sprint race in the late morning and end with the qualifying in the (late) afternoon. Sunday with the traditional Grand Prix remains unaffected by these changes.

In 2023, Formula 1 held free practice on Friday and then qualifying, and then the sprint shootout on Saturday and later the sprint race. However, this order was deliberately moved away from this order for the 2024 Formula 1 season in order to have a common thread over the course of the weekend and an increase in tension leading up to the Grand Prix on Sunday – that’s the theory behind it.

Get up early for the first sprint race of the year

Under the modified schedule for 2024, fans in Central Europe have to be prepared for unusual start times for the six sprint races: the first sprint of the year in Shanghai, China, for example, begins in the morning hours for German spectators. The remaining sprint races will be shown in Europe at lunchtime or in the afternoon to early evening.

The sprint in Shanghai got the earliest place in the local time schedule: the start in China is scheduled for 11 a.m.

The sprint in Lusail in Qatar has the latest place in the schedule: the Formula 1 drivers start the sprint at 4 p.m. local time, which is expected to end shortly before sunset in Qatar.

No “early start” for the Formula 1 drivers on the race weekend

In general, the Formula 1 drivers can expect little stress in the mornings on the 24 racing weekends: no session starts before 11:30 a.m. local time on Friday and 11 a.m. local time on Saturday. On Sunday, most Grands Prix are scheduled for 2 or 3 p.m. local time, but not before.

The Formula 1 drivers will again have the latest start to the day at the night race in Las Vegas, where they will take to the track for the first time on Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. local time, almost two hours after sunset. The race start at 10 p.m. local time is also the latest in the entire 2024 Formula 1 calendar.