February 1, 2018 / 5:30 PM / 4 months ago

Motor racing: Formula One races to start later in Europe

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One races in Europe and Brazil will start an hour later this season in a move aimed at boosting television audiences, organisers said on Thursday.

Formula One F1 - Japanese Grand Prix 2017 - Suzuka Circuit, Japan - October 8, 2017. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads the pack during the start of the race. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Grands prix will also start at 10 minutes past the hour to allow more time for broadcasters to show an expanded pre-race buildup.

The 21 race season starts in Australia on March 25.

“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,” Formula One said in a statement.

“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.”

The change to the European and Brazilian timings was due to research, Formula One said, that indicated more people would watch if those races started later in the afternoons, especially in the summer.

Races in continental Europe will now start at 1510 local, with the exception of France (1610) and Britain (1410). Brazil’s round at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit now starts at 1510 instead of 1400.

All practice sessions and qualifying at those European rounds will also start an hour later.

“Other minor adjustments have been made in order to avoid clashes with other major sports events like the FIFA World Cup, to allow for differing sunset times, and to attract a wider attendance to promoters’ events,” Formula One added.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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