F1 has released a largely unchanged race schedule for the 2020 season with change only to be seen in six of 22 rounds.
The timings of all the sessions – FP1, FP2, FP3, Qualifying and Race – remains largely unchanged for the 2020 F1 season apart from the start time races of six rounds. They have kept Japan as TBC, while times for Vietnam and Netherlands is revealed too.
The new timing schedule was released by Liberty Media in 2018 with the race time altered to suit more of the US audience and also help the broadcasters to start with their race programme at the stroke of an hour.
As a result, several of the grand prix saw its time changed and pushed back by one hour with additional 10 minutes added to all of the F1 races to help with the broadcasting programme. The move though wasn’t welcomed hugely by the fans.
With the races in Europe starting late along with the American ones, it meant the audiences in Australia and Asia were affected largely. At the same time, the changed time did not sit well with all of the European fans as it ate up their holiday.
In totality, there were several pros and cons to the altered times but they are to stay in 2020 as well as being confirmed by F1. Looking at the changes, for China, Canada and Mexico, it is not for the whole weekend but limited to only selected sessions.
For the Chinese GP, the FP1, FP2, FP3 and Qualifying will start one hour later than what it took place in 2019, but the race start time remains the same. As for the Canadian GP, only FP1 and FP2 see the change with the sessions starting one our later than 2019.
It is similar case for Mexico GP, where only FP1 and FP2 will see a change, with the sessions to start one our later than 2019. For US GP, only the race start time will change with it starting one our later, while Brazil GP will start one hour before than 2019.
The only weekend to see a full change is British GP, where all the sessions including the race start time, will be one hour later than 2019. As for the new races, Vietnam GP has similar time as Chinese GP, while Dutch GP has same time as other European F1 rounds.
Full race schedule of the 2020 F1 season – includes altered times (all local time):
UPDATE: F1 has confirmed the timings for Japanese GP now, where Friday’s two free practice sessions will run from 11 to 12.30 and from 15.00 to 16.30 local time, while Saturday will feature the third and last free practice session at 12.00 and the qualifying session at 15.00. The race will start at 13.10 on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s Michael Masi on his first year in F1 as race director