Why F1 Bahrain and Saudi Arabia GPs are on Saturday

Groups and drivers are gearing up for the longest season in F1’s historical past, with as many as 24 grands prix on the calendar.

However that is not the one particular factor concerning the 2024 season, because the yr kicks off with two races on Saturday: the Bahrain (2 March) and Saudi Arabian (9 March) grands prix. 

Why does the 2024 F1 season begin on a Saturday?

The rationale the 2024 Components 1 season begins with two races on Saturdays is Ramadan, which begins on Sunday 10 March – the day the Saudi Arabia grand prix is meant to be held.

Due to the beginning of Ramadan, this race has been introduced ahead sooner or later to be held on the Saturday night time. The rationale that the season opener in Bahrain additionally takes place every week earlier on Saturday has to do with F1 guidelines, because the laws stipulate that there should be not less than every week between two races.

This pressured the Bahrain season opener to be moved sooner or later earlier as nicely, to accommodate for it.

Saudi Arabian GP motion

Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Photographs

What is the schedule for the Bahrain and Saudi Arabia GPs?

As the primary two races of the season are on a Saturday, your entire schedule has been introduced ahead by a day.

Meaning the 2 one-hour free apply periods will likely be held on Thursday, whereas the third free apply and qualifying periods will then happen on Friday.

In each circumstances, the primary day of the weekend is completely devoted to the race.

Bahrain GP 2024 schedule

Date Session US begin time
Thursday 29 February First free apply 6:30am ET
Thursday 29 February Second free apply 10am ET
Friday 1 March Third free apply 7:30am ET
Friday 1 March Qualifying 11am ET
Saturday 2 March Grand Prix 10am ET

Saudi Arabian GP 2024 schedule

Date Session US begin time
Thursday 7 March First free apply 8:30am ET
Thursday 7 March Second free apply 12pm ET
Friday 8 March Third free apply 1:30pm ET
Friday 8 March Qualifying 12pm ET
Saturday 9 March Grand Prix 12pm ET

Extra F1 races on Saturdays in 2024

The Bahrain and Saudi Arabian grands prix aren’t the one two races in 2024 which will likely be held on a Saturday, because the Las Vegas Grand Prix on 24 November can be scheduled on a Saturday.

That is as a result of vital time distinction with Europe. In reality, the race takes place at 10pm native time – have been it to occur on a Sunday, the race would begin at 6am on Monday morning within the UK.

Many followers would then have to depart for work, which might lead to poor viewing figures. It was subsequently determined to deliver the race ahead a day to permit extra F1 followers worldwide to change on.

1985 South African GP action

1985 South African GP motion

Picture by: Motorsport Photographs

When was the final time F1 raced on a Saturday?

F1 is not a stranger to not racing on a Sunday, although it is not precisely frequent.

Simply 75 F1 races have been held on days apart from a Sunday, with the newest being 2023’s Las Vegas GP.

Earlier than that although, you’d have to return 38 years to the 1985 South African GP which was held on a Saturday.

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