How Long Is A Formula 1 Race?

If you are a fan of Formula One racing, you might have wondered how long an F1 race lasts and how many laps the drivers have to complete.

Unlike other motorsports, F1 races are not based on a fixed number of laps or a fixed distance. Instead, they are determined by a maximum time limit of two hours and a minimum distance of 305 kilometers (189.5 miles).

In this article, we will explain how these factors affect the length and number of laps in an F1 race, and how you can calculate them yourself. We will also look at some exceptions and variations that can occur in different circuits and situations.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of the formula for F1 racing and how it makes each race unique and exciting.

How Long Is An F1 Race – Distance?

“The distance of all races shall equal the least number of complete laps which exceed 305km.”

FIA regulations

“The distance for the Monaco Grand Prix is the lowest number of complete laps which exceed a distance of 260km.”

The distances an F1 race will be run over depends on the circuit at which the event is run.

The minimum distance the F1 cars travel during the main race is 190 miles (305km). This distance is only amended when the main race is run on the street circuit in Monaco.

Because the race is run at such a slow relative speed, the Monaco circuit is reduced to approximately 161 miles (260km). The time restrictions would be exceeded if the organizers did not reduce the distance.


How Long Is An F1 Race – Duration?

The FIA regulations stipulate that the maximum period of normal races, with no suspensions, is 2 hours.

If the race is suspended due to bad weather or incidents on the track, the race can be extended for an additional 1 hour more – 3 hours in total.

Factors that may affect how long is a Formula 1 Race included

  • Accidents
  • Penalties
  • Bad weather
  • Infringements
  • Or any other situation that affects the running of the event.

The FIA Formula 1 Regulations (Section 5.4)

“The distance of all races is the lowest number of laps which exceed a distance of 305km.  Only under the circumstances below will any exception be made

  • The distance of the race in Monaco shall be equal to the least number of complete laps which exceed a distance of 260km.
  • An event (weather, accidents) triggers the race being suspended.”

In this instance, the time the race was suspended may be added to the original two-hour limit.

This is subject to a total time of 3 hours (2 normal plus 1 extension.)

How Many Laps In F1?

The length of each circuit determines how many laps there are in the F1 race and therefore how long is a Formula 1 race.

The shorter the circuit, the more laps there are in each race.

One of the benefits of a shorter circuit is that spectators are entertained more because the cars pass in front of them more often.

How Do The Circuits Compare?

The longest circuit on the schedule is at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium (circuit length 4 miles – 7km). On this circuit, there are only 44 laps.

23/2Sakhirn/a n/a n/a 
5/3Sakhir573.4 miles191miles (308 km)
19/3Jeddah503.83 miles191 miles (308 km)
2/4Melbourne583.3 miles191 miles (307 km)
16/4Shanghai563.4 miles189miles (305 km)
30/4Baku513.7 miles190 miles (306 km)
7/4Miami573.4 miles191 miles (308 km)
21/5Imola633.1 miles192 miles (309 km)
28/5Circuit de Monaco782.1 miles161 miles (260 km)
4/6Barcelona662.9 miles190 miles (307 km)
18/6Gilles Villeneuve702.7 miles189 miles (305 km)
2/7Red Bull Ring712.7 miles190 miles (306 km)
9/7Silverstone523.7 miles190 miles (306 km) 
23/7Budapest702.7 miles190 miles (306 km)
30/7Circuit de Spa444.4 miles191 miles (308 km)
27/8Zandvoort722.6 miles190 miles (306 km)
3/9Monza533.6 miles190 miles (306 km)
17/9Marina Bay613.1 miles191 miles (308 km)
24/9Suzuka533.6 miles191 miles (308 km)
8/10Lusail573.4 miles191 miles (308 km)
22/10Circuit Of The Americas563.5 miles191 miles (308 km)
29/10Herman Rodrigues712.7 miles189 miles (305 km)
5/11Sao Paulo712.7 miles189 miles (305 km)
18/11Hard Rock573.4 miles191 miles (308 km)
26/11Yas Marina553.4 miles189 miles (305 km)

How Are The Drivers Notified That The 2-Hour Limit Applies?

Once the 2 hours have been completed, the marshals flag the “end-of-race signal”  to the leading driver. When this happens and the leading driver crosses the line on that lap the event is considered finished.

The drivers will be awarded the race positions in the same order they cross the line.

Why Are F1 Races So Short?

There are several reasons why F1 races are shorter than events in other race disciplines.

The F1 Drivers And Teams Routine Is Punishing

The life of an F1 driver is anything but easy.

They must remain in peak physical condition for 25 race weekends (1 testing X 24 races).

On weekends with the normal qualifying format, drivers must be available for press, briefings, drivers, and team meetings.

On Friday, there are two practice sessions ( P1 and P2) where the driver has to operate as a test pilot. They must monitor what the car is doing and communicate this accurately to the race engineers.

On Saturday, they have a third practice session (P3) and three qualifying sessions (Q1, Q2, and Q3.)

These very high-intensity sessions ultimately decide where the driver is positioned on the grid for the main event on Sunday.

If the car is in an accident, the teams may need to work overnight to have it repaired and race-ready for the Sunday event.

Once the main event is run, the circus is packed up and sent back to base or the next event.

The drivers and teams travel to the next event, which involves traveling through time zones and the related changes to their body clocks.

This intense schedule has to be controlled. By making sure the races run so that they are long enough for the spectators and yet do not exhaust the drivers and teams.

The Forces Imposed On The Drivers Are Extreme

The forces imposed on the driver’s body are extreme for races that are run over the course of anything between 44 and 78 laps.

Imagine traveling down a straight at 250 km/h and having to brake the car down to a speed of 80 km/h to negotiate a corner which may include a sharp right and sharp left turn.

At the corner’s apex, the driver accelerates back up to the maximum speed for that section, only to do it all over again at the next corner.

While the driver is coping with these massive horizontal and lateral negative and positive G forces, they may be racing side by side (sometimes inches away from each other), possibly with more than one car involved in the melee.

f1 g-force
f1 g-force

The physical exertion imposed on an F1 driver during a Grand Prix race results in the driver losing up to  8.8 pounds  (4kg ) during a race.

The physical and mental stresses imposed on the driver’s body are extreme.

One of the ways these stresses are reduced is by limiting the length and duration of the races.

The F1 Race Cars Logistics Require Shorter Races

There are very strict weight limitations which imply the amount of fuel used must be restricted.

As the teams are not permitted to refuel during the race, the result is that it is only sufficient to run the car for the designated distances.

TV Rights Play A Large Role In Limiting The Race Difference

One of F1’s largest revenue earners is from live TV beamed around the world.

With that come restrictive time frames for the race events.

Which Is The Shortest F1 Race?

The shortest race distance is run at the Monaco street circuit. With the 2023 cancellation of the Chinese Grand Pix in Shanghai, the shortest conventional F1 race is The Canadian Grand Prix run at Montreal Gilles Villeneuve (189 miles – 305 km

CategoryTrackDistanceCircuit LengthLap
Shortest Distance
Monaco161 m (260 km)2.07 m (3.3 km)78
Smallest number of laps
Conventional Track
Montreal189 m  (305 km)2.7 m (4.4 km)70
No of laps
Spa191 m (308 km)4.35 m (7.0 km)44
Shortest circuit
Monaco161 m (260 km)2.07 m (3.3 km)78
Shortest lap
conventional track
Red Bull Ring190 m (306 km)2.64 m  (4.3 km)72

The fastest F1 race ever was the 2003 Italian Grand Prix, which lasted only 1 hour, 14 minutes and 19 seconds.

Longest F1 Race Distance

The longest F1 race distance in 2022 was supposed to be at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia, where the overall racing distance is 309.7 kilometers (192.5 miles). Drivers complete 53 laps around the 5.848 kilometers (3.663 miles) long track. This was cancelled due to sanctions placed on Russia.

However, this is not the longest F1 race distance ever recorded. The record belongs to the 1951 French Grand Prix, which was run over a distance of 601.8km (373.8 miles) – the longest ever distance completed in a single race. This was the first of three races that was won by two drivers sharing a single car. Luigi Fagioli and Juan Manuel Fangio collectively raced 77 laps of the Reims-Gueux circuit to win for Alfa Romeo2.

The longest track on the 2023 F1 calendar is the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. It’s 7.004 kilometers (4.352 miles) long, with only 44 laps driven around the circuit. With some of the sport’s most famous corners, such as Eau Rogue, this circuit is one of the fans’ and drivers’ favorites.


Under normal circumstances, the F1 race will never last longer than 2 hours. Apart from the special exception of Monaco, the length of an F1 race will not be less than 190 miles (305km.)

Because of the lack of overtaking at Monaco, from a spectator’s perspective, it is somewhat like watching paint dry. Thankfully it is the shortest circuit on the calendar.


The 2023 Formula One calendar is revealed (