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How Long Is A Formula 1 Race?

How Long Is A Formula 1 Race?

To the uninitiated F1 races seem to go on for an age. The reality is that compared to most other racing disciplines, F1 events are very short. How Long Is A Formula 1 Race depends on the length of the circuit.

The regulations state that an F1 Grand Prix race cannot be less than 190 miles (305km) long. A further restriction is included stating that the race must be completed after a maximum of two hours. The only time this can be varied is if there are suspensions in the race, in which case the race director can extend the run time to 3 hours.

If the race time is insufficient, the points scores will be reduced by a pro-rata amount.

How Long Is A Formula 1 Race – Distance?

The FIA regulations state.

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

“The distance for the Monaco Grand Prix is the lowest t 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.

DateVenueCircuitDistance
25
/2
Sakhirahrain_International_Circuit-Grand_Prix_Layout 
5/3Sakhirahrain_International_Circuit-Grand_Prix_Layout191 miles (308 km)
19/3Jeddaheddah_Street_Circuit_2021eddah_Street_Circuit_2021Saudi Circuit191 miles (308 km)
2/4MelMelbourne191 miles (307 km)
16/4ShaShanghai Circuit189miles (305 km)
30/4BakBaku190 miles (306 km)
7/5MiaMiami191 miles (308 km)
21/5ImolaImola192 miles (309 km)
28/5MonacoMonoco Circuit161 miles (260 km)
4/6Circuit
de
Barcelona-
Catalunya
Spanish circuit190 miles (307 km)
18
/6
Montreal
Gilles
Villeneuve
Canada Circuit189 miles (305 km)
2/7Red Bull
Ring
Austria Circuit190 miles (306 km)
9/7SilverstoneSilverstone190 miles (306 km) 
23/7Budapest Hungary Circuit190 miles (306 km)
30/7Circuit de Spa Belgium Circuit191 miles (308 km)
27/8ZandvoortNetherlands Circuit190 miles (306 km)
3/9MonzaItaly Circuit190 miles (306 km)
17/9Marina
Bay
Singapore Circuit191 miles (308 km)
24/9SuzukaJapan Circuit191 miles (308 km)
8/10LusailLusail191 miles (308 km)
22/10Circuit
of the
 Americas
USA Circuit191 miles (308 km)
9/
10
Hermanos
 Rodriguez
Mexico Circuit189 miles (305 km)
5/
11
Sao PauloBrazil Circuit189 miles (305 km)
18/
11
Hard Rock
Stadium
Circuit
Miami circuit191 miles (308 km)
26/
11
Yas
Marina
Yas Marina189 miles (305 km)

How Long Is A Formula 1 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 include

  1. bad weather
  2. accidents
  3. penalties
  4. infringements
  5. 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 Long Is A Formula 1 Race – Number Of Laps?

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.

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.

DateVenueNo Of LapCircuit LengthDistance
23/2Sakhirn/a n/a n/a 
5/3Sakhir573.4 miles (5.4 km)191miles (308 km)
19/3Jeddah503.83 miles  (6.2 km)191 miles (308 km)
2/4Melbour583.3 miles  (5.3 km)191 miles (307 km)
16/4Shanghai563.4 miles (5.5 km)189miles (305 km)
30/4Baku513.7 miles (6.0 km)190 miles (306 km)
7/4Miami573.4 miles (5.5 km)191 miles (308 km)
21/5Imola633.1 miles (4.9 km)192 miles (309 km)
28/5Circuit de Monaco782.1 miles (3.3 km)161 miles (260 km)
4/6Barcelon662.9 miles (4.7 km)190 miles (307 km)
18/6Gilles Villene702.7 miles  (4.4 km)189 miles (305 km)
2/7Red Bull Ring712.7 miles  (4.3 km)190 miles (306 km)
9/7Silverst523.7 miles  (5.9 km)190 miles (306 km) 
23/7Budapes702.7 miles   (4.4 km)190 miles (306 km)
30/7Circuit de Spa444.4 miles  (7.0 km)191 miles (308 km)
27/8Zand –
voort
722.6 miles  (4.3 km)190 miles (306 km)
3/9Monza533.6 miles  (5.8 km)190 miles (306 km)
17/9Marina Bay613.1 miles  (5.0 km)191 miles (308 km)
24/9Suzuka533.6 miles  (5.8 km)191 miles (308 km)
8/10Lusail573.4 miles (5.4 km)191 miles (308 km)
22/10Circuit
Of The
America
563.5 miles  (5.6 km)191 miles (308 km)
29/10Herman Rodrigue712.7 miles (4.3 km)189 miles (305 km)
5/11Sao Paulo712.7 miles (4.3 km)189 miles (305 km)
18/11Hard Rock573.4 miles  (5.4 km)191 miles (308 km)
26/11Yas Marina553.4 miles  (5.6 km)189 miles (305 km)

How Are The Rivers 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
Monaco
Mon161 m (260 km)2.07 m (3.3 km)78
Shortest Distance
Convent
Mont189 m  (305 km)2.7 m
(4.4 km)
70
Shortest
No of lap
Spa191 m (308 km)4.35 m
(7.0 km)
44
Shortest circuit
length
Mon161 m (260 km)2.07 m
(3.3 km)
78
Shortest
convent
Red Bull190 m (306 km)2.64 m  (4.3 km)72

Conclusion

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.

References

https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/formula_1_-_sporting_regulations_-_2022_-_iss_4_-_2022-02-18.pdf

www.f1worldwide.com

www.formula1.com

The Exciting 2023 Formula 1 Schedule – F1Worldwide.com

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