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Start of F1 Bahrain Grand Prix of 2023 Formula One World Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on March 5, 2023 in Sakhir, Bahrain.

Why are F1 Bahrain and Saudi Arabia GPs taking place on Saturdays?

Formula 1 will have its first two races of the 2024 season on Saturday night in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

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The 2024 F1 season commences on Saturday 2 March in Bahrain, with the following Saudi Arabian GP also taking place on Saturday. Why is this the case?

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 19: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23 Mercedes and Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 lead the field at the start of the race during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 19, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Both races last year were held on a Sunday (Image Credit: Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

The 2024 Formula 1 season will see the most races in a calendar year in the sport’s history. Teams and drivers will have to prepare for a record-breaking 24 races in 2024.

However, the start of the 2024 season will have a twist. A traditional race weekend will see the race take place on a Sunday. But this will not be the case in the opening two races in Sakhir and Jeddah.

The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on 2 March, with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix taking place on 9 March. These two dates ar on a Saturday, meaning both races will take place on Saturday nights.

Why on a Saturday?

The reason for the opening two races starting on a Saturday is due to Ramadan, which starts on Sunday 10 March. This is the day that the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was scheduled to be held.

Due to Ramadan, the race in Jeddah has been scheduled for the previous day on Saturday. However, that means it also affects the season opener in Bahrain, which will also ake place on Saturday. This is due to F1 rules, as the regulations states that there must be at least a week between two races.

Due to the rules, Bahrain has accommodated for Ramadan, also racing on a Saturday to give a week between its race with Jeddah’s.

How will the weekend look?

As the opening two races of the season are on Saturdays, the full schedule has been brought forward a day.

Media duties will take place on Wednesday. As for track action, free practice one and two will take place on a Thursday. Meanwhile, free practice three and qualifying will be held on a Friday. That leaves it with the race on a Saturday.

The schedule has still accommodated for the race to still have its own day – not having qualifying on the same day.

Start of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix at Las Vegas Strip Circuit in Las Vegas, United States on November 18, 2023.
Las Vegas debuted in Formula 1 last year (Image Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
One more race to take place on Saturday also

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are not the only venues to host a race on a Saturday in 2024. The 2024 Las vegas Grand prix is scheduled on 24 November, which is also a Saturday.

The reasoning is for the significant time difference with Europe. The race in Las Vegas will take place at 10pm local time. If this happened on a Sunday, it would result in the race starting on a Monday morning for people in Europe.

People leaving for work has been considered, resulting in F1 deciding to host the race on a Saturday rather than a Sunday.

F1 has had races in the past on a Saturday. 75 races in its history has been held on another day to Sunday – the most recent being 2023’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.

However, before Las Vegas, it was the 1985 South African Grand Prix. This dated back 38 years ago, with the race being held on a Saturday.

Feature Image Credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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