Why the 2024 F1 season is starting on Saturday, explained

Formula 1 fans anticipating the start of the 2024 season have one less day to wait than usual.

The first race of the 2024 season gets underway on Saturday evening from Bahrain International Circuit, with the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. The race is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. local time on Saturday night. This is a change from the standard Sunday race days in F1.

In addition the second race of the season, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, is also slated for Saturday night, set to get underway at 8:00 p.m. local time from Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Why are the first two races taking place on Saturdays? It comes down to the month of Ramadan. The holy month of fasting begins at sundown on Sunday, March 10th, and as such F1 made the decision to move the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix forward to Saturday so as to avoid a conflict with the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic faith.

However, moving the second race of the season to a Saturday had an impact on the first race of the season. Under FIA regulations, there must be a week between races, and as a result the Bahrain Grand Prix running — hypothetically — on a Sunday to open the season would run afoul of those regulations.

Interestingly enough, not only are Saturday races becoming more common in F1, opening the season on a Saturday is in a way a nod to F1 history. The 1950 F1 season, which was the fourth season of F1 racing but featured the inaugural FIA World Championship of Drivers, began on May 13 with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

That race, which was won by Giuseppe Farina for Alfa Romeo, took place on a Saturday.

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