2024 Vegas GP keeps controversial late start time

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23 leads Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 at the start of the race. 18.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
© XPB 

The 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix will keep its 10pm start time on the night of Saturday November 23, despite criticism from F1 teams and drivers about the late hour putting too much strain on personnel.

The race has limited flexibility when it comes to the timing of sessions. Cars run on public streets that can't be closed to general traffic until 5pm, meaning second practice and qualifying ended up scheduled to start at midnight.

Last year, the event got off to the worst possible start when a water valve access cover got sucked loose causing serious damage to Carlos Sainz' Ferrari just minutes into Free Practice 1.

The ensuring delay meant that fans were forced to leave the grandstands before FP2 took place in the early hours, concluding at 4am just minutes before work to reopen the roads had to commence.

Fans were not offered refunds for missing out, although vouchers were given to race-going fans to spend on merchandise as compensation. Formula 1 - which acts as promoter for the race - is facing legal claims from some of those affected.

Although this year's race keeps its 10pm start time, the 2024 Las Vegas practice and qualifying times are still awaiting confirmation. The race kicks off a triple-header along with Qatar and Abu Dhabi to conclude the season.

“It’s been a brutal weekend for everyone behind the scenes and I think we need to look at how we can improve that for the future," was the view of Red Bull boss Christian Horner after last year's inaugural running.

Elsewhere, start times are unchanged from 2023 with the exception of Miami where the race will get underway 30 minutes later.

While the Australian Grand Prix takes place at the same local time, the fact that the start of British Summer Time and the end of Australian DST are a week later means viewers in the UK will need to get up for 4am rather than 6am.

Circuit atmosphere - start  gantry.
29.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Preparation Day.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Two races return to the schedule, bumping the total number of races this year to 24. The Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai is back after a four year absence due to COVID, while last year's Emilia Romagna GP returns after last year's flooding.

China will be the fifth round of the World Championship, held a fortnight after the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka while Imola slots back in between Miami and Monaco in May,

There will be six sprint races again in 2024, in China, Miami, Austria, the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), Brazil and Qatar. However discussions are ongoing about format tweaks, meaning that timings are still to be confirmed.

The first race of the season is in Bahrain on March 2 at 3pm GMT (6pm local time) followed a week later by the Saudi Arabian GP before F1 decamps down under to Melbourne's Albert Park.

The season concludes on December 8 in Abu Dhabi.

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