Azerbaijan confirmed as twilight race

The first European Grand Prix around the Azerbaijan capital Baku has been confirmed as a twilight race with a 6pm local start time.

The timings for 2016’s 21-race calendar have been released with both qualifying and the race on 18-19 June being listed with a start time of 6pm local, which is 2pm BST.

Scheduling of Azerbaijan’s F1 debut provoked arguments when announced due to race day clash with the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  The FIA had tried to find a solution to avoid a direct clash between the two popular forms of motorsport in a bid to avoid a clash.

The start of the Le Mans is 3pm French time on Saturday, around the same time the Baku qualifying begins, with a race start time set for 6pm, meaning the Grand Prix will start the same time as the Le Mans ends.

At the end of last year, FIA president Jean Todt said that he expected the Baku race to start at midday.

“For Le Mans, I am quite confident that having Baku, the start will be at midday, the finishing of Le Mans is at 3pm,” said Todt.  “The calendar as an exercise is a very tricky job because you have 21 races in F1, you have 10 races in Formula E, you have 10 races also in WEC,

“You have 14 rallies next year. So to make one calendar without any conflict is simply not possible.”

2016 Formula 1 Grands Prix – local start times

Australia – 4pm
Bahrain – 6pm
China – 2pm
Russia – 3pm
Spain – 2pm
Monaco – 2pm
Canada – 2pm
Azerbaijan – 6pm
Austria – 2pm
Great Britain – 1pm
Hungary – 2pm
Germany – 2pm
Belgium – 2pm
Italy – 2pm
Singapore – 8pm
Malaysia – 3pm
Japan – 2pm
USA – 2pm
Mexico – 1pm
Brazil – 2pm
Abu Dhabi – 5pm