Timberlake concert prompts US GP schedule change

Formula 1 has made an unprecedented change to the qualifying timetable for the United States Grand Prix due to a Justin Timberlake concert.

Timberlake concert prompts US GP schedule change

Teams have been left frustrated after the Saturday schedule for the Austin event was changed to encourage more people to stay at the venue for the evening's concert.

The FP3 session will run as normal, from 11:00 to 12:00. However, the usual two-hour gap before qualifying has been extended to four hours, with the session now running from 16:00 to 17:00.

The FIA was asked to change the schedule by new bosses in an attempt to make more people stay for that night's concert – although equally it could encourage music fans who were only planning to attend the show to come early and see the F1 cars in action for the first time.

The change was discussed in Thursday's team managers' meeting in Baku.

Teams are frustrated because the change will disrupt a routine that has hitherto been set in stone.

It extends the working day of crew members, ensuring that they will finish two hours later than normal, but without the benefit of a late start that comes with night race schedules and so on.

Saturday is the one evening when mechanics do get some time off, as the cars go into parc ferme.

There's also a concern that better resourced teams will take advantage of the longer gap by planning changes of parts that they wouldn't normally be able to do in the two-hour gap.

However, the bigger picture is that teams are concerned that the change sets a precedent, and that there may be further requests from F1 in the future for similar reasons, and which might have a bigger impact on their workloads.

The change also impacts TV schedules, with qualifying now starting at 21:00 GMT.

Fan boost

Austin chiefs had been pushing for such a change to the schedule for several years, as they believed attracting music fans to watch F1 action could help lift interest in the racing.

Bobby Epstein, COTA's CEO and founder, said: "To be clear, Justin Timberlake nor any element of his concert performance prompted the change of time for qualifying sessions.

"The request to hold qualifying two hours later in the day was made by us to allow for a closer connection in the overall programming and provide a unique opportunity for music fans to experience and share in the excitement and drama of Formula 1 racing. All three day tickets to race weekend include access to the two major concerts planned."

shares
comments
Bottas says "uncomfortable" situation feels normal to him
Previous article

Bottas says "uncomfortable" situation feels normal to him

Next article

Haas to use 'spotters' in Baku qualifying

Haas to use 'spotters' in Baku qualifying
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021