Why is F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on a Saturday?

Why is F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on a Saturday?
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Formula 1 returned last weekend with the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after a drama-filled off-season which saw Lewis Hamilton announce his departure from Mercedes and the scandal surrounding Red Bull team principal Christian Horner continue into overdrive.

As the Horner controversy rumbles on, F1 switched attention back to the track as Max Verstappen cruises to a first grand prix victory of the season in Bahrain.

Pre-season testing and the season-opener in Bahrain proved that Red Bull will once again be the team to beat with Verstappen targeting a fourth-straight drivers’ championship. Their closest rivals seem to be Ferrari, who Hamilton is joining for 2025, after Carlos Sainz sealed third place behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

Mercedes and McLaren were the next best of the rest, sealing positions fifth to eighth, while Aston Martin secured ninth and tenth for three championship points in a race where all 20 drivers finished. Will it happen twice in a row, though, ahead of this weekend in Jeddah?

Here is everything you need to know:

Why is the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on a Saturday?

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan starts on Sunday 10 March, when the second race of the season in Saudi Arabia would have usually taken place.

To avoid a clash, the race in Jeddah has been brought forward by one day, to Saturday 9 March.

As FIA rules dictate, there must be at least seven days between races, which is why the Bahrain GP had a Saturday slot too.

The first two races being held on a Saturday means there will be three out of the record-breaking 24 races held a day earlier than usual in 2024, with Las Vegas set for a Saturday night lights out too.

Saturday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will start at 5pm (GMT).

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place this Saturday (Getty Images)
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place this Saturday (Getty Images)

How can I watch it online and on TV?

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom - and ESPN in the United States.

Highlights of qualifying in the UK will be aired on free-to-air Channel 4 at 8:30pm (GMT) on Friday; the race highlights are at 9:30pm (GMT) on Saturday.

What is the 2024 F1 calendar?

ROUND 2 - SAUDI ARABIA

Jeddah Corniche Circuit - 7-9 March

ROUND 3 - AUSTRALIA

Albert Park, Melbourne - 22-24 March

ROUND 4 - JAPAN

Suzuka International Racing Course - 5-7 April

ROUND 5 - CHINA (sprint race)

Shanghai International Circuit - 19-21 April

ROUND 6 - MIAMI (sprint race)

Miami International Autodrome, Hard Rock Stadium - 3-5 May

ROUND 7 - EMILIA ROMAGNA

Imola Circuit - 17-19 May

ROUND 8 - MONACO

Circuit de Monaco - 24-26 May

ROUND 9 - CANADA

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal - 7-9 June

ROUND 10 - SPAIN

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya - 21-23 June

ROUND 11 - AUSTRIA (sprint race)

Red Bull Ring, Spielberg - 28-30 June

ROUND 12 - GREAT BRITAIN

Silverstone Circuit - 5-7 July

ROUND 13 - HUNGARY

Hungaroring, Budapest - 19-21 July

ROUND 14 - BELGIUM

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps - 26-28 July

ROUND 15 - NETHERLANDS

Circuit Zandvoort - 23-25 August

ROUND 16 - ITALY

Monza Circuit - 30 August - 1 September

ROUND 17 - AZERBAIJAN

Baku City Circuit - 13-15 September

ROUND 18 - SINGAPORE

Marina Bay Street Circuit - 20-22 September

ROUND 19 - UNITED STATES (sprint race)

Circuit of the Americas, Austin - 18-20 October

ROUND 20 - MEXICO

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City - 25-27 October

ROUND 21 - BRAZIL (sprint race)

Interlagos Circuit, Sao Paulo - 1-3 November

ROUND 22 - LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas Street Circuit - 21-23 November

ROUND 23 - QATAR (sprint race)

Lusail International Circuit, Lusail - 29 November - 1 December

ROUND 24 - ABU DHABI

Yas Marina Circuit - 6-8 December

Driver Standings

1. Max Verstappen - 26 points

2. Sergio Perez - 18 points

3. Carlos Sainz - 15 points

4. Charles Leclerc - 12 points

5. George Russell - 10 points

6. Lando Norris - 8 points

7. Lewis Hamilton - 6 points

8. Oscar Piastri - 4 points

9. Fernando Alonso - 2 points

10. Lance Stroll - 1 point

11. Zhou Guanyu - 0 points

12. Kevin Magnussen - 0 points

13. Daniel Ricciardo - 0 points

14. Yuki Tsunoda - 0 points

15. Alex Albon - 0 points

16. Nico Hulkenberg - 0 points

17. Esteban Ocon - 0 points

18. Pierre Gasly - 0 points

19. Valtteri Bottas - 0 points

20. Logan Sargeant - 0 points

Constructor Standings

1. Red Bull - 44 points

2. Ferrari - 27 points

3. Mercedes - 16 points

4. McLaren - 12 points

5. Aston Martin - 3 points

6. Kick Sauber - 0 points

7. Haas - 0 points

8. RB - 0 points

9. Williams - 0 points

10. Alpine - 0 points