How Long Is A Formula 1 Race?

Editorial credit: Natursports / Shutterstock.com

All the race tracks on the Formula 1 calendar have a different amount of laps that the cars must complete.  This can be confusing to someone just getting into the sport, as they will not understand why each race is different.  Let’s find out how long is an F1 race!

A Formula 1 race must cover a minimum distance of 190 miles and must not exceed two hours of racing. The number of laps at an F1 circuit multiplied by the length of the track must equal the minimum distance. If there are any stoppages during the race, 1 extra hour may be added to the total time.

Read on to discover the longest, shortest, and most distance covered in a Formula 1 race.

The Total Distance Of An F1 Race

The minimum distance of an F1 race is 190 miles.  A race is completed when the minimum number of laps is completed to reach the minimum distance.  For example, one lap of the Suzuka race circuit is 3.6 miles long, and the cars race over 53 laps to reach the 190 miles minimum. (3.5 x 53 =190.8).

There is an exclusion to this rule for the Monaco street circuit.  The rule for this track sets the minimum race distance at 161 miles.  This is due to the circuit’s long lap times and keeping the race under two hours.

The Total Duration Of An F1 Race

The Formula 1 rules state that the race may not exceed two hours of race time.  In the event of race stoppages due to an accident or unsafe conditions, the total time is extended to three hours.  When the race is restarted, the cars will race till the total time is reached or till all laps are completed, whichever comes first. 

RaceCircuitLapsCircuit LengthRace Distance
Australian Grand PrixMelbourne Grand Prix Circuit583.29190.82
Bahrain Grand PrixBahrain International Circuit573.36191.52
Chinese Grand PrixShanghai International Circuit563.45193.20
Azerbaijan Grand PrixBaku City Circuit513.73190.23
Spanish Grand PrixCircuit de Barcelona-Catalunya662.89190.74
Monaco Grand PrixCircuit de Monaco782.07161.46
Canadian Grand PrixCircuit Gilles Villeneuve702.72190.40
French Grand PrixCircuit Paul Ricard573.63191.52
Austrian Grand PrixRed Bull Ring712.68190.28
British Grand PrixSilverstone Circuit523.66190.32
Hungarian Grand PrixHungaroring702.72190.40
Belgian Grand PrixCircuit de Spa-Francorchamps444.35191.4
Dutch Grand PrixZandvoort722.65190.80
Italian Grand PrixAutodromo Nazionale di Monza533.59190.27
Singapore Grand PrixMarina Bay Street Circuit613.14191.54
Russian Grand PrixSochi Autodrom533.63192.39
Japanese Grand PrixSuzuka533.61191.33
Mexican Grand PrixAutodromo Hermanos Rodiquez712.68190.28
USA Grand PrixCircuit of the Americas563.43192.08
Brazilian Grand PrixAutodromo Jose Carlos Pace712.68190.28
Saudi Arabia Grand PrixJeddah Street Circuit503.84192.00
Abu Dhabi Grand PrixYas Marina Circuit553.46190.30
Miami Grand PrixHard Rock Stadium Circuit573.36191.52

The Shortest Races In F1 History

F1 has had its fair share of unusual events throughout the years, but a few races have stood out.  The shortest F1 races in terms of time duration are:

The 2005 Italian Grand Prix – 01:14:28

The 2005 Italian Grand Prix held at Monza was won by Juan Pablo Montoya in the McLaren in 1 hour, 14 minutes, and 28 seconds.  Montoya started in pole position and led the whole race.  The second McLaren, driven by Kimi Räikkönen, set the fasted time in qualifying and was given a 10 place grid penalty due to an engine change.

Renault drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella took second and third positions.  The race also saw all 20 entrants finish the race, which was last accomplished in the 1961 Dutch Grand Prix.

The 2003 Italian Grand Prix – 01:14:19

Michael Schumacher won the 2003 Italian Grand Prix held at Monza in 1 hour, 14 minutes, and 19 seconds in the Ferrari.  The German managed an average speed of 153.8 mph for the race.  Juan Pablo Montoya placed second in the Williams, and fellow Ferrari driver Ruben Barrichello finished third.

The 2001 Belgian Grand Prix – 01:08:05

The 2001 Belgian Grand Prix saw the race distance reduced by 4 laps due to a massive crash.  The accident was between Eddie Irvine in the Jaguar and Luciano Burti in the Prost.  Burti lost his front wing when the two cars touched, causing him to slam into the barrier at Blanchimont corner at 150mph.

The race restarted but was reduced to 36 laps, and the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher took the win in 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 5 seconds.  Schumacher also broke Alan Prost’s record for most career wins by winning his 52nd race.

The 1978 Italian Grand Prix – 01:07:04

The 1978 Italian Grand Prix was marred by the death of Sweden’s Ronnie Peterson.  Peterson’s Lotus was hit from behind by James Hunt in the McLaren.  The impact sent the Lotus crashing into the barriers and bursting into flames.  During the crash, Peterson suffered severe leg injuries but later passed away in the hospital due to kidney failure.  The race restarted but was reduced from 52 to 40 laps.

The race winner was Niki Lauda in the Brabham, completing the race in 1 hour, 7 minutes, and 4 seconds.  Lauda’s teammate John Watson finished second, with the Ferrari of Carlos Reutermann finishing third.

The 1984 Monaco Grand Prix – 01:01:07

The 1984 Monaco Grand Prix was delayed for 45 minutes due to heavy rain at the circuit.  The race was started with Alan Prost in the Williams on pole position.  The rain intensified during the race, and on lap 32, the red flag was waved to stop the race.

The decision to stop the race will remain very controversial as Ayrton Senna in the Toleman was quickly catching up to the first placed Prost.  The red flag was waved just as Senna passed Prost to take the lead.  The rules state that the race classification will be taken from the last lap before the red flag is waved, thus placing Senna in second place.  Prost took the win in 1 hour, 1 minute, and 7 seconds.

The 1975 Austrian Grand Prix – 00:57:56

The 1975 Austrian F1 Grand Prix was held at the Osterreichring, now known as the Red Bull Ring.  Heavy rain postponed the start of the race by 45 minutes, with the Ferrari of Niki Lauda on pole position.  The rain intensified during the race, and it was eventually a red flag on lap 29 out of 55.

The red flag gave March drive Vittorio Brambilla his first and only win of his career.  He finished the race in 57 minutes and 56 seconds.

The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix – 00:55:30

The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix was held at the Sepang International Circuit.  The race started in dry conditions, but by lap 19, the rain began to fall.  At the start of the 31st lap, the rain became a torrential downpour causing Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Buemi to spin out of the race even though they were on wet tires.

The race was finally stopped on lap 33.  The race classifications were taken from the end of lap 31, placing Jenson Button in first place.  He completed the race in 55 minutes and 30 seconds.

The 1975 Spanish Grand Prix – 00:42:53

The 1975 Spanish F1 Grand Prix was held at the Montjuic Circuit near Barcelona and saw the McLaren of Jochen Mass win the race.  Mass completed the race in 42 minutes and 53 seconds.  The 1975 Spanish Grand Prix will be remembered for the tragic death of racing driver Rolf Stommelen.

Rolf Stommelen’s rear wing broke off his Embassy Racing F1 car, sending the car into the barriers.  The impact from the barriers forced the car back on the track where Carlos Pace in the Brabham could not avoid colliding with the wreckage.  The accident sent shrapnel into the crowd killing four spectators.

The 1975 Spanish Grand Prix became the circuit where Lella Lombardi became the first female Formula 1 driver to score World Championship points.  She finished in sixth place driving her March-Ford.

The 1991 Australian Grand Prix – 00:24:34

The 1991 Australian Grand Prix started in very wet conditions.  The cars battled to get off the starting line in the wet.  The conditions worsened considerably in the torrential downpour, but luckily no incident was on track.  The red flag was waved at the beginning of lap 16, stopping the race.  The race positions were taken from the end of the 14th lap.

This gave Ayrton Senna the win in the final race of the 1991 season and declared him World Champion for the third time.  Senna completed the race in 24 minutes and 34 seconds.

2021 Belgian Grand Prix – 00:03:27

The 2021 Belgian Grand Prix may go down in the history books as the shortest F1 Grand Prix of all time.  The race was called off after just three laps behind the safety car.  The rain and mist made visibility very hard, and the race was declared unsafe.

The race winner was Max Verstappen, who was in pole position at the start of the race.  The Red Bull driver completed the race in a staggering 3 minutes and 27 seconds.  George Russell started in the second position and thus managed his first-ever points in formula 1.

Editorial credit: cristiano barni / Shutterstock.com

The Longest Formula 1 Race

The longest Formula 1 race with no stoppages was the 1954 German Grand Prix.  The race was held at the renowned Nurburgring; the 17.56-mile long circuit was much longer than the track we know today.  Juan Manuel Fangio drove 22 laps of the track in his Maserati and completed the race in 3 hours and 45 minutes.

The 2017 Singapore Grand Prix is the longest race in modern times to not feature a red flag.  The race was scheduled for 61 laps of the Marina Bay street circuit, but only 58 laps were completed before the two-hour cut-off time.  The race was won by Sir Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes in 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

The Longest Race Distance In Formula 1

Before there were any major rules for the distance of a formula 1 race, it was based on the endurance of the cars and drivers.  The 1951 French Grand Prix had the drivers race a total distance of 374 miles.  This was done over 77 laps of the 5.13-mile Reims-Gueux Circuit.

The race was won by Luigi Fagioli and Juan Manuel Fangio, sharing the race responsibility in their Alfa Romeo F1 race car.  The distance was covered in 3 hours, 22 minutes, and 11 seconds.

The Longest F1 Race Duration

The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix holds the record for the longest Formula 1 race with stoppages.  The race took 4 hours and 4 minutes to complete, including all the stoppages and safety car periods.  The race features six safety car periods and a race suspension of over 2 hours due to heavy rain conditions.

Jenson Button won the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with an average speed of 46.51mph.  This is the slowest speed at which a Formula 1 Grand Prix has ever been won.

The Shortest Distance Covered In A Full F1 Race

The shortest distance for a full distance Formula 1 race was the 1983 Detroit Grand Prix.  The race was scheduled for 60 laps of the 2.56-mile circuit.  The total distance of the race was 153.6 miles, and it took 1 hour, 50 minutes, and 53 seconds to complete.

The winner of the race was Michele Alboreto in a Tyrrell-Ford.  The fastest lap of the race was completed in 1 minute 47 seconds by John Watson in a McLaren-Ford on lap 55.

Conclusion

The minimum distance of a Formula 1 race is 190 miles, and the race may not exceed two hours in length.  There is one exclusion to the rule for minimal distance; this is for the Monaco Grand Prix.  The Monaco Grand Prix has a reduced distance of 161 miles due to the long lap time of the circuit.

Throughout F1 history, many Grand Prixs have exceeded the distance and time rules.  The shortest F1 race was the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix which took just over three minutes to complete.  Then there is the longest F1 race of all time, the 374 miles long 1951 French Grand Prix.

No matter the distance or the time a Formula 1 Grand Prix takes to complete, the F1 fans will always be there to support their favorite F1 team.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Detroit_Grand_Prix

https://motorsporttickets.com/blog/how-many-laps-does-each-formula-1-race-have/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_One_racing

Similar Posts