2023 Belgian Grand Prix: Start time, how to watch, and Sprint schedule

Formula 1 returns to one of its most historic and best-loved tracks this weekend – Spa-Francorchamps. Here is the start time, as well as the Sprint schedule and viewing info, for the Belgian Grand Prix.

These back-to-back race weeks mark the halfway point of the 2023 season. And, so far, there is only one man who has stamped his authority on the campaign.

Max Verstappen took his seventh win in a row last time out in Hungary to extend his championship lead to 110 points. If he wins the next two races, he will equal Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive Grand Prix victories.

Teammate Sergio Perez will be desperate to thwart the Dutchman’s streak, though. If he wants to get back in the title fight, the Mexican must start outscoring his teammate.

Elsewhere, McLaren proved that their pace at Silverstone was not just a flash in the pan. Lando Norris finished a fantastic second at the Hungaroring, with Oscar Piastri also in the top five once more. Can they take the fight to Red Bull again at Spa?

Or will Mercedes, who took pole in Hungary thanks to Lewis Hamilton, be able to challenge?

We will have to see what unfolds at Spa-Francorchamps to find out.

Belgian Grand Prix: UK start time

As this is the third Sprint weekend of 2023, the action at Spa starts on Friday 28 July with the sole practice session. This begins at 12:30pm UK time, after which Qualifying for the GP is at 4pm.

Saturday 29 July then hosts the day of Sprint race action. This kicks off with the Sprint Shootout, which determines the grid for the Sprint race, at 11am. The Sprint itself follows at 3:30pm on the same day.

Finally, the Belgian Grand Prix has a start time of 2pm on Sunday 30 July. This is the last Formula 1 racing before the summer break – so make sure you see it!

How can I watch the action at Spa in the UK?

This weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix is exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, the broadcaster’s designated channel for the sport. As ever, this requires a subscription to Sky Sports, which comes at a cost.

NOWTV also provides a method in which to watch Sky channels without Sky TV. You can buy a monthly pass, or just a one-day pass, to gain access to all Sky Sports channels across numerous devices.

However, for absolutely free, British F1 fans can watch highlights of all the Belgian GP action on Channel 4. The best bits from qualifying and Sprint Saturday are on at 7:45pm, Saturday night. Then, on the following day, Channel 4 will broadcast Belgian Grand Prix highlights with a start time of 6:30pm.

As mentioned earlier, this weekend at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps is a Sprint weekend. So, here is a quick refresher on how Sprint Saturdays work this season.

F1 Sprint: format, points, and do they impact the Grand Prix?

Thanks to new adjustments in 2023, Sprints are now effectively their own separate session within an F1 weekend.

This starts with Sprint Shootout, which determines the grid for the short-distance race. There are three sessions to this – as is the case with traditional qualifying – where five drivers are eliminated in the first two sessions before a top-10 shootout.

However, the cars have restrictions on which tyres they can use. If it is dry, then the drivers must use the medium compound in SQ1 and SQ2. They can only use softs if they reach SQ3, which determines the top 10.

Once the grid is sorted, the Sprint Race follows on the same day. Only the top eight receive points at the chequered flag, which run as follows:

1st = 8 points

2nd = 7 points

3rd = 6 points

4th = 5 points

5th = 4 points

6th = 3 points

7th = 2 points

8th = 1 point

It is also worth noting that there is no bonus point for the fastest lap.

So, do these results have any impact on the Grand Prix on the same weekend? No, they do not. Saturday’s Sprint action is independent of Sunday’s race.

The qualifying session on Friday determines the grid for Sunday. Therefore, the result of the Sprint does not change the starting order for the GP. But it must be said that any grid penalties incurred during the Sprint race will apply to the Grand Prix.

The Sprints will always provide some extra action on a race weekend. This is the case for the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix – but don’t forget Sunday’s full race has a UK start time of 2pm.

Featured image credit: Getty