F1: 2023 Australian Grand Prix – UK start time, how to watch

Formula 1 heads ‘down under’ to the glorious Albert Park for the third round of the 2023 season. Here is the start time and all the other details you need to catch the Australian Grand Prix.

The first two rounds have seen Red Bull maintain their stranglehold at the top of both championships. Max Verstappen won the season opener in Bahrain, whereas teammate Sergio Perez took the chequered flag in Saudi Arabia.

In Melbourne, the reigning team champions will look to exorcise some demons from last year. Max Verstappen retired from the 2022 race in Australia whilst battling for the lead with Charles Leclerc.

Thanks to the Dutchman’s misfortune, Leclerc was able to cruise to victory ahead of Perez and George Russell.

However, this looks like an unlikely scenario for the Ferrari man. Red Bull are clearly the quickest, with Aston Martin a podium contender now, too.

Elsewhere on the grid, McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri will be racing his first Grand Prix in front of a home crowd. The Australian will hope for an improved showing compared to the first two rounds after a difficult start to 2023.

So, what time does all the Australian Grand Prix action start, then?

Australian Grand Prix: early start time for UK viewers

As this is a daytime race held on the other side of the globe, the Australian Grand Prix has a start time that is not so kind to British F1 fans.

The 20-strong field will go racing around Albert Park at 6am UK time on Sunday 2 April. It is therefore a pretty early start for those in Europe.

Similarly, qualifying will run at the same time the day before. So, the session to decide the grid starts at 6am on Saturday 1 April. A few hours prior, the die-hard Formula 1 watchers may be tempted to try and watch FP3, which is at 2:30am.

The on-track running starts with the traditional pair of practice sessions on Friday (31 March). FP1 is at 2.30am, with FP2 at 6am.

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How can I watch round three of the 2023 season?

Sky Sports’ coverage of the entire weekend begins with the Friday practice sessions. They will be available in their entirety on the broadcaster’s designated F1 channel. In addition, the second half of FP1 and the whole of FP2 are on Sky Sports Main Event.

Also airing on both Main Event and the F1 channel is qualifying, with coverage starting from 5.15am. Sky will run extended highlights of qualifying throughout Saturday as well if you don’t want to get up early.

Finally, Live coverage of the Grand Prix is on both channels from 4.30am – well before lights out. The broadcaster have kindly put on a race replay at 9.30am, too. So, provided that you can avoid the result for a little while, you can see the Australian Grand Prix without having to suffer the early start time.

As ever, Sky Sports channels do require a subscription, which incurs a cost.

What is the circuit like?

Following some layout adjustments for 2022, the track in Melbourne is one of the faster circuits on the calendar. There are numerous medium-to-high-speed corners where a strong chassis will be paramount to success.

However, drivers have to be wary that the surface is not as smooth as a traditional race track. Due to its partial street circuit status, Albert Park can make for a bumpy ride in places – especially in this ground-effect aero era of F1.

The Australian GP circuit also boasts a staggering four DRS zones. Because of this, there should be ample opportunity for drivers to make overtakes throughout the race.

Some traditional favourite overtaking spots are down into the heavy braking zone at turn 3, or into the reconfigured Ascari corner. Both of these are at the end of DRS sections, making them prime spots to make a pass.

Featured image credit: Getty