The Constructors’ championship could be decided this weekend as F1 heads to Suzuka for Round 17 of the 2023 campaign. Here is the start time, as well as plenty of other useful info, for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s vice-like grip on this year’s racing finally loosened last time out in Singapore. The reigning champs’ 15-race win streak came to an end on the streets of Marina Bay thanks to Carlos Sainz. After qualifying on pole, the Ferrari ace produced a sensational drive to take his second career win.
Behind him, Lando Norris impressed once again to finish second for McLaren. Meanwhile, Mercedes had split feelings after watching George Russell crash on the last lap to miss out on P3. Fortunately, teammate Lewis Hamilton was there to pick up the last podium spot in his place.
Now, though, the paddock’s attention turns to the legendary Suzuka circuit. Max Verstappen cannot repeat his exploits of last year and clinch the driver’s title in Japan – but his team can become Constructors’ champions once again.
Both Mercedes and Ferrari will be trying to stave off the inevitable and prolong the battle for at least another round. So, what time does all the Japanese Grand Prix action start?
Japanese Grand Prix: Start time for UK viewers
Due to the large time difference between Japan and Britain, UK Formula 1 fans need to brace themselves for some early starts this weekend.
Firstly, Friday 22 September sees FP1 open the action at 3:30am UK time. Following this, FP2 airs at a more manageable 7am on the same day.
Saturday 23 September then follows an identical timeframe. FP3 is at 3:30am, after which Qualifying sees the field head out at 7am UK time.
Finally, the Japanese Grand Prix has a start time of 6am UK on Sunday 24 September. So, stick the kettle on, brew a coffee, make a tea, whatever you need to wake yourself up – because this is an early one.
Of course, at Suzuka, these are lovely mid-afternoon times – just not for us Brits. But to be fair, these early viewing times are a rarity for European F1 fans nowadays, so I’m sure we can all get through it.
How can I watch the Japanese Grand Prix?
As ever, Sky Sports is your location for all the coverage of the F1 chaos that could ensue in Japan. The broadcaster starts the weekend with FP1 and 2 on their designated channel, Sky Sports F1.
Conversely, Saturday’s practice session and qualifying are available on both Sky Sports Main Event and Sky F1. This is also the same for the Japanese Grand Prix, with the pre-race show beginning at 4:30am on both Main Event and F1 channels before the start time of 6am.
Sky Sports requires a subscription to the broadcaster in order to watch on your TV. Meanwhile, a NOWTV Sports pass (which you can purchase for 24 hours or a monthly subscription) allows you access to Sky Sports channels across a range of devices.
But what about highlights, I hear you ask?
Well, if you do not want to wake up early, Sky is providing highlights of all the sessions on their F1 channel. This includes a race replay of the Japanese Grand Prix at 9:30am Sunday, exclusively on Sky Sports F1.
Should you want free highlights, Channel 4 will show a recap of qualifying at 11:10am on Saturday. Their highlights of the race are at 12:30pm on Sunday.
Now we know the when and where of the weekend – what does Red Bull need to do to clinch the Constructors’ title?
How Red Bull can win the 2023 Constructors’ title in Japan
The Milton Keynes-based outfit currently hold a massive 308-point advantage over the nearest challenger, Mercedes. But to be crowned champions in Japan, Red Bull need to lead the Silver Arrows by 309 points or more. This is because there are 309 points left to play for in the remaining rounds after Suzuka.
Therefore, Red Bull must do two things:
- Outscore Mercedes by 1 or more points at the Japanese Grand Prix
- Not let Ferrari outscore them by 24 points or more
The Drink-sponsored squad lead the Scuderia by 332 points at the moment. However, if Ferrari dominate, and Red Bull fail to score, then the Italians may be within that all-important 309-point mark.
In short, as long as Red Bull are 309 points or more ahead of their nearest rival after Suzuka, then they will be the 2023 Constructors’ Champions.
Make sure to tune in at the 6am start time on Sunday to see if they can do it at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Featured image credit: Getty