F1 changes Imola GP schedule to avoid Prince Philip funeral clash
The Duke of Edinburgh died at the age of 99 last Friday, with the British Royal funeral taking place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor on 3pm this Saturday.
In line with multiple other sports, F1 and the FIA has confirmed the Emilia Romagna GP schedule will be altered “out of respect” to avoid running at the same time as the funeral.
Qualifying for the Emilia Romagna GP will now start at 2pm CET (1pm BST), one hour earlier than previously scheduled.
As a result, the Saturday morning third practice session at Imola has also been moved forward, starting 11am CET (10am BST) to comply to F1 regulations to provide a two-hour gap between FP3 and qualifying.
The changes have created a minor change to Friday’s schedule, with FP1 moved to start 30 minutes earlier at 11am CET (10am BST) and FP2 will begin at 2.30pm CET (1.30pm BST).
This has been done to ensure the two Friday sessions are separated by at least two-and-a-half hours and FP3 starting at no less than 19 hours after the end of FP2, as per the regulations.
All practice and qualifying session lengths and formats remain unchanged.
A minute’s silence will also be held ahead of qualifying at Imola to provide F1 with “an opportunity for people to show their respects”.
The Sunday schedule for the Emilia Romagna GP remains unchanged, with the second race of the 2021 F1 world championship season starting at 3pm CET (2pm BST).
Following the death of Prince Philip last Friday, F1 teams and key figures paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.
“The whole of Formula 1 wishes to pay tribute to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, who dedicated his whole life to Great Britain and served his country with pride and devotion,” a statement from F1 read.
Across the United Kingdom the majority of other sports are also altering their schedules out of respect for the Royal funeral, with all football matches moved from the traditional 3pm kick-off time, while similar tweaks have been made to rugby union and cricket fixtures.