F1 start time hints at Supercars Melbourne schedule

Formula 1's race start time allows us to predict Supercars' Melbourne track schedule

Formula 1’s race start time allows us to predict Supercars’ Melbourne track schedule

The release of session times for the 2023 Formula 1 season offers the opportunity to forecast Supercars’ track schedule at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The top tier of local racing will be the third rung of the support programme in Albert Park next year with Formula 2 and Formula 3 set to make their debut at the event.

Both F1 feeder categories operate to a standard weekend format, with a practice session on Friday leading into qualifying.

Two races then follow, with a Sprint encounter on Saturday before the Feature race on Sunday.

As both championships have world-feed television requirements, as does Formula 1, we can roughly position those on the schedule.

Supercars and Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, the other support category set to race in Melbourne, can then be worked into the gaps in the schedule.

While far from gospel, the exercise does suggest there is sufficient time in the programme for meaningful Supercars racing, with four races a very realistic possibility.

However, it looks set to mean a rejigged format, with Qualifying logically taking place on Thursday when track time is at less of a premium.

There is, hypothetically, a window of opportunity on Saturday morning for a rapid-fire back-to-back Qualifying hit out for the weekend’s latter two races.

However, it would be early as the track would need to be vacated by about 10:00.

With the stated aim to squeeze a Carrera Cup race in that day too, it makes for an earlier start.

Instead, running all Supercars Qualifying on Thursday makes for a more relaxed Friday morning, and the potential for organisers to sell that early track time to a car club or manufacturer.

That would allow Carrera Cup a more leisurely start with Supercars’ third race sandwiched between Formula 1 Free Practice 3 and Qualifying.

A busy Sunday schedule has little room, with the final Supercars race likely to be shoehorned in after the Formula 2 Feature race.

That would leave little scope for a Carrera Cup session on race day.

Of course, this is little more than a thought experiment, based on the information released by the FIA and reversed engineered based on the known requirements of Formula 2 and Formula 3.

Timings are almost certain to be different, but it offers an early indication of what the 2023 Australian Grand Prix will look like from a schedule standpoint given the addition of the international feeder classes and how that impacts Supercars in Melbourne.

Next year’s Australian Grand Prix runs from March 30 to April 2, with tickets for Saturday and Sunday already sold out.

Speedcafe.com’s hypothetical Australian Grand Prix schedule

Thursday, March 30
10:00 – 10:30 Supercars Practice
10:50 – 11:10 Carrera Cup Practice
12:20 – 12:30 Supercars Qualifying 1
12:40 – 12:50 Supercars Qualifying 2
13:30 – 13:50 Carrera Cup Qualifying
14:30 – 14:40 Supercars Qualifying 3
14:50 – 17:00 Supercars Qualifying 4
15:30 – 15:50 Carrera Cup Race 1
16:05 – 17:00 Supercars Race 1
Friday, March 31
08:55 – 09:40 Formula 3 Practice
10:05 – 10:50 Formula 2 Practice
11:10 – 11:30 Carrera Cup Race 2
12:30 – 13:30 Formula 1 Free Practice 1
14:00 – 14:30 Formula 3 Qualifying
15:00 – 15:30 Formula 2 Qualifying
16:00 – 17:00 Formula 1 Free Practice 2
17:20 – 18:10 Supercars Race 2
18:35 – 18:55 Carrera Cup Race 3
Saturday, April 1
09:30 – 0950 Carrera Cup Race 4
10:35 – 11:15 Formula 3 Sprint Race
12:30 – 13:30 Formula 1 Free Practice 3
14:00 – 14:50 Supercars Race 3
16:00 – 17:00 Formula 1 Qualifying
18:00 – 18:45 Formula 2 Sprint Race
Sunday, April 2
08:45 – 09:30 Formula 3 Feature Race
10:20 – 11:20 Formula 2 Feature Race
11:40 – 12:30 Supercars Race 4
13:00 – 13:30 Formula 1 Driver Parade
15:00 Formula 1 Race

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