Baku director unfazed by clash with Le Mans

Henry Valantine
Baku City Circuit overview. Azerbaijan GP June 2021.

A view overlooking Baku with both sides of the Baku City Circuit. Azerbaijan June 2021.

Azerbaijan GP executive director Arif Rahimov is not concerned by the crossover time which will see qualifying in Baku clash with the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday.

Baku qualifying will start at 6pm local time [3pm UK] on Saturday, which coincides with the beginning of the world-famous endurance race at the Circuit de la Sarthe – in which 12 former Formula 1 drivers are set to take part.

But because of the way the session is spread out, Rahimov believes fans will be able to have the best of both worlds, as fans will not miss the key part of each session – given that the first grid slots are only decided after 18 minutes of Q1 running in Formula 1 – but it will mean some channel-hopping to do so.

“The most important part of Le Mans is the start of the race. But then the most important part of the qualifying is the end of the qualifying,” Rahimov said to Autosport.

“So I think with that, we can have the TV audience watch both: the start of Le Mans and the end of the qualifying.”

He added that “a lot of factors” had been behind the later qualifying time, and revealed that there had not been much conversation between himself and the FIA surrounding the clash.

But the key thing from his point of view is that, for anyone wanting to watch both Le Mans and Baku, they will be able to see the most important elements of each without a clash.

“There are our internal factors here and all the other bits and pieces that we have to do on Saturday, like the F2 race,” he explained.

“So there is not usually as much choice with how to move things around time wise.

“But like I mentioned, I’d be disappointed if the start of Le Mans was clashing with the end of the qualifying. Since it’s clashing with the start, I think that will still bring all the spectators in.”

The race will start at 3pm local time on Sunday [12noon UK], which will mean the conclusion of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will not clash with the end of proceedings at Le Mans.


All eyes on Baku this weekend

Formula 1 arrives to the streets of Baku this weekend for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.