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How Many Laps Do F1 Races Have?


Typically, an F1 race consists of a predetermined number of laps that make up the Grand Prix. The number of laps in each race is not fixed, as it depends upon the length of each circuit. According to the regulations set by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body for Formula One, the total distance of an F1 race should not exceed 305 kilometers (excluding Monaco, where the race distance is about 260 kilometers), with an additional lap after reaching this distance. 

Therefore, a Grand Prix on a longer circuit will have fewer laps, while a Grand Prix on a shorter circuit will have more. For example, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, one of the longest in the F1 calendar, requires 44 laps to complete a race, whereas the shorter Monaco Grand Prix consists of 78 laps. The total number of laps in the F1 season will thus vary from year to year based on the number and layout of the circuits where the Grand Prix events are held.

What Are Laps in F1?

In Formula One racing, a ‘lap’ refers to one complete circuit around the track by a driver. Each F1 race is divided into a specific number of laps, with the race’s total distance being the product of the number of laps and the length of the circuit. The lap count starts once the race officially begins, and each time a driver crosses the start-finish line, they have completed one lap.

Laps are crucial in F1 races as they determine the total distance of the race and play a critical role in race strategies. For instance, when to pit for new tires or fuel is often made based on lap counts. Moreover, the fastest lap— the quickest single circuit completed during the race— can earn a driver additional points in the championship.

How Many Laps Does Each Formula 1 Race Have?

As previously mentioned, the number of laps in each Formula 1 race varies depending on the length of the circuit. The FIA stipulates that the total race distance should be 305 kilometers. To illustrate, here are two Grand Prix races: the Australian Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix. 

The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, where the Australian Grand Prix is held, is about 5.3 kilometers long. To reach the target race distance of approximately 305 kilometers, drivers must complete around 58 laps. 

On the other hand, the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which hosts the Singapore Grand Prix, is approximately 5.06 kilometers long. The race is run at night under artificial lighting and is one of the longest in terms of duration. This circuit requires about 61 laps to meet the required race distance. 

The exact number of laps in each F1 race is determined by dividing the target race distance (305km) by the length of each circuit. This means the number of laps can vary significantly from race to race.

Differences in the Number of Laps

The differences in the number of laps in an F1 race mainly stem from the varying lengths of the circuits where the races occur. Since the total race distance is around 305 kilometers (except for Monaco) per FIA regulations, the number of laps adjusts based on the length of the track. 

For instance, the Monza track in Italy, known for its high-speed straights, is one of the quickest circuits on the F1 calendar, with a length of approximately 5.79 kilometers. The race consists of roughly 53 laps to reach the designated race distance. Conversely, the Circuit of the Americas in the United States, with a longer track length of about 5.51 kilometers, requires around 56 laps to fulfill the same race distance. 

Moreover, the circuit’s characteristics (like the number of corners, elevation changes, and straight lengths) can also influence the time to complete a lap. However, they don’t directly impact the number of laps in the race.

In summary, the number of laps in an F1 race varies from Grand Prix to Grand Prix, reflecting the diverse challenges and demands that different circuits present to the drivers. This variable format not only maintains the total race distance across different circuits but also adds to the complexity and excitement of the championship.

How Long Does an F1 Race Last?

An F1 race typically lasts around 90 minutes to 2 hours, but this can vary depending on several factors. The FIA regulations stipulate that a Formula 1 race should not exceed 2 hours under normal circumstances. However, race duration can be extended if interruptions like safety car periods, adverse weather conditions, or if the race is red-flagged and subsequently restarted. If a race is suspended and cannot be restarted, it is deemed to have ended when the leading car crossed the finish line at the end of the lap two laps before that, during which the signal to suspend the race was given.

Moreover, in the event of a long delay, the two-hour rule might be extended to three hours. Each race begins with a warm-up lap, known as the formation lap, where the cars are driven from the grid to the start line. The duration of an F1 race also depends on the circuit’s length, the number of laps, and the average speed of the cars.

The Two-Hour Rule in F1

The two-hour rule is a significant regulation in Formula 1 races instituted by the FIA. According to this rule, a Formula 1 race should not exceed two hours under normal circumstances, regardless of the number of laps. The regulation is designed with safety considerations in mind to ensure the physical well-being of the drivers who are racing at intense speed and concentration levels. 

When the race clock starts, the two-hour countdown begins. If a race faces interruptions such as safety car periods or adverse weather conditions leading to a red flag, the race clock continues to run. However, the clock stops if the race has to be suspended for a lengthy period. The race must then be restarted, but it can, at most, total four hours, including the time before the suspension. 

In a long delay, the usual two-hour limit might be extended to three hours, but the race must still be completed within the four-hour total window. This ensures that races stay intact, causing potential physical strain on the drivers and operational challenges for teams and race organizers.

What Are The Rules About Race Distances?

The FIA formulated and regulated the rules governing race distances in Formula 1. As per the FIA’s regulations, the total distance of an F1 race should not exceed 305 kilometers, except for the Monaco Grand Prix, which is approximately 260 kilometers. This is equivalent to the longest distance that can be covered within a maximum of two hours, the standard duration for an F1 race under normal conditions. 

The total race distance is the product of the circuit length and the defined number of laps. The number of laps in each race is determined by dividing the total distance (305km) by the length of that specific circuit. Hence, the number of laps can vary significantly from race to race due to different circuit lengths.

Maintaining the total race distance of around 305 kilometers for most races ensures that the physical demands on the drivers and the cars remain consistent across different circuits. The only exception to the rule is the Monaco Grand Prix due to its unique nature and historical significance.

However, these rules can be subject to exceptions in case of interruptions, such as extreme weather conditions or safety concerns, which can lead to a race being called off after 75 percent of the race distance has been covered. In this case, full points are still awarded to the drivers. In summary, race distances in Formula 1 are balancing acts between ensuring driver safety, equal competition, and thrilling action for fans.

What is the Shortest Grand Prix Race?

The distinction of hosting the shortest Grand Prix race in terms of distance goes to the Monaco Grand Prix. Situated on the picturesque streets of Monte Carlo, the Monaco Grand Prix is an iconic race in the Formula 1 calendar. The circuit’s length is approximately 3.34 kilometers, notably smaller than other F1 tracks. As per the rules of the FIA, the total race distance for the Monaco Grand Prix is about 260 kilometers, shorter than the standard 305 kilometers for most other races.

To cover this distance, the race consists of 78 laps. Despite its shorter length, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most challenging and exciting races, given the narrow roads, tight corners, and elevation changes, which test the drivers’ skills to the maximum.

What is the Longest F1 Race?

The longest F1 race in terms of duration is the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. This epic race, which took place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, is renowned for its unpredictable weather and thrilling action. The inclement weather conditions on the day led to a significant delay in proceedings, and the race was interrupted by the safety car a record six times. 

The total duration of the race was 4 hours, 4 minutes, and 39.537 seconds, making it the longest Grand Prix event in F1 history. Despite the challenging conditions, Jenson Button, who was driving for McLaren, emerged victorious, having been last at one point in the race. In terms of distance, however, the longest F1 race is typically the Grand Prix, which requires the most laps to reach the standard race distance of 305km, which may vary from year to year depending on the track layouts on the F1 calendar.


In summary, the number of laps in a Formula 1 (F1) race is primarily determined by the length of the circuit and the FIA regulations, which stipulate a total race distance of approximately 305 kilometers (except for the Monaco Grand Prix, where the distance is about 260 kilometers). This means that races on longer circuits will have fewer laps, while those on shorter circuits will have more. The total number of laps in a season can thus vary, reflecting the diversity of the circuits included in the F1 calendar.

While the number of laps is a crucial aspect of race strategy, it is also influenced by factors such as weather conditions and the physical demands of the drivers. With the longest race based on duration being the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix and the shortest distance being the Monaco Grand Prix, F1 racing encompasses many challenges and experiences.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the number of laps in F1 races:

How many laps do you get to qualify in F1?

The qualifying session in Formula 1 is a key aspect of each Grand Prix weekend. During this session, the race’s starting grid is decided. The qualifying session, which takes place the day before the race, is divided into Q1, Q2, and Q3.

Q1 lasts 18 minutes, during which all drivers may complete as many laps as they wish. At the end of Q1, the five drivers with the slowest times are eliminated, and their positions on the starting grid are set from 16th to 20th, depending on their times.

Q2 is 15 minutes long, with the remaining 15 drivers again allowed to complete as many laps as they want. The five slowest drivers from Q2 are eliminated, and their grid positions are set from 11th to 15th.

Finally, Q3 lasts 12 minutes and features the ten fastest drivers from Q2. They compete for the pole position and the remaining positions in the top ten on the grid. Again, drivers can complete as many laps as they wish in these 12 minutes.

It’s essential to note that the number of laps a driver completes during qualifying depends on many factors, including their strategy, the weather conditions, and any potential technical issues they may encounter. However, there is no limit on the number of laps a driver can complete during each qualifying session.

How are laps counted in F1?

In Formula 1, laps are counted when the driver completes one full circuit around the track from the starting line until they cross the start-finish line again. A lap is only counted if a driver completes it within two hours from the official race start time. If a race is suspended and cannot be restarted, each driver’s completed laps at the end of the last completed lap are used to determine the final race classification. 

What is the longest current F1 track?

The longest current F1 circuit is the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium, with a length of approximately 7.004 kilometers. The Spa-Francorchamps track has been part of the Formula 1 calendar since its inception in 1950 and is known for its challenging corners, high-speed straights, and unpredictable weather conditions. It also has one of the longest lap times on the F1 calendar, making it a favorite among drivers and fans alike. So, if you are ever in Belgium and want to catch a glimpse of an F1 race, head over to Spa-Francorchamps for an unforgettable experience. 

Which F1 track is the shortest?

The shortest F1 track currently in use is the Circuit de Monaco, located in the city-state of Monaco. The length of the circuit is approximately 3.34 kilometers, with a total race distance of around 260 kilometers (78 laps). Despite its short length, it remains one of the most challenging and exciting races on the Formula 1 calendar due to its narrow roads, tight corners, and unique location. The Monaco Grand Prix has been a part of the F1 calendar since 1950 and is considered one of the most prestigious races in motorsports. So, if you are ever in Monaco during May, catch the exciting action at the Circuit de Monaco.

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