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What does interval mean in Formula 1?

The word commonly appears on the live leaderboard - but what does it mean?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Valtteri Bottas driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 on track during practice for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

F1 is very easy to get excited by, but for newcomers to the sport it can also be very easy to get confused by – given the number of new terms and phrases to learn.


A key term that might cause some degree of confusion is the term ‘interval’ which is often found on the live leaderboard during a race.

For those new to the F1 2020 calendar, RadioTimes.com is here to help you start to figure it all out.

Read on for our explainer about what the term means in the context of the sport.

What does interval mean in F1?

The word interval is normally found on the live leaderboard next to the name of the driver currently in pole position.

Underneath the word – and next to the names of the remaining drivers in the race – you’ll find a column of numbers accompanied by a plus sign, for example: +1.445.

This number denotes how far behind the car in front of them each driver currently is, measured in seconds.

For example, if the first number underneath the word interval is +1.445, this means the driver in second place is 1.445 seconds behind the current leader.

Then if the next number underneath that is +0.885, that means that the driver in third place is 0.885 seconds behind the driver in second place, and is therefore 2.33 seconds behind the driver in first place.

If the interval is less than +1.000, F1 drivers can trigger DRS to gain a speed boost in their bid to overtake those ahead of them.

Often a separate statistic is given providing these cumulative timings, under the heading ‘leader.’

So if the word leader is placed next to the driver in pole position this means the times given for every other driver denotes how far they are behind the leader, whereas if it says interval if means how far they are behind the driver directly ahead of them.

How to watch F1 on TV

All the practices, qualifiers and races are available to watch live on Sky Sports F1.

Sky customers can add individual channels for £18 a month or add the complete sports package for just £23 per month.

How to live stream F1 online

The Sky Sports day pass (£9.99) or a month pass (£33.99) allow you to watch F1 races live without signing up to a contract.

NOW TV can be streamed through a computer or apps found on most smart TVs, phones and consoles. NOW TV is also available via BT Sport.


Existing Sky Sports customers can also live stream the Grands Prix via the Sky Go app on a variety of devices.

For the full list of races, visit our F1 2020 calendar. If you’re looking for what else is on, check out our TV Guide.