File picture: Lai Seng Sin / Reuters.

After having controversially dropped grid girls from the world championship, Formula One chiefs axed another long-standing tradition on Thursday - the 2pm start time.

From this year, races will start 10 minutes later while the European and Brazilian Grands Prix will begin an hour later than in previous years, said Liberty Media.

"Some broadcasters usually go on air precisely on the hour, hence missing the tension and emotion that characterise the minutes before the start of each Grand Prix," said a statement.

"Thanks to this change, television viewers will be brought closer to the teams and the drivers and fully enjoy the spectacle offered just before the red lights go out.

"The second change is to the European and Brazilian race weekends. Research has indicated that a wider TV audience is reachable later in the afternoons, especially in the summer months. 

"Consequently, it has been decided to move the schedule of every session back by one hour across the whole weekend for each of the above-mentioned Grands Prix."

The new Formula One season begins on March 25 with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Agence France-Presse