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The 21-race Formula One draft calendar has been revealed but is subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council when it meets on October 12 … with an early date planned for the weekend F1 extravaganza in Bahrain.
The order of races is otherwise very similar to this year’s apart from the Chinese GP effectively swapping places with Bahrain and becoming the third destination on the circuit rather than the second. The race in Shanghai will be the 1,000th grand prix since F1′s inception in 1950.
The season will begin with the Australian GP in Melbourne on March 17 before the F1 circus arrives in the kingdom for the race on March 31. Brazil is set to stage the penultimate race on November 17 with the season’s annual conclusion taking place in neighbouring Abu Dhabi on December 1.
The calendar also includes races in Germany and Japan. The German GP was scrapped in 2017 but was reintroduced in July and Mercedes-Benz will be the title sponsor for next year’s race. And, F1 also renewed its agreement with the promoter of the Japanese GP for a further three years, until 2021.
Not everyone, however, is pleased with the potential line-up of dates. Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has lambasted Formula One bosses for their ‘infamous indifference’ toward motor sport fans after the draft calendar for 2019 was revealed.
The schedule would flip the traditional autumn pairing of the races in Austin and Mexico City, putting the Mexican Grand Prix first for the first time.
Pushing the US Grand Prix back a week to November 3 would conflict with NASCAR’s play-off race on the same day at Texas Motor Speedway, about a three-hour drive north of the Circuit of the Americas. A similar scenario happened in 2014.
“Shame on Formula One for doing this to the fans,” Gossage said. “Fans have recognised this as the NASCAR date on this weekend since its inception long before Circuit of the Americas was built.
“I would think a lot of fans – myself included – would enjoy going to both races. Now Formula One is making fans choose only one. Yet another bad call by Formula One showing their infamous indifference toward the fans.”
Circuit of the Americas President Bobby Epstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mexico City race organisers’ are also likely to be unhappy as the Mexican GP would be on October 27, several days ahead of its national Dia de los Muertos holiday celebrations, despite their desire to link the two events.