Formula One: 21 races pencilled in for next season, with Baku making debut as host

Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi Nov 29, 2015.
Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi Nov 29, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Paris (AFP) - The 2016 Formula One season will feature 21 races, up on the 20 this season, and will see Azerbaijani capital Baku make its bow on the schedule.

The FIA said the season will start again in Australia on March 20 and end in Abu Dhabi on Nov 27.

However, the United States Grand Prix in Austin, slated for October, remains a provisional date due to local funding issues.

The European Grand Prix in Baku may switch dates to avoid a clash with the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race running on the same June 19 weekend.

Among technical changes, the sport's tyre supplier Pirelli will provide three dry-weather compounds instead of two, with the aim of spicing up strategy over a racing weekend.