December F1 race next year unlikely

Formula One boss Mr Bernie Ecclestone is seen in grid prior the 2015 Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at the Formula One circuit in Monza, Italy on Sept 6,  2015.
Formula One boss Mr Bernie Ecclestone is seen in grid prior the 2015 Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at the Formula One circuit in Monza, Italy on Sept 6, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON • Abu Dhabi will remain Formula One's season-ending race next year but Bernie Ecclestone has calmed fears the calendar could extend into December to create a bigger gap between Singapore and Malaysia.

"I think we can escape going into December, otherwise it's getting a bit too near Christmas," the sport's 84-year-old commercial supremo said.

The 2016 calendar remains a work in progress, with the 21-race draft version sure to see some changes before being cast in stone later in the year.

Ecclestone confirmed Malaysia was set for a new slot, yet to be decided.

Malaysia, the second round of this season, had been pencilled in as the 13th round of 2016 with a Sept 25 date, the weekend after Singapore's night Grand Prix.

While the Sepang circuit organisers had no qualms about being back-to-back with Singapore's more glamorous race, paddock reports suggested others were less enthusiastic about the proposal.

Ecclestone had suggested last week that the season, due to end in Abu Dhabi on Nov 27, could be stretched into December to keep the South-east Asian races apart.

The championship is also more condensed and will have its latest start since 1988, with the opener in Australia scheduled for April 3.

Azerbaijan is due to make its debut next year while Germany returns after a year's absence. Promoters of both said both grands prix were sure to happen.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2015, with the headline 'December F1 race next year unlikely'. Print Edition | Subscribe