Formula One: Marina Bay, Sepang F1 races to swop

The Singapore Grand Prix will be swopping places with its Malaysian counterpart in next year's schedule.
The Singapore Grand Prix will be swopping places with its Malaysian counterpart in next year's schedule. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS • The Formula One Singapore Grand Prix will be swopping places with its Malaysian counterpart in next year's race schedule, which was released yesterday.

Usually held two weeks after the Italian Grand Prix - the final European race - in September, F1's only full night race will instead be held on Oct 1, two weeks from the Sept 17 Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

It will be the first time in Singapore Grand Prix's history that the race is held in October, as its past nine races were raced in September.

No races are added for the 2017 season and the main changes were date shifts. The German, Canadian and Brazilian grands prix were listed as subject to confirmation on a 21-race provisional calendar.

Germany remains uncertain due to Hockenheim's stated reluctance to host a grand prix other than in alternate years and no deal with the Nurburgring. The country's race was dropped last year.

  • 2017 Formula One World Championship

  • •March 26: Australia (Melbourne)

    •April 9: China (Shanghai)

    •April 16: Bahrain (Sakhir)

    •April 30: Russia (Sochi)

    •May 14: Spain (Barcelona)

    •May 28: Monaco

    •June 11: Canada (Montreal)

    •June 18: Europe (Baku, Azerbaijan)

    •July 2: Austria (Red Bull Ring, Spielberg)

    •July 9: Britain (Silverstone)

    •July 23: Hungary (Hungaroring, Budapest)

    •July 30: Germany (Hockenheim)

    •Aug 27: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)

    •Sept 3: Italy (Monza)

    •Sept 17: Malaysia (Sepang, Kuala Lumpur)

    •Oct 1: Singapore

    •Oct 8: Japan (Suzuka)

    •Oct 22: United States (Austin)

    •Nov 5: Mexico

    •Nov 12: Brazil (Interlagos, Sao Paolo)

    •Nov 26: Abu Dhabi (UAE)

F1's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been pushing for improvements to Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, whose contract is up for renewal next year, and the Interlagos track in Sao Paulo.

Brazil is suffering its deepest economic recession in decades but local race organisers were taken aback by the development. "There is a contract in place until 2020, every provision of which will be complied with as it has been for the past 45 years," a statement read.

Melbourne hosts the opener on March 26 and the finale will be at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina on Nov 26.

F1 also moved to close an engine loophole that has allowed world champion Lewis Hamilton and other drivers to stockpile power units by taking multiple and meaningless penalties at race weekends.

The World Motor Sports Council said in a statement that, in future, only the last element fitted could be used at further events without penalty.

Mercedes driver Hamilton, who had suffered engine failures earlier in the year, took a 55-place starting grid penalty at last month's Belgian Grand Prix for exceeding his permitted allocation of engine components. There are only 22 slots on the grid, which meant the Briton started at the back but did not have to carry any of the leftover penalty places to future races.

Mercedes had fitted three new power-units beyond his permitted allocation of five, expanding his pool of engines for the final races.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2016, with the headline 'Marina Bay, Sepang F1 races to swop'. Print Edition | Subscribe