The 2016 Formula 1 World Championship season will start later in the year, after Australian Grand Prix organisers today announced that the season-opening race in Melbourne is confirmed to run on the first weekend of April.
“It’s fantastic that Melbourne will again play host to the opening round of the Formula 1 World Championship,” said Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott.
“Over the past 20 years Melbourne has become synonymous with the start of a new Formula 1 season, and we look forward to again welcoming all the teams and drivers to our great city in 2016.
“The new date will see an earlier start time, and fans can expect the same great on-track action and off-track entertainment across the four days.”
The announcement comes as something of a surprise – both in its timing and detail – although it is good news for the series’ fans and teams. The 58-lap race will have an earlier start time as the Australian summer Daylight Savings Time will have ended, while the later calendar timing itself gives a strong indication that the FIA and Formula One Management will seek to condense the calendar.
This year’s schedule attracted plenty of criticism for the fortnightly scheduling of a number of flyaway races, forcing many teams – and long-suffering members of the media – with the unenviable choice of commuting back and forth to Europe or remaining in the region twiddling their thumbs in between races.
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team