Formula One Management (FOM) has confirmed that the proposed calendar for the 2016 F1 season has been leaked.
Earlier this week, the Australian Grand Prix corporation confirmed that it would be hosting its annual race in Melbourne on April 3 2016, two weeks later than normal.
However, the AGPC said that it would remain as the opening race of the season, meaning that the 2016 campaign would get off to a later start.
A report by Autosport constructed a theoretical calendar for the 2016 season that saw a number of races change slots whilst keeping the Australian Grand Prix as the first round and the finale in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.
On Wednesday, FOM released a short statement in reaction to the calendar speculation:
“It would appear that the proposed 2016 calendar has been leaked. This calendar has not yet been approved.”
The calendar published by Autosport features 21 races, with the 19 rounds of 2015 being joined by the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim and the revived Grand Prix of Europe in Baku, Azerbaijan. The latter race is set for July 17.
Judging by this calendar, there will be more back-to-back races, with the Chinese Grand Prix becoming the second race of the year in the week following Australia. The Malaysian Grand Prix will move to a mid-September slot, going back-to-back with the Singapore Grand Prix.
The United States Grand Prix is set to remain in the same slot for 2016, being held one week before the Mexican Grand Prix towards the end of October.
FOM’s statement does confirm that the calendar put together by Autosport is very close to what is being planned for 2016, but still could be subject to change.
A condensed F1 season would give teams more time during the winter to prepare for the new season, whilst more back-to-back races could aid TV figures and keep fans interested across the course of the season.