WMSC announces provisional calendar for 2016 F1 season

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The World Motor Sport Council has revealed the provisional calendar for the 2016 Formula 1 season following a meeting in Mexico City this week.

The calendar features 21 races and is identical to the leaked calendar that emerged towards the end of April.

As expected, the season is set to start at the beginning of April in Australia and features more back-to-back events.

The German Grand Prix returns after missing out on a race in 2015 due to the inability of either Hockenheim or the Nurburgring to agree a deal to host the race.

The European Grand Prix joins the calendar as planned, and will take place on July 17 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Malaysian Grand Prix has moved from its usual round two slot to now go back-to-back with Singapore at the end of September. The Chinese Grand Prix is now the second round of the season.

Another race on the move is the Russian Grand Prix, becoming the fourth round of the season by going back-to-back with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The United States Grand Prix is set to be held on October 23 2016, one week before the Mexican Grand Prix.

Provisional 2016 Formula 1 Season Calendar

April 3 – Australian Grand Prix
April 10 – Chinese Grand Prix
April 24 – Bahrain Grand Prix
May 1 – Russian Grand Prix
May 15 – Spanish Grand Prix
May 29 – Monaco Grand Prix
June 12 – Canadian Grand Prix
June 26 – British Grand Prix
July 3 – Austrian Grand Prix
July 17 – European Grand Prix (Azerbaijan)
July 31 – German Grand Prix
August 7 – Hungarian Grand Prix
August 28 – Belgian Grand Prix
September 4 – Italian Grand Prix
September 18 – Singapore Grand Prix
September 25 – Malaysian Grand Prix
October 9 – Japanese Grand Prix
October 23 – United States Grand Prix
October 30 – Mexican Grand Prix
November 13 – Brazilian Grand Prix
November 27 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

At 21 races, the 2016 season is already set to feature the most races in F1 history, beating the previous record of 20 set back in 2012.

However, there could yet be some additions as the likes of Korea, India and even New Jersey continue to contemplate a grand prix.

Quite whether any could come to fruition or even fit on the calendar remains to be seen, but there is a possibility that the figure of 21 could swell with later amendments.

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”