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F1’s 21-race calendar approved

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Formula One’s 21-race calendar for 2019 has been approved, with Melbourne as usual hosting the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 17.

Governing body FIA said after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in St. Petersburg on Wednesday that 11 races would be held in Europe, five in Asia, four in the Americas and one in Australia.

The season will start one week earlier and finish one week later.

FIA said the cars would be heavier – with a weight limit increase from 740 kilograms to 743 – and that fuel handling procedures during testing are to be the same as during racing.

There will also be more clarity on how grid positions are formed when drivers are hit with multiple engine penalties. Typically, drivers who have made several unauthorized engine-part changes are hit with a penalty of 20-25 places – which sends them to the back of the grid.

But it can be confusing to understand who’s starting from where and from how far back if several of the 20 drivers have the same penalty imposed.

Schedule:

March 17: Australia, Melbourne

March 31: Bahrain, Sakhir

April 14: China, Shanghai

April 28: Azerbaijan, Baku

May 12: Spain, Barcelona

May 26: Monaco

June 9: Canada, Montreal, Quebec

June 23: France, Le Castellet

June 30: Austria, Spielberg

July 14: Britain, Silverstone

July 28: Germany, Hockenheim

Aug. 4: Hungary, Budapest

Sept. 1: Belgium, Spa

Sept. 8: Italy, Monza

Sept. 22: Singapore

Sept. 29: Russia, Sochi

Oct. 13: Japan, Suzuka

Oct. 27: Mexico City

Nov. 3: United States, Austin, Texas

Nov. 17: Brazil, Sao Paulo

Dec. 1: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.