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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

IMSA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: Why Sebring is so special to Bobby Rahal

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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.

But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.

As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:

“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.

“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.

“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”

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