The FIA has confirmed the 21-race F1 calendar for 2018 following a World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris.
As previously announced, the schedule features the sport’s first triple header as France and Germany return while Malaysia drops out, with every race live on Sky Sports F1.
The only change from the provisional calendar is the date swap between China and Bahrain, with the Sakhir race now heading up the first back-to-back of the season.
Singapore was the only other event that was subject to approval at the time of the provisional calendar, but a new race contract was confirmed in September.
2018 F1 calendar March 25 Melbourne Australia April 8 Sakhir Bahrain April 15 Shanghai China April 29 Baku Azerbaijan May 13 Barcelona Spain May 27 Monaco Monaco June 10 Montreal Canada June 24 Le Castellet France July 1 Spielberg Austria July 8 Silverstone Great Britain July 22 Hockenheim Germany July 29 Budapest Hungary August 26 Spa-Francorchamps Belgium September 2 Monza Italy September 16 Singapore Singapore September 30 Sochi Russia October 7 Suzuka Japan October 21 Austin* USA October 28 Mexico City Mexico November 11 Sao Paolo Brazil November 25 Yas Marina Abu Dhabi *subject to ASM approval
The 2018 F1 season will begin in Australia on March 25, the same weekend as this year, and end in Abu Dhabi on November 25.
The Azerbaijan GP in Baku will take place two months earlier on April 29, while the Russian GP in Sochi has been moved back to a late September slot after hosting this year’s fourth round.
But the major talking point is the three grands prix in three weekends – an F1 first.
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After the French GP on the final weekend of June, the sport will head straight to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian GP on July 1 before then going to Silverstone for the British GP on July 8.
In total, between June 24 and July 29, there will be five grands prix in six weekends ahead of the usual August summer break.
Change to the power unit penalty system
The FIA has also confirmed a modification to the heavily-criticised power unit grid penalty system, after many races of the 2017 season saw multiple drivers serving penalties.
They state that ‘if a driver incurs a penalty exceeding 15 grid places he will be required to start the race from the back of the starting grid.
‘If more than one driver receives such a penalty they will be arranged at the back of the grid in the order in which the offences were committed.’
Teams will be limited to three of each engine component in 2018, rather than the four from this year, before they will receive a penalty for changing parts.
There was also a discussion about improving security at the Brazilian GP after a number of incidents this year.
Mercedes team personnel were robbed at gunpoint as they left the Interlagos circuit after the Friday practice sessions, while another four attempted robberies took place over the weekend.
At the final World Motor Sport Council meeting of the season on Tuesday, it was recommended that the event’s promoter retained an “independent security expert” to “evaluate and advise on security plans, implement a police reporting hub at the circuit and improve overall communication between the promoter security, police and F1 stakeholders”.
“The World Council strongly urged the promoter to implement these recommendations and improve the situation ahead of next year’s event,” a statement added.
Natalie Pinkham is joined by Aston Martin CEO and President Andy Palmer and Sky F1's Marc Priestley to review the Abu Dhabi GP.
Other changes to the 2018 Sporting and Technical Regulations
- Regulations relating to procedures for starting or resuming a race behind the safety car
- Changing the event timetable to increase flexibility
- Ensuring that testing of previous cars may only take place on tracks currently holding an FIA Grade 1 or 1T licence
- Provision for demonstration events in previous cars which does not constitute testing. No such demonstrations may exceed 50km in length and only tyres manufactured specifically for this purpose by the appointed supplier may be used
- Changes to ensure that oil cannot be used as fuel
- Introduction of a detailed specification for oil
- A minimum weight and volume for energy storage (batteries)
- Changes to position of cameras and wing mirrors to accommodate the Halo
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