5 Dec 2014

21-race calendar for F1 next year

11:39 am on 5 December 2014

South Korea's Formula One grand prix has been reinstated provisionally on a record 21-race calendar for 2015 while double points have been scrapped for the final round in Abu Dhabi.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) listed the Korean race as the fifth round of the season on May 3rd, with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona scheduled for the following weekend.

Grand Prix Formula One Brazil 2014.

Grand Prix Formula One Brazil 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The tight turnaround, and teams' previous reluctance to have more than 20 races, immediately raised doubts about the likelihood of the Korean race happening however.

The season will start in Australia on March 15th.

Mexico will also return to the calendar after a 23-year absence, with a race scheduled for November 1st in Mexico City.

China becomes the third race of the season on April 12th, taking the slot initially assigned to Bahrain on a previous draft calendar. Bahrain is now pushed back to April 19th.

Changes to the sporting regulations included the decision to abandon the controversial experiment with double points introduced this year.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The format was unpopular with fans and risked making a mockery of the season, with eventual champion Lewis Hamilton in danger of losing out to Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg despite winning 10 races compared to the German's five.

A plan to introduced standing re-starts after the introduction of a safety car was also jettisoned after teams raised safety concerns.

Meanwhile Formula One will impose a minimum age limit of 18 years old from 2016, in a change that would have kept out Dutch teenager Max Verstappen if introduced for next year.

Verstappen was signed by the Toro Rosso team while still only 16 and turned 17 last September. He will become the youngest ever Formula One driver when he makes his debut in Australia in March.

His Spanish team-mate Carlos Sainz, son of the former world rally champion who shares the same name, is only 20 years old in what will be the youngest team lineup the sport has seen.

The new rules mean a driver must have a valid regular driving licence, something Verstappen was still too young to obtain, being over 18 and demonstrating knowledge of the sporting regulations.

Drivers must also have spent at least two years in minor Formulas, a clause that would have denied Finland's 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen his debut with Sauber in 2001, and accrued a number of points from that experience.

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