11 Jul 2015

Germany returns to F1

2:33 pm on 11 July 2015

Germany will host Formula One after a year's absence and the series will go to Azerbaijan for the first time, according to a 21-race provisional calendar published by the sport's governing body for 2016.

Grand Prix Formula One Abu Dhabi 2014. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes.

Grand Prix Formula One Abu Dhabi 2014. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The street circuit race in the Azerbaijani capital Baku will be on July the 17th, sandwiched between Austria and Germany.

Malaysia moves to a September slot, with the race back-to-back with neighbouring Singapore's floodlit grand prix, while Russia takes a May 1 date as the fourth race of the year a weekend after Bahrain.

The Malaysian Grand Prix made its debut in 1999 as the penultimate round of the calendar, and staged the season finale in 2000, but moved to an early slot in 2001.

This year's Russian Grand Prix in Sochi is in October.

The 2015 calendar has 19 races, with Germany absent for financial reasons and Mexico making its return for the first time since 1992.

Hockenheim is due to host next year's German Grand Prix, a home race for champions Mercedes, after turning down a chance to put it on this year following problems with the Nuerburgring circuit.

The end of July date for Germany is later than usual, with Hungary pushed into August.

Twenty one races would be a record number although in previous years the provisioal calendar has been altered.

Teams have voiced resistance in the past to stretching the calendar beyond 20 races because of the burden imposed on personnel.

The April 3 date for Australia, which is followed immediately by China, means the 2016 season will see the latest start to a championship since 1988 with more races than ever condensed into a shorter time period.

Provisional calendar:

April 3 - Australia

April 10 - China

April 24 - Bahrain

May 1 - Sochi

May 15 - Spain

May 29 - Monaco

June 12 - Canada

June 26 - UK

July 3 - Austria

July 17 - Baku

July 31 - Germany

August 7 - Hungary

August 28 - Belgium

September 4 - Italy

September 18 - Singapore

September 25 - Malaysia

October 9 - Japan

October 23 - USA (Austin)

October 30 - Mexico

November 13 - Brazil

November 27 - Abu Dhabi

Changes to the Formula one power unit penalty system have also been made with immediate effect and the super-licence rules for 2016 have also been tweaked to give more drivers a chance to enter the sport from other series.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced the changes after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in Mexico City.

It said in a statement that it had approved rule adjustments previously proposed by the Strategy Group and approved by the sport's F1 Commission.

The simplification of power unit penalties will mean the maximum sanction a driver will face from now on is to be sent to the back of the starting grid.

In Austria last month, both McLaren drivers were handed farcical 25-place penalties from where they qualified for unscheduled engine and gearbox replacements -- with only 20 cars on the grid.

That meant Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso had to take additional penalties during the race.

The FIA meeting also agreed that the McLaren drivers will be allowed an extra fifth unit for the season because Honda are new manufacturers.

McLaren have unveiled their new Formula One car with Honda as engine partners.

McLaren have unveiled their new Formula One car with Honda as engine partners. Photo: SUPPLIED

The engine allocation was reduced from five engines to four this year, the second season of the complicated V6 turbo hybrid units.

The points based super-licence qualifying system was modified to allow more series, such as the German Touring Cars (DTM), to be eligible.

The FIA said the changes were also aimed at increasing flexibility for drivers who have qualified for a Super Licence but do not have the opportunity to race in Formula One.

"These drivers will now keep this possibility for three years (for example, typical F1 test driver situation)," it said.

The champion of the new electric Formula E Championship, Brazilian Nelson Piquet junior this year, will also be given a Formula One Super Licence, even though the series remains outside the points system.

The super-licence rules were changed to ensure drivers were of a minimum age and experience after Max Verstappen was signed by Toro Rosso as a 16-year-old.