07 December 2017 07:17

Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the dates of the 21-race Formula 1 2018 calendar have now been confirmed.

The season is set to begin in Australia on 25th March and close in Abu Dhabi on 25th November. Whilst Malaysia drops out, France and Germany make a welcome return. For the first time in F1 history, there will be three races in three consecutive weekends - France, Austria, and Great Britain.

The only tweak from the provisional calendar was the previously announced date switch between China and Bahrain.

The confirmed 2018 calendar is as follows:

25 March: Australia

8 April: Bahrain

15 April: China

29 April: Azerbaijan

13 May: Spain

27 May: Monaco

10 June: Canada

24 June: France

1 July: Austria

8 July: Britain

22 July: Germany

29 July: Hungary

26 August: Belgium

2 September: Italy

16 September: Singapore

30 September: Russia

7 October: Japan

21 October: USA*

28 October: Mexico

11 November: Brazil

25 November: Abu Dhabi

*subject to confirmation

The meeting also made changes to the grid penalty system, following criticism about the complexity of penalties in 2017. From now on, any driver that earns a grid penalty of more than 15 places will have to start from the back of the grid.

There was a provision for a "change to the event timetable to increase flexibility". A spokesperson said that instead of a prescribed time for the various practice sessions, there will be a window of time in which they can occur.

The FIA also “strongly urged” the implementation of a new security system in Brazil, following a series of dangerous incidents at this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, including Mercedes personnel being robbed at gunpoint.

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