By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Germany will have no Formula One Grand Prix next year, despite the dominance of Mercedes and the country’s new world champion Nico Rosberg, after the race was axed for financial reasons on Wednesday.
While that move will dismay German fans, there was a more welcome change in the renamed Azerbaijan Grand Prix being pushed back to June 25 to avoid a clash with the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar classic.
Races in Brazil and Canada, whose fate had also been left open on the draft calendar, were confirmed on the 20-round official version published by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA).
There were a record 21 races this year.
Germany’s absence had been expected with the Nuerburgring unwilling to pay hosting fees and Hockenheim, which drew a mere 57,000-strong crowd this year, reluctant to lose money in successive seasons.
Hockenheim, one of the best attended venues in seven times champion Michael Schumacher’s time, does have a contract for 2018 when the race is expected to return.
Azerbaijan’s street race in Baku made its debut this year as the European Grand Prix but organizers had wanted to avoid a repeat of the clash with Le Mans and to remove the logistical challenge of a back-to-back race with Canada.
The races in Austria and Britain are moved back a week to help fill the gap left by Germany, with those grands prix now taking place on July 9 and 16 respectively.
Hungary switches to the July 30 slot that was earmarked for Germany.
Mexico’s race is again paired with the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, at the end of October rather than with Brazil which stands on its own as the penultimate round in November.
Malaysia is paired with Japan rather than neighbors Singapore, which remains in its usual slot after Italy. The draft calendar had envisaged Malaysia preceding Singapore.
March 26 – Australia (Melbourne)
April 9 – China (Shanghai)
April 16 – Bahrain
April 30 – Russia (Sochi)
May 14 – Spain (Barcelona)
May 28 – Monaco
June 11 – Canada (Montreal)
June 25 – Azerbaijan (Baku)
July 9 – Austria (Spielberg)
July 16 – Britain (Silverstone)
July 30 – Hungary (Budapest)
Aug 27 – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
Sept 3 – Italy (Monza)
Sept 17 – Singapore
Oct 1 – Malaysia (Sepang)
Oct 8 – Japan (Suzuka)
Oct 22 – U.S. (Austin)
Oct 29 – Mexico (Mexico City)
Nov 12 – Brazil (Sao Paulo)
Nov 26 – Abu Dhabi
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)