Azerbaijan GP wants 2019 June F1 date despite asking for '18 change

Azerbaijan Grand Prix organisers want the Baku race to return to a June slot on the 2019 Formula 1 calendar despite asking for an April date on the '18 schedule

Azerbaijan GP wants 2019 June F1 date despite asking for '18 change

Baku promoter Arif Rahimov says he asked F1 for a different date next season due to a clash with a major event to celebrate the country's 100th anniversary as a republic.

Part of those celebrations will take place in Baku's city square, which forms the F1 paddock area.

The race has been switched to the slot previously occupied by the Russian GP on April 29 for 2018, with Sochi hosting its race in September to avoid a clash with the football World Cup taking place in the country in the summer.

"We asked to move to an earlier slot [for 2018]," Rahimov told Autosport.

"We want to use the square for a parade on the June date next year for the 100th anniversary of the republic.

"And then in July onwards the European season is too dense, we cannot fit in there.

"We would like to go back to June in 2019, we're happy with it.

"In general the June date works well.

"It's probably more or less the best weather we can have; it's hot under the sun, but once you go in the shadow, it's OK.

"At the end of April it can get down to 14-15C.

"It's not freezing cold, but it's not T-shirt weather."

Rahimov said he hoped the move to April would not harm spectator attendance, which was reportedly up 30% in 2017 on the inaugural European GP event a year earlier.

"As long as we provide all the entertainment and everything works out I don't think this shift will really affect spectator attendance," he added.

"It's gone up this year quite a bit."

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