Bahrain to open 19-race 2006 season

Bahrain will be the opening Grand Prix in a 19-race Formula One Championship next year

Bahrain to open 19-race 2006 season

The Gulf Kingdom will start the season on March 12, with Malaysia following a week later on March 19 and then Australia on April 2.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to showcase our organisational and technical abilities on the world's most prestigious motorsport stage," said Bahrain International Circuit general manager Martin Whitaker in a statement.

The Australian Grand Prix has been the season-opener since 1996 but has been pushed back to avoid a clash with the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

2006 calendar:

Bahrain 12 March Malaysia 19 Mar Australia 02 April San Marino 23 April Europe 07 May Spain 14 May Monaco 28 May Britain 11 June Canada 25 June USA 02 July France 16 July Germany 30 July Hungary 06 August Turkey 27 August Italy 10 September Belgium 17 September Japan 01 October China 08 October Brazil* 22 October *Subject to contract approval 
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