Formula 1 set for 2016 calendar shuffle

The 2016 Formula 1 calendar is set for a reshuffle, with the Malaysian Grand Prix being pushed back to later than originally planned

Formula 1 set for 2016 calendar shuffle

For next year a record-breaking 21-grands prix schedule is condensed into just eight months, due to a later-than-usual start in Australia on April 3, with Abu Dhabi hosting the finale again on November 27.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed to AUTOSPORT that following a request from the race organisers in Singapore, the Malaysian Grand Prix will become the penultimate race of the season.

Singapore and Malaysia were originally due to run back to back on September 18 and 25, but due to their geographical proximity, the concern is one event will detract from the other.

"We're putting Malaysia later on, away from Singapore," Ecclestone told AUTOSPORT.

"The Malaysians were happy, but the Singaporeans weren't, so we decided to look into it.

"At this stage I don't think we'll need to change anything else."

SUMMER BREAK CONCERNS

However, there may yet be further alterations, with teams expressing worries about a shorter summer break to Ecclestone.

In recent years there has been a four-week gap between the Hungarian and Belgian GPs, allowing the teams to adhere to regulations whereby there must be a complete two-week factory shutdown during that period.

For 2016, however, there is only a three-week interval, putting considerable strain on all race-attending staff, and making the shutdown almost impossible to work around.

One possible solution would be to push the Belgian, Italian and Singapore races back by one week each, to September 4, 11 and 25.

"It's absolutely critical for Formula 1 we keep the integrity of the summer break and shutdown, especially for the independent teams with one travelling crew," Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley told AUTOSPORT.

"If we have a season that doesn't include a shutdown then we are going to have to employ more people to be able to do that, and that's going to be very costly and very disruptive from our point of view.

"It's up to the commercial rights holder [Ecclestone] and the FIA to work around a summer break.

"The key thing for me is, put the summer break in, and then work out from it. Don't do it the other way around.

"What we have today has served Formula 1 phenomenally well. It has done a great job for our travelling crew, whose welfare you have to think of, and their families."

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams has confirmed the subject due to be broached at the next Strategy Group meeting.

"It does worry us and is something we'll be putting on the agenda for the Strategy Group," said Williams.

"Not having that shutdown is a concern. It's so important for everybody within Formula 1 they have that break, so we'll be lobbying to reinstate it.

"Not sure what can be done. It's up to Bernie. I still think Mr E is in conversations with various promoters of some of those races on the calendar which may enable a little bit of flexibility."

Story edited at 16:30 BST

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