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Three races at risk in 2017 F1 Calendar

F1

London, England - The German, Canadian and Brazilian Grands Prix were listed as subject to confirmation on a record-equalling 21-race provisional calendar for 2017 published by Formula One's governing body on Wednesday.

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza, whose place had been doubtful up until this month's race when a deal was agreed if not signed, was listed in its usual September slot after Belgium.

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Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos is still to be confirmed pending improvements to the circuit. Picture: Eric Vargiolu / DPPI

Germany remains uncertain due to Hockenheim's stated reluctance to host a Grand Prix other than in alternate years and no deal with the Nurburgring. The German race was dropped in 2015.

Formula One's 85-year-old commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has also been pushing for improvements to Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, whose contract is up for renewal in 2017, and the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo.

Brazil is also suffering its deepest economic recession in decades but local race organisers were taken aback by the development.

“The Brazilian Grand Prix Organisation took notice, with surprise, of the 2017 F1 World Championship calendar which shows the race TBC (to be confirmed),” they said in a statement.

“There is a contract in place until 2020, every provision of which will be complied with as it has been for the past 45 years.”

Ecclestone had warned in June that the 2017 calendar could be reduced to 18 races, although Monza was seen as one of those on the hit list at the time.

With no races added, after the debut of Azerbaijan's Baku City Circuit this year, the main changes were date shifts and the reshuffling of some pairings.

There will be seven back-to-back pairings, and four in a row during the European part of the season.

Canada and Azerbaijan in June are on consecutive weekends, with the latter again clashing with the Le Mans 24 Hours sports-car race, as are Austria and Britain in July, Hungary and Germany at the end of that month and then Belgium and Italy.

Malaysia will precede Singapore, a reversal of 2016, and stands alone on 17 September with the neighbouring night race on 1 October.

Singapore and Japan are back-to-back in October while Mexico's race, which is paired with Texas in 2016, was moved closer to Brazil with those two on 5 and 12 November respectively.

China's Grand Prix in Shanghai, the third round in 2016, reverts to being the second, on 9 April, and is back-to-back with Bahrain on 16 April.

Australia will host the opener in Melbourne on 26 March, a week later than the 2016 season's 20March race. The finale will again be at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina on 26 November.

New rule closes engine loophole

The governing International Automobile Federation also moved to close an engine loophole that has allowed world champion Lewis Hamilton and other drivers to stockpile power units by taking multiple and meaningless penalties at race weekends.

The World Motor Sports Council said in future only the last element fitted could be used at further events without penalty.

Mercedes driver Hamilton, who had suffered engine failures earlier in the year, took a 55-place starting grid penalty August’s Belgian Grand Prix for exceeding his permitted allocation of engine components.

There are only 22 slots on the grid, which meant the Briton started at the back but did not have to carry any of the leftover penalty places to future races.

New wet start procedure

Mercedes had fitted three new power-units beyond Hamilton's permitted allocation of five, expanding his pool of engines for the final races.

The Briton is currently eight points behind German team mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg with six races remaining, including Sunday's in Malaysia.

The FIA also announced a new procedure for wet weather starts.

“From 2017, if a safety car is deemed to be required for the beginning of a race due to wet weather, a normal standing start will occur once the track is deemed safe to race,” it said.

“The process will see the safety car return to the pit lane and the cars assemble on the grid for the start.”

Drivers, who at present cannot change their helmet designs substantially over the course of a season to ensure easy recognition, will be allowed a special livery at one race of their choosing.

2017 FORMULA ONE CALENDAR

26 March: Australia - Melbourne

9 April: China - Shanghai)

16 April: Bahrain

30 April: Russia - Sochi

14 May: Spain - Barcelona

28 May: Monaco

11 June: Canada - Montreal (TBC)

18 June: Azerbaijan - Baku

2 July: Austria - Spielberg

9 July 9: Britain - Silverstone

23 July: Hungary - Budapest

30 July: Germany - Hockenheim (TBC)

27 August: Belgium - Spa-Francorchamps

3 September: Italy - Monza

17 September: Malaysia - Sepang

1 October: Singapore

8 October: Japan - Suzuka

22 October: United States - Austin)

5 November: Mexico - Mexico City

12 November: Brazil (Sao Paulo)

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