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New F1 2016 schedule caught Haas off-guard

02/10/2015
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Bernie Ecclestone’s re-jigged calendar for 2016 is ruffling a few feathers this week.

At the World Motor Sport Council in Paris, the F1 supremo’s amended 21-race calendar – with the Melbourne opener now two weeks earlier than planned – was rubber-stamped on Wednesday. It means the winter testing season now also needs to be put in reverse, with Barcelona to host the first action towards the end of February rather than in March.

Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe had admitted that the original March schedule had altered teams’ preparation plans for 2016. “Slightly different,” he explained, “because we have an extra month – apparently – next March.” Lowe said “apparently”, because in the last couple of weeks it was clear that moves were afoot to reinstate a long summer break.

But the late change of plans may have caught Haas, the new team for 2016, off-guard. “Everything was designed for the start of testing on 1 March,” team boss Gunther Steiner told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “Now we have to somehow gain time and rewrite our production plans.”

Meanwhile, the Straits Times newspaper reports that Singapore is not happy that nearby Malaysia’s race has been moved from the start of the season to October. “We provided feedback to Formula One Management (FOM) that we are not in favour of back-to-back sequencing of our race,” organiser Singapore GP declared.

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