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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
F1 starts 2006 season in Bahrain
Renault's Fernando Alonso won the 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain has been chosen to host the opening Grand Prix of the 19-race 2006 season on 12 March.

The traditional order of races has been altered so as not to clash with two other major sporting events next year.

The Australian Grand Prix, which has been the season-opener since 1996, has been pushed back to 2 April as Melbourne hosts the Commonwealth Games.

And the British, French and German races change dates due to Germany hosting the World Cup in June.

Britain's round at Silverstone is moved from its traditional July slot to 11 June, which clashes with the first Sunday of the World Cup.

France will host their race on 16 July with Hockenheim staging the German Grand Prix two weeks later.

Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips said: "Next year's World Cup has always been at the back of our minds during the planning process for the 2006 British Grand Prix.

"We were hoping to keep our traditional date in July, but we are also realistic.

"Time differences and TV schedules around the World Cup were always going to be taken into consideration, so we're not entirely surprised that a number of circuits have had to change dates."

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Bahrain event, which arrived on the calendar two years ago, are delighted to be hosting the opening race.

Bahrain general manager Martin Whitaker said: "The first race always attracts considerable attention with new teams, drivers, engines and regulations."

Despite worries over the future of Formula One in the United States after the Indianapolis tyre fiasco this year, that race remains and is given the prestigious Independence Day weekend date.

The calendar reverts to Interlagos in Brazil as its final stop, on 22 October, though the Sao Paulo date is listed "subject to contract approval".

Meanwhile, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) also confirmed changes agreed earlier in the week, including a new three-part qualifying system, a return to tyre changes during races and a new rear wing to aid overtaking.

And for the 2008 season, there will be a single tyre supplier, with cars using slick tyres and larger wheels.

F1 2006 schedule:

Mar 12: Bahrain Grand Prix (Bahrain)
Mar 19: Malaysian Grand Prix (Sepang)
Apr 2: Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne)
Apr 23: San Marino Grand Prix (Imola)
May 7: European Grand Prix (Nurburgring, Germany)
May 14: Spanish Grand Prix (Barcelona)
May 28: Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo)
Jun 11: British Grand Prix (Silverstone)
Jun 25: Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal)
Jul 2: United States Grand Prix (Indianapolis)
Jul 16: French Grand Prix (Magny-Cours)
Jul 30: German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)
Aug 6: Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)
Aug 27: Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul)
Sep 10: Italian Grand Prix (Monza)
Sep 17: Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps)
Oct 1: Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)
Oct 8: Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai)
Oct 22: Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos)

F1 brings in knockout qualifying
24 Oct 05 |  Formula One
Radical wing to help overtaking
24 Oct 05 |  Formula One


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