Bahrain GP kicks off 23-race F1 season in 2022

PARIS (AP) – Next year’s Formula One season will feature 23 races and open in Bahrain rather than its traditional start in Australia, with Singapore and Canada returning after two straight cancellations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2022 calendar was approved by governing body FIA’s World Motor Sport Council on Friday.

The Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir on March 20 will be followed by the second hosting of the Saudi Arabia GP in Jeddah and then the Australian GP in Melbourne on April 10.

The season then jumps to Europe two weeks later for the Emilia Romagna GP in Italy (subject to contract approval) and then to the United States (US) for the Miami GP on May 8 (subject to circuit approval by the FIA).

“We prepare to enter a new era with brand new regulations and cars for next year that are designed to create closer racing,” F1 president Stefano Domenicali said.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix at the Intercity Istanbul Park circuit. PHOTO: AP

The Spanish GP on May 22 (also subject to contract approval) is followed by the showcase Monaco race one week later before F1 goes to Baku in Azerbaijan on June 12.

Then, Canada returns one week later after the race was cancelled for the second straight year and replaced by Turkey. A large European swing then features the British GP at Silverstone earlier than usual on July 3 followed by races in Austria (July 10), France (July 24) and Hungary (July 31) as the usual last race before the four-week midseason break.

The Belgian GP in Spa on August 28 kicks off the second half of the season as is customary, followed by the hugely popular Dutch GP in Zandvoort (September 4) and the iconic Italian GP in Monza the following week.

There’s a two-week gap before the Russian GP in Sochi on September 25 and Singapore on October 2 (subject to contract approval) for the first time since 2019 after the street race was cancelled this year and last amid the pandemic.

The popular Japanese GP returns to Suzuka on October 9 after being scrapped this year because of government concerns over the virus.

The US GP in Austin will be held on October 23 (subject to contract) and F1 concludes with Mexico (October 30), Brazil (November 13) and an earlier than usual finale in Abu Dhabi (November 20).