Korea back on 21-race calendar

The World Motor Sport Council, which met for the final time this year in Doha on Wednesday to rubber stamp a number of changes for next season and beyond, had in September ratified a 20-race calendar for 2015 with Mexico the sole addition to this year???s 19-round schedule.

However, next year???s calendar has now provisionally expanded to 21 races with South Korea back on the list after a season???s absence. Korea had previously staged their races, from 2010 to 2013, in October but they have been given a provisional berth for next season of May 3 ??? just a week before the traditional start of the European season in Spain.

At first glance, the one-week gap between the event in Asia and the race at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya is likely to create logistical concerns for the teams. Should the Korean GP go ahead it would also scupper Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg’s recently-announced plans to compete in the Spa round of the World Endurance Championship, which takes place on the same weekend.??

Korea fell off the calendar after the 2013 race amid financial problems at the remote Yeongam venue and had been thought unlikely to make a return anytime soon.

The country’s surprise inclusion has coincided with a shift of dates over the opening flyaway rounds of the season, although Australia remains as the season-opener on March 15.

The Malaysian GP had originally been scheduled to run back-to-back with China, but the Sepang event will now stand alone in the schedule. China and Bahrain have switched places on the calendar, with the Shanghai round now first up on April 12 and Sakhir to follow seven days later. While the Korean GP has been inserted into what was a three-week gap between the flyaways and Spain, the remainder of the calendar remains unchanged from the previous WMSC announcement.

That means that, for the second successive year, Abu Dhabi has the honour of staging the season finale, although the FIA also confirmed on Wednesday that the final race of 2015 will not feature the contentious double points system which won so little favour this year.

An F1 season has only once stretched beyond 19 races, the 2012 campaign having contained what currently stands as a record 20 grands prix.

2015 F1 calendar

March 15 Australian GP

March 29 Malaysian GP

April 12 Chinese GP

April 19 Bahrain GP

May 3 Korean GP (TBC)

May 10 Spanish GP

May 24 Monaco GP

June 7 Canadian GP

June 21 Austrian GP

July 5 British GP

July 19 German GP

July 26 Hungarian GP

August 23 Belgian GP

September 6 Italian GP ????????????

September 20 Singapore GP

September 27 Japanese GP

October 11 Russian GP

October 25 USA GP

November 1 Mexican GP

November 15 Brazilian GP

November 29 Abu Dhabi GP