Azerbaijan will make its Formula 1 debut next year with Germany returning after a year’s absence, according to a 21-race provisional calendar published by the sport’s governing body on Friday.
The race in Baku will be on July 17, sandwiched between Austria and Germany.
Malaysia moves to a September slot, with the race back-to-back with neighbouring Singapore’s floodlit grand prix, while Russia takes a May 1 date as the fourth race of the year a weekend after Bahrain.
The Malaysian Grand Prix made its debut in 1999 as the penultimate round of the calendar, and staged the season finale in 2000, but moved to an early slot in 2001.
The 2015 calendar has 19 races, with Germany absent for financial reasons and Mexico making its return for the first time since 1992, and 21 would be a record number.
Teams have voiced resistance in the past to stretching the calendar beyond 20 races because of the burden imposed on personnel.
Hockenheim is due to host next year’s German Grand Prix, a home race for champions Mercedes, after turning down a chance to put it on this year following problems with the Nuerburgring circuit.
The end of July date for Germany is later than usual, with Hungary pushed into August.
The April 3 date for Australia, which is followed immediately by China, means the 2016 season will see the latest start to a championship since 1988 with more races than ever condensed into a shorter time period.
The 1988 season also started on April 3, in Brazil.
Provisional calendar for 2016 Formula 1 World Championship:
- April 3 – Australia
- April 10 – China
- April 24 – Bahrain
- May 1 – Russia
- May 15 – Spain
- May 29 – Monaco
- June 12 – Canada
- June 26 – Britain
- July 3 – Austria
- July 17 – Azerbaijan
- July 31 – Germany
- Aug 7 – Hungary
- Aug 28 – Belgium
- Sept 4 – Italy
- Sept 18 – Singapore
- Sept 25 – Malaysia
- Oct 9 – Japan
- Oct 23 – U.S.
- Oct 30 – Mexico
- Nov 13 – Brazil
- Nov 27 – Abu Dhabi