Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next year to clash with Dubai Rugby Sevens

The National - News - - SPORT -

The date for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been pushed back to De­cem­ber 1 for the 2019 sea­son, mean­ing the For­mula One sea­son-con­clud­ing race will take place the day be­fore Na­tional Day.

An­nounced on Fri­day among a se­ries of changes ap­proved by the FIA, F1’s gov­ern­ing body, at a meet­ing of its World Mo­tor Sport Coun­cil (WMSC), the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will now be held a week later than its pre­vi­ous date, which has gen­er­ally been the last Sun­day of Novem­ber.

It also means the race at Yas Ma­rina Cir­cuit next year will clash with the Dubai Rugby Sevens, which has tra­di­tion­ally been the ma­jor in­ter­na­tional sports event staged over Na­tional Day week­end in the UAE.

The UAE will cel­e­brate its 48th Na­tional Day in 2019, with De­cem­ber 2 mark­ing the date in 1971 when the emi­rates banded to­gether to form the United Arab Emi­rates.

De­spite the later date for the fi­nal race of the year, the 2019 F1 sea­son will ac­tu­ally start a week ear­lier than in re­cent years, with the Aus­tralian Grand Prix in Mel­bourne to take place on March 17.

For the third time, fol­low­ing the 2016 and 2018 sea­sons, the 2019 cal­en­dar will com­prise 21 races, eleven of which will be held in Europe, five in Asia, four in the Amer­i­cas, and one in Aus­tralia.

The 2019 sea­son will also cel­e­brate a key mile­stone at the Chi­nese Grand Prix in Shang­hai on April 14, which will be the 1000th race since F1’s in­cep­tion in 1950.

Other changes that were ap­proved at the WMSC meet­ing on Fri­day, in­clude changes to safety car reg­u­la­tions, where a con­sis­tent point will be es­tab­lished at which driv­ers may over­take when the safety car re­turns to the pits.

The meet­ing also sig­nalled the end of the che­quered flag, which will be re­placed from 2019 with a che­quered light panel.

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