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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019 to clash with Dubai Rugby Sevens after date change

A WMSC meeting approved changes to schedule which sees the F1 season start a week earlier and end a week later than in recent years

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will remain the final race of the Formula One season in 2019, although it will be held a week later than in recent years. Boris Dejanovic
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will remain the final race of the Formula One season in 2019, although it will be held a week later than in recent years. Boris Dejanovic

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 is set to clash with the Dubai Rugby Sevens, which has traditionally been the major international sports event staged over National Day weekend in the UAE.

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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.