x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Date changed for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The capital's first Formula One GP is moved forward two weeks, but remains the final fixture in the 2009 championship.

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix will now take place two weeks earlier than first scheduled, the sport's governing body has announced. Under an amended calendar released by the FIA for the 2009 season, the capital's first race will take place on Sunday Nov 1, rather than Nov 15 as previously stated. The governing body's website said the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix remains the final fixture in next year's 17-race championship and is one of four changes to the previous schedule.

The Shanghai Grand Prix has been moved forward from near the end of the 2009 Formula One calendar to the third race of the series. The Chinese switch means the Bahrain Grand Prix has gone back a week to April 26. The Brazilian Grand Prix has taken Shanghai's original date Oct 18. The FIA also revealed later start times for the opening two rounds, with the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix both getting underway at 5.00pm local time. Near the end of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix will also commence at the later time of 3.00pm. Last month, some of the biggest names in Formula One gave their seal of approval to Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit. The sport's chief, Bernie Ecclestone, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the UAE capital making its mark on the calendar. "From the very start of this project, we were in no doubt that F1 in Abu Dhabi would be something different, something special," he said. "The original plans have evolved almost beyond recognition to create a fully functioning permanent race track and we are set to be very pleased with the results." The centrepiece of the Yas Marina Circuit is a "drive-through" hotel. Race cars will travel at speed down a short straight between the hotel's two main buildings and under the pedestrian bridge linking them, giving spectators the best possible view. The race is expected to be watched by up to 55 million people worldwide. *AP Have you made plans around the original date for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ? Click on 'Have Your Say' at the bottom of this page to tell us how the change will affect you.

29 March: Australia 5 April: Malaysia 19 April: China 26 April: Bahrain 10 May: Spain 24 May: Monaco 7 June: Turkey 21 June: Great Britain 12 July: Germany 26 July: Hungary 23 Aug: Europe (Valencia) 30 Aug: Belgium 13 Sept: Italy 27 Sept: Singapore 4 Oct: Japan 18 Oct: Brazil 1 Nov: Abu Dhabi