Abu Dhabi will host finale in '09

The addition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the season closer is the only major change to the provisional 2009 Formula 1 calendar. All of the ’08 events have retained their places, including the French GP, which seems likely to be back at Magny-Cours. However the calendar does not include a return to Indianapolis, despite Tony George’s efforts to secure an F1 date as the circuit enters its centenary celebrations. Bernie Ecclestone told Motor Sport that he is still talking to George, but the race could only be added now if there was some major juggling of the dates in June/July.

The March 29 start in Australia is the latest since 1988, when the first race was held on April 3, while Abu Dhabi will be the latest finish to a season since 1987, when the Adelaide event was held on November 15.

The season now ends with five ‘flyaway’ races outside Europe, a move that will be unpopular with team personnel. The two-weekend ‘summer break’ in August has also been dropped. The Turkish GP, run in May this year, returns to its original August date. Britain has been moved ahead of France, and Italy is before Belgium again.