Melbourne on brink of losing F1 season opener

Reports abound that the Australian Grand Prix is set to lose its place as the opening round of the Formula One championship in 2014.
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According to a News Limited report, Bahrain will be announced as the host of the inaugural round of the 2014 F1 season, though, official confirmation by the sport's governing body, the FIA, isn't due until August.

The report says grand prix insiders believe the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir, this year held on April 19-21, will move to the start of the season on February 27-March 2, 2014. This would see the Australian F1 Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park pushed back to March 13-16.

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Suggestions for the schedule change include pressure due to global television programing times and the fact that the final preseason testing session is already set to take place at the Bahrain International Circuit.

AGP Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott told News Limited he was happy with the revised dates, as they fitted with his preference to hold the event on the third weekend in March.

Westacott said he did not expect crowd numbers to be impacted by any change to the racing calendar.

"This will be the 19th running of the race in Melbourne with a traditional timeslot in mid- to late-March,” Westacott said.

"Both attendance and revenues have shown strong growth over the past five years."

Next year’s F1 season is provisionally scheduled for 21 races, two more than this year’s 19-round championship.