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GP Week : Issue 227
The 2016 Formula One season could run until December, according to reports emerging over the Italian Grand Prix. A number of changes to the 2016 calendar are expected, including a later start date and a more compressed season as a whole. It's also expected to feature a record 21 races, with the inclusion of a new race in Baku, Azebaijan - optimistically labelled the European Grand Prix. Finding its way into the media's hands in April, the initial draft calendar also listed the Italian Grand Prix, despite protracted negotiations over the event's future and the fact there is no contract currently in place. Other changes saw the Russian Grand Prix moved to May with the Malaysian Grand Prix being pushed back to September, a week after Singapore. However, according to reports all that could change with organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix unhappy that the Malaysian event is on the following weekend. While logistically having the two events back-to- back made sense there is concern in Singapore that consecutive races in the region would detract from the appeal of both. It's also understood teams were unhappy with the proposed calendar as it limited their window with regards to the compulsory two-week shut down during the summer. According to Autosport, Bernie Ecclestone's solution is to move the Malaysian Grand Prix from the week following Singapore to the end of the season. Events in the middle of the year would then be shuffled along to open a three week break between the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix, thereby appeasing both the teams and the promoters of the Singapore race. Just what Abu Dhabi thinks about losing the coveted final race of the year remains to be seen. cONFIrMATION IMMINeNT Set to join the grid next season, the Haas F1 team has reaffirmed its desire to announce its driver lineup later this month. Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne are among the favourites, though American Alex Rossi has also been linked to the team. sAve MONzA A petition did the rounds of the Monza paddock, gaining signatures in support of the Italian Grand Prix at the circuit. Without a contract for next season, and with Bernie Ecclestone demanding more money for the right to host the event, the race is currently facing a very real threat. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button all signed the petition. AllIsON sTAYING PuT Ferrari technical director James Allison has signed a contract keeping him with the Scuderia until 2018. His previous deal was set to expire at the end of this season, but with the team's upturn in performance since his arrival the squad offered the former Benneton and Renault man a new deal. WIllIAMs BAcK IN BlAcK Announcing its interim financial results for the first six months of 2015, Williams Grand Prix Holdings, which includes the F1 team, announced increased revenue of almost £20million over the same period in 2014. Mercedes and Ferrari both arrived in Monza with new engines, both having used development tokens in their pursuit of performance. The Italian Grand Prix is the most important race of the year when it comes to engine performance, leaving most teams looked for ways to gain additional performance. Both Mercedes and Ferrari, which already hold a considerable performance advantage over the Renault and Honda power units, moved the goal posts even further ahead by debuting new development power units. For the Renault-shod teams, who accepted their fate early, that meant taking new engines in Italy to minimise their performance difference while reaping rewards of fresher engines come Singapore. Mercedes elected to use all seven of its remaining development tokens to debut a revised unit for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. But while Hamilton was able to use the new power unit for the race, Rosberg was forced to revert to the unit he'd raced in Belgium when a coolant leak in final practice contaminated his new engine. Rosberg's pace in qualifying duly suffered and he fell into the clutches of the improved Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, suggesting Ferrari's step for ward merely brings it up to the standard of Mercedes previous model and that the German marque remains one step ahead. The new Ferrari engine saw the Maranello squad use three of its tokens, which on the pace shown in qualifying look to have been well spent. It leaves just Renault and Honda with tokens to spend. With neither engine being especially competitive tensions between supplier and their respective teams have only increased as the season has worn on. Paddock rumour claims Honda boss Yasuhisa Arai and McLaren's Eric Boullier are no longer on speaking terms as the relationship between Honda and the team grows ever frostier. Arai bravely fronted the media in Monza, triggering what can only be described as a brutal press conference as he was forced not only to back track on comments he made suggesting his engine is 25bhp up on the Renault, but also refuse to apologise for the engine its provided McLaren this season and admit the Japanese giant had lost face throughout the ordeal. At Renault an updated engine is planned, but is understood to have been delayed until the US Grand Prix at the end of October - three grands prix away. It seems too little too late for Red Bull which is expected to switch to Mercedes power for 2016 with Toro Rosso reverting to its traditional Ferrari supply. 12 GPWEEK.com // 12 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> news BrieFly engine developments decemBer finish in 2016?