Formula 1 is set for its latest start since 2011 next year, with the Australian Grand Prix provisionally put down for a March 26 slot.

According to a draft version of the calendar that has been seen by, the season opener in Melbourne will be twinned with China as a back-to-back.

This will be the latest start to a season since 2011, when the first race was held on March 27, giving teams extra time to prepare for the new regulations.

It will also be the first time since 2013 that Melbourne has been part of a double header.

However, it remains unclear if the logistics of getting F1 in to China makes it even possible to run it just one week after Australia.

It could be in the end that it has to slip back a week to be twinned with Bahrain instead.

The decision to move China to the second race comes after Malaysian Grand Prix chiefs rejected a push by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to return their slot to the start of the calendar.

Malaysia has moved this year to the latter stages of the season - taking place a fortnight after Singapore - and it prefers this time of year.

The Australia-China back-to-back is the only double-header in the early part of the campaign, with subsequent races in Bahrain, Russia, Spain, Monaco and Canada all following at two week intervals.

The final calendar is expected to include 21 races at the same venues as 2016. It will be submitted to the World Motor Sport Council by Bernie Ecclestone at the end of September.


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