The FIA World Council meets today and there are whispers before the official announcement of the 2017 calendar. It looks like there will again be 21 races, although I hear that Brazil may be listed as a provisional race because of ongoing financial troubles in Sao Paulo.
The word is that there will be a late start in Australia, to give the team’s maximum time to prepare the new cars. The race is slated for March 26 in Melbourne and will be followed a fortnight later by China (April 9). This will be followed by Bahrain on April 16 – Easter Day. This is a sensible back-to-back. There will be a two-week break before Russia (April 30) and then the European season will begin on May 14 in Spain, followed by Monaco on its traditional last weekend in May. There will be the same Canada-Azerbaijan back-to-back on June 11 and 18 and then the super-tough (and expensive) Austria-Britain will follow on July 2 and 9. Hungary will be on July 23 and Germany (at Hockenheim by all accounts) will take place on July 30. The usual summer break will follow.
Belgium and Italy will be back-to-back on August 27-September 3 and then there will be a two-week break before Malaysia on September 17. There will then be the same daft two week break (presumably forced upon the date-makers) before Singapore on October 1. Japan will follow a week later on October 8, with the U.S. GP on October 22 and then a Mexico-Brazil back-to-back on November 5-12. The season will finish off in Abu Dhabi on November 26.
It’s certainly not perfect, being very little different to the current calendar, but we can hope for changes in 2018 when perhaps we will see some new thinking.