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Australia to open 1997 season

IT will be several months before the FIA gets around to publishing a Formula 1 calendar for the 1997 season, but already the minister of tourism for Victoria state in Australia has announced that the Australian GP will again open the season next year - with the race in Albert Park scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 9. This will once again coincide with the state's Labor Day holiday and with the local Moomba festival.

The Melbourne race has just been named Australia's Tourist Attraction of the Year for 1996 and organizers are hoping that next year's event will be even more successful.

This would suggest that there will not be any space in the calendar for a race in South Africa as the South American races in Brazil and Argentina are scheduled for March 30 and April 6. The only way that a South African race could be fitted into this calendar would be for the teams to go from Australia to South Africa and then on to South America. This would mean that the entire F1 circus would be on the road for over a month without returning to base - this is extremely unlikely to be accepted by the teams.

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