Australia gets opening race?

There are widespread reports in Australia today that Melbourne will get the opening round of the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship on March 18. This is odd for a number of reasons, not least because it is a very late start for the championship. Given that there are likely to be 18 or even 19 races next year it would be logical to suggest an early start to the season. This year's title started in Bahrain on March 12 but prior to that the first races of the year were March 6 (2005), March 7 (2004), March 9 (2003), March 3 (2002) and March 4 (2001).

The other strange thing is that the race clashes with the World Swimming Championships, which will be held at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Albert Park from March 17 to April 1. If Melbourne was going to stay as the first race it would be logical to move it away from that event to a more traditional event. All of this points to the fact that Melbourne will be the second race with Bahrain getting the March 4 date and Malaysia then taking place on March 25, a week after Australia.

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