Too much? Formula One schedule first triple-header

Formula One is set for its first triple-header after the sport's governing body approved a 21-race calendar for next season.

The returning French Grand Prix, pencilled in for June 24, will kick off a streak of three consecutive races, with the Austrian Grand Prix to follow a week later, and the British Grand Prix to be staged at Silverstone on July 8.

With back-to-back races at Hockenheim in Germany, absent from the schedule this year, and the Hungarian Grand Prix also taking place in July, the sport's teams will be pushed to their limit with an unprecedented five races taking place inside just six weeks.

The calendar was approved by the FIA following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Geneva on Monday.

F1's former ruler Bernie Ecclestone first mooted the idea of three consecutive grands prix in Asia last year, but it was feared the hectic schedule would place too much pressure on the sport's teams.

Speaking at the time, 2009 world champion Jenson Button said: "It's easy for drivers, but it's very different for the teams. These guys spend so much time away from home, and it's very difficult not only for their relationships, but also their families.

"With three back-to-back races, personally, I feel it is too much for Formula One."

The sport's new owners Liberty Media however, want to group the races on a geographical basis, and have included the returning French and German events in an already hectic European schedule.

Liberty also have plans to extend the calendar to 25 races, but double world champion Fernando Alonso said he would walk away from the sport if that happened.

In further changes to next year's schedule, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku has been moved from June to April, while the Russia Grand Prix will now take place on September 30. The British Grand Prix will also not clash with the Wimbledon men's singles final - which will take place on July 15.

The season will begin in Melbourne on March 25, with Abu Dhabi playing host to the final round nine months later.

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