Australia to Hold 2025 F1 Season Opener Instead of Bahrain Due to Ramadan

 Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)
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Australia to Hold 2025 F1 Season Opener Instead of Bahrain Due to Ramadan

 Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix race at the Suzuka circuit in Suzuka, Mie prefecture on April 7, 2024. (AFP)

The 2025 Australian Grand Prix will be the Formula One season-opener for the first time in six years instead of Bahrain after the sport's governing body (FIA) released next year's calendar on Friday.

The 24-race season will commence on March 16 in Melbourne and end on Dec. 7 in Abu Dhabi as Formula One celebrates the 75th anniversary of its world championship.

The Bahrain Grand Prix has been the opening race of the season since 2021 while the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has been the second race on the calendar since 2022.

Formula One did not race at Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will now host the opening race instead of the Middle Eastern kingdom due to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan falling in March next year.

The first European race will take place in Imola in May as part of a triple header which also includes Monaco and Spain in back-to-back weekends.

"We're grateful to the FIA, our promoters, host city partners, and all the related ASNs for their commitment and support in delivering this schedule and securing what promises to be another fantastic year for Formula 1," Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said in a statement.

"I would also like to pay tribute to our F1 teams and drivers, the heroes of our sport, and our fans around the world for continuing to follow Formula 1 with such incredible enthusiasm."

The testing schedule and the sprint calendar are set to be announced at a later date.

The current season has sprints at six Grands Prix -- China, Miami, Austria, United States (Austin), Brazil and Qatar.



Alcaraz Hoping to Learn from Nadal at Paris Games

16 June 2024, United Kingdom, London: Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz attends a press conference on day two of the cinch Championships at The Queen's Club, London. (dpa)
16 June 2024, United Kingdom, London: Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz attends a press conference on day two of the cinch Championships at The Queen's Club, London. (dpa)
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Alcaraz Hoping to Learn from Nadal at Paris Games

16 June 2024, United Kingdom, London: Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz attends a press conference on day two of the cinch Championships at The Queen's Club, London. (dpa)
16 June 2024, United Kingdom, London: Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz attends a press conference on day two of the cinch Championships at The Queen's Club, London. (dpa)

World number two Carlos Alcaraz said he is looking forward to learning from 22-times Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal when they pair up in the doubles at the Paris Olympics.

Three-times Grand Slam champion Alcaraz, 21, will return to Roland Garros for the singles and doubles at the Games after being crowned French Open champion there earlier this month.

Nadal won Olympic singles gold in 2008 and a doubles gold in 2016. The 38-year-old will be playing at the Games for a third time.

"I didn't expect to play doubles at the Olympic Games with Rafa," Alcaraz told reporters on Monday. "It is a unique moment for me but of course I am very happy about it. Let's see how it's going to be but it's going to be a great time.

"Honestly, I feel he is going to teach me how to deal with everything. I am the young guy who needs to grow up as a player, to grow up as a person as well.

"Of course it's going to be my first Olympic Games. Everything is new for me, so I hope to learn a lot from him."

Nadal is skipping Wimbledon in July in order to prepare for the Olympics while Alcaraz returns to action at the Queen's Club Championships in London later on Tuesday before starting his title defense at Wimbledon next month.

The Olympic tennis tournament runs from July 27 to Aug. 4.