The FIA World Motorsport Council has confirmed a handful of tweaks to the provisional 2016 Formula 1 World Championship calendar, including an earlier starting date for Australia and a number of shuffles across the schedule.

As speculated, the opening round in Melbourne has been brought forward by a fortnight, with the originally planned April start moved to 20th March.

With Australia originally scheduled as a back-to-back with China, Bahrain will now mark the second round of the season on April 3rd, with Shanghai getting a later date on April 17th as round three.

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Elsewhere, the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe in Azerbaijan has been shifted to 19th June in a back-to-back with Canada, with the Baku race now clashing with the Le Mans 24 Hours as a result.

The Austrian and British GPs have also swapped, with the Silverstone race now scheduled for 10th July, while a switch between Germany and Hungary means Hockenheim will this time mark the start of the four week summer break.

Following complaints from Singapore Grand Prix organisers, the original back-to-back with Malaysia now features a week-long break between them - though they still remain rounds 15 and 16 -, while Abu Dhabi will again wrap up the season on 27th November.

March 20 Australia
April 3 Bahrain
April 17 China
May 1 Russia
May 15 Spain
May 29 Monaco
June 12 Canada
June 19 Europe/Azerbaijan
July 3 Austria
July 10 Britain
July 24 Hungary
July 31 Germany
August 28 Belgium
September 4 Italy
September 18 Singapore
October 2 Malaysia
October 9 Japan
October 23 USA
November 6 Mexico
November 13 Brazil
November 27 Abu Dhabi

In addition, the WMSC has approved a series of sporting and technical changes for 2016:

Cars must now comply with all cockpit and safety equipment requirements during testing; such as the position of the driver's head, all headrest padding, cockpit padding and ease of driver egress.

Sporting Regulations regarding track limits have been clarified and specify that drivers "must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifiable reason". Penalties will still be allocated based on whether a driver is judged to have gained an advantage.

The WMSC approved the proposal of the F1 Commission regarding regulations for power unit and gearbox changes. Such penalties prior to qualifying will be applied based on the time of use. For changes made after qualifying, preference will be given to the driver whose team first informed the technical delegate that a change will occur.

Any driver who causes a start to be aborted, even if he is then able to start the extra formation lap, will be required to start the race from the pit lane. The same process will be applied to a re-start from a race suspension where drivers have been brought to the pit lane.

The WMSC confirmed a number of clarifications were made to aerodynamic testing restrictions for wind tunnel use and CFD, specifically focusing on reporting and inspection processes for these development tools.

For 2016, all cars must have a separate exhaust wastegate tailpipe through which all and only wastegate exhaust gases must pass. This measure has been undertaken to increase the noise of the cars and will not have any significant effect on power or emissions.
For 2017, on board cameras on stalks on the nose of car will be prohibited