The A1 Grand Prix series will visit at least three new venues in its first season with the new Ferrari-inspired car/engine combination, with other slots on the 2008-09 calendar still be filled.

The schedule, released today [Monday], confirms that the fourth year of the 'World Cup of Motorsport' will kick of at Mugello in Italy, as has been rumoured for some time. Despite changes elsewhere, the championship will retain its 'winter' position on the motorsport calendar, with Mugello getting things underway on the weekend of 21 September.

The Italian venue's addition to the roster of venues means that, for the first time in three seasons, Zandvoort will not open the campaign. The Dutch circuit, which has regularly seen one of the best - and most enthusiastic - turnouts on the A1GP tour, will now stage the second double-header of the year, two weeks after the opener.

Also retained from 2007-08 are Sepang, Taupo and Mexico City, while racing will also return to China, South Africa and Great Britain, although circuits for all three have yet to be finalised. It is thought likely, however, the Durban street circuit and Brands Hatch will be favourites to fit the bill at the latter, while China presents various alternatives for the organisers to ponder, with both Zhuhai and Shanghai featuring on the 2007-08 schedule.

Indonesia returns to the calendar, with a race scheduled for Jakarta, while Portugal makes an appearance with the penultimate round of the season slated for the new venue at Portimao on the Algarve coast. Both join Mugello as new hosts for the coming year.

One other slot then remains to be allocated, with neither track nor country pencilled in at present. This was the spot given to the second Chinese round last season, but could conceivably be handed to series newcomer Korea, racing frontrunner India or see either of the two 2007-08 circuits missing from new schedule - Brno and Eastern Creek - reinstated.

Further details are expected in the coming weeks, with the schedule still subject to FIA approval. Pre-season testing will take place at Silverstone over 18-20 August and Mugello between 17-18 September.

The 2008/09 calendar, as its stands, is as follows:

September 21 Mugello Italy
October 5 Zandvoort Netherlands
November 9 Jakarta Indonesia
November 23 Sepang Malaysia
December 14 TBC China
January 25 Taupo New Zealand
February 22 TBC South Africa
March 15 Mexico City Mexico
March 29 TBC TBC
April 12 Algarve Portugal
May 3 TBC Great Britain

 

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