May 12, 2021

Bahrain wants pre-season testing to return in 2022 · RaceFans

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The Bahrain International Circuit operators are keen to host Formula 1’s pre-season testing again next year.

This year’s test was relocated from the Circuit de Catalunya after the Middle East track became the season-opening race due to the postponement of the Australian Grand Prix.

Speaking exclusively to RaceFans after the Bahrain Grand Prix, the circuit’s chief executive Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa indicated they are eager to do the same again ahead of the 2022 F1 season.

“I remember in 2014 we did the test,” he said. “This test was a bit shorter, so it was just three days. Hopefully next year we can have a proper test with the new engines and new cars.”

Relocating this year’s test to Bahrain “made sense with everything that was coming up,” he added. “With Australia and all that, to have the pre-season test, to have the opening round, it just made sense.”

Bahrain held two of F1’s three pre-season tests in 2014, at the start of the hybrid turbo era, following an opening test at Jerez. The Sakhir circuit then hosted the second round of that year’s championship; teams left some equipment in Bahrain while they flew to Melbourne and back for the season-opening round.

Australia’s round of the 2021 world championship has been delayed to November. If the race promoters prefer not to hold a second race within six months, Bahrain could be a candidate for the season-opening race again next year. However Al-Khalifa said discussions have not started with FOM yet.

“They haven’t mentioned it, but to me, it’s something that at the track we would like to see,” he said.

“I think this pre-season testing [and] opening round made sense. I don’t know what Australia’s doing or other events, but I did hear that they’re trying to shift to to a later date.”

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