Should F1 testing be moved to Bahrain?

Date published: February 28 2018

After snow and freezing conditions continue to eat into precious testing time at Barcelona, there is debate as to whether Formula 1 should head to Bahrain in future for pre-season.

The weather has affected all three days of testing so far, with no cars leaving the garage on Wednesday until four hours into the session.

Teams have been unable to unanimously agree on creating an extra day of testing on Friday to make up for lost time, while Sunday and Monday are also very unlikely to become testing days ahead of the second test which starts on Tuesday.

But, with lots of money being wasted due to a lack of track action, McLaren race director Eric Boullier thinks the teams should agree to move to a hotter climate in future.

“The current governance, testing is organised and suggested by the teams and handled by the FIA,” Boullier told Sky Sports.

“To change testing dates we would have required unanimity by the teams to be in agreement to change the dates. It appears two teams did not want to change the dates yesterday.

“It’s obviously wasted money. We tried to save costs and only go for eight days of testing. We need these eight days to offer a decent show on track from race one and covering reliability issues and other things we need to cover.

“We spend the money to be here and the track is booked for two weeks anyway so we had the possibility to move this day to another one later – we know the forecast is better on Sunday – so it is purely wasting money for selfish interests.

“On the other hand, it is true you can never guess the weather months before – going to Bahrain is obviously guaranteed to have good weather and was suggested again months ago.

“For economic reasons it has been rejected by some teams but I think we need to seriously consider going back to Bahrain. It is on our way to Australia so logistically there is maybe some mechanisms we could use all together to save money to compensate the travel.”

But Haas team principal Guenther Steiner disagrees with a switch to Bahrain, saying it would be a logistical nightmare.

“The thing is if next week you have a good week, normal temperature, 16-17ºC, sunshine, we would have forgotten until we decide again where we go next year,” Steiner said.

“But the cost is one of the elements going to Bahrain. It’s not easy, but also the logistics if you need something.

“For example the first year when we came in here two years ago it was talked about going to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi and that would be a no-no because if you are new and you need to fly something somewhere.

“You guys have no idea how much stuff is coming here every day. Every day there is stuff coming for the car, it’s brutal.

“From England or from Italy you just put it in a van, they drive and eight hours later they are here. From England it’s 12 or 14, whatever it is, but you can put it on a plane as hand luggage. We have got people going up and down every day.

“If it is Bahrain, you need to get prepared. It’s the same for everybody and we’d need to get better prepared, but that’s one of the issues. Then the next thing is some teams would put on a jet every night to go back and forward – and some cannot.”