F1 scraps Bahrain winter testing plans for 2019


Formula 1 has dropped its plans to hold 2019 winter testing in Bahrain, with Barcelona and possibly Jerez suggested has probable pre-season venues.

Winter testing conducted in late February at the Circuit de Catalunya was disrupted by freezing weather and snow, conditions very untypical of the Barcelona region that limited F1 teams' running during the first week of pre-season testing.

Furthermore, the Circuit de Catalunya's abrasive new surface led to Pirelli subsequently introducing a special version of its tyres for Barcelona and also for Paul Ricard and Silverstone, further undermining the relevance of the pre-season test.

Formula 1 therefore pondered the idea of running under the more favourable skies of Bahrain in early 2019.

According to Motorsport.com, Barcelona, which generates revenue from F1's pre-season activities, has expressed its discontent with the potential loss of income should teams steer clear of Spain next winter.

Jerez de la Frontera, located on Spain's southern tip, is also under consideration for hosting next season's test, its track having been resurfaced after falling out of favour with F1 in 2015.

Williams' Paddy Lowe believes Bahrian is now out of the picture, and that F1 pre-season testing will likely remain in Spain in 2019.

"As far as I know that’s not going to happen now," said Lowe.

"I think during this week it’s become clear that there isn’t enough support to do it. I think that’s being discussed where exactly to go. There was a meeting about it today.

"I think Barcelona’s suggested, Jerez is an option. I think it has been resurfaced, that's why it's in the frame. There may be other places to consider but they would be the two most likely."

Formula 1's planned dates for pre-season testing in 2019 are February 18-21 and February 26-March 1, with the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, provisionally scheduled for March 15-17.

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