Red Bull and Mercedes argue over 2017 Bahrain tyre test


Red Bull Racing is opposing rival Mercedes' push to move a 2017 Pirelli pre-season tyre test to Bahrain instead of Barcelona.

Mercedes insists it will be necessary to test and validate Formula 1's numerous changes for next year in a warm and dry weather environment, which the desert track of Sakhir virtually guarantees.

"We should all be trying to help Pirelli because we need warm weather," Mercedes boss Niki Lauda explained to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

"I do not want to lose a few days with rain in Barcelona with the brand new cars. And Pirelli needs reliable data. With 20 degrees track temperature, you do not learn anything."

Red Bull's Christian Horner begged to differ however, insisting on the financial and logistical burden  associated with a Bahrain test, and which will hit the smaller teams in particular.

For Horner, Barcelona offers all the necessary requirements to put F1's new Pirelli tyres and car changes through their paces.

"Sixty percent of the teams need to save money, but testing in Bahrain will cost significantly more," Horner said.

"So to be more than an hour and a half away from the factory, at the point you are developing your car, and a new concept car as well, at a time of year when in Spain in late February, early March, is already the temperature is warming up, to me it seems irresponsible financially.

“Unless there is a huge subsidy which I don’t believe there is – unless Mercedes are going to pay for everybody’s freight to go to Bahrain – I think it is a bit irresponsible to be honest with you to be dictating and bullying teams into making that test.

“We are a team that can afford to go to Bahrain, but I believe it is better that we should test in Barcelona."

Pirelli itself has indicated that current test cars provided by Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari for trialing the Italian manufacturer's new rubber do not adequately replicate the levels of downforce expected from  the 2017 machines.

Any plan to test in Bahrain will in theory need unanimous support of the teams – as the current F1 Sporting Regulations state the two pre-season events can only take places at tracks in Europe.

F1i's driver ratings for the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

FULL REPORT: Ricciardo wins in Malaysia as Hamilton retires from lead

Breakfast with... Gianni Morbidelli

Silbermann says ... Bugged by Liberty

Romain Grosjean exclusive column: Haas can build momentum for 2017

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter