Row breaks out over Pirelli’s request to hold a pre-season test in warmer Bahrain to try new rubber
A row has broken out among F1 teams over plans for pre-season testing for next season.
It had been agreed that both tests would take place at Barcelona, but Pirelli’s desire to test its new rubber in hotter weather has led to a split among teams.
Mercedes is among those to back the tyre supplier’s request, while Red Bull is spearheading the campaign to keep the tests in Spain.
Mercedes executive director technical Paddy Lowe said: “It’s a matter of supporting Pirelli’s request to contain the risk of arriving at the first race, being the first event with hot conditions, and there is real risk to the show.
“We have seen what can happen in Indianapolis in 2005 [when only six cars raced because of Michelin tyre worries].
“We must not forget we need to put on a show, we need to run a 200-mile race with sensible numbers of tyres.”
However Red Bull boss Christian Horner has pointed out none of the first four races of the season are held in particularly hot conditions. He therefore argues that a mid-season test should be held immediately after the Bahrain Grand Prix rather than teams having to pay the additional cost of sending freight out to the Middle East pre-season as well.
“My personal preference is we should stay in Europe,” Horner said. “We have probably got 65 to 70 per cent of the grid struggling for budget, struggling for finance.
“To be an hour-and-a-half away from your factory at a point where you’re developing the car – and a new concept car as well – at a time of year when in Spain the temperature is already warming up, to me, [to instead test in Bahrain] seems irresponsible financially.
“That is unless there is a huge subsidy, which I don’t believe there is, and unless Mercedes is going to pay for everybody’s freight to go to Bahrain.
“It’s a bit irresponsible, to be dictating and bullying teams into making that test.”