Row breaks out over Pirelli’s re­quest to hold a pre-sea­son test in warmer Bahrain to try new rub­ber

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

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.”

Bahrain hasn’t hosted a pre-sea­son test since 2014 and Red Bull is against it

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