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F1 set for six tests ahead of 2011 season

The F1 teams have agreed to expand their winter schedule to include six tests, concluding in Bahrain on the eve of the 2011 season.

The F1 off-season could start and end in the Gulf region after teams all but confirmed that they would hold a final group test in Bahrain ahead of the expected season-opener next March.

The Bahrain test would be the sixth of the winter if teams' group FOTA gets its way, and would follow the two sessions planned for Abu Dhabi immediately after this year's finale and the usual trips to Spain to run in Barcelona and Valencia.

McLaren team boss, and FOTA chairman, Martin Whitmarsh confirmed the planned expansion, but admitted that in-season testing was unlikely to return just yet.

"We've agreed there will be six tests during the winter and, probably, the last one will be in Bahrain, but it hasn't been quite agreed yet," he told Reuters, "I personally would like to see more testing, but I am respectful of the fact that there are teams still hurting. We want to make sure that it's cost effective for the small teams.

"We've now got at least six tests in the winter, so that's a step further forward. What we haven't got at the moment is agreement to test during the season. I'd like to see a couple of tests, but we've made some progress. To have six tests in the winter is more than we've had in recent years."

The Abu Dhabi tests, which will take place immediately after the second grand prix at the Yas Marina circuit, are likely to be set aside for teams to run with the new Pirelli tyres and feature young drivers not yet in F1.

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Alan D - Unregistered

August 31, 2010 11:47 AM

I'd like to see a few more test days during the season instead of all pre-season. The circuit which Ferrari own in Maranello looks like a great little track, and I'd be happy for Ferrari to test there if they let the other Europe-based teams test their too. In Britain, we have a lot of teams all within easy reach of Silverstone, and it is a shame they cannot have any mid-season testing there when there would be so little transport costs. Perhaps another option is to allow the Thursday before a GP to be used as a test day, but strongly encourage the teams to use their test drivers or reserve drivers on that day.

Herbert Clinker - Unregistered

August 31, 2010 10:13 AM

They should bring back testing full stop. It gives the slower teams chance to catch up. Having to test during free practice on fridays is stupid. Max Moseley and the FIA have ruined formula 1.

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