Red Bull's Christian Horner has outlined the plan for Formula 1's pre-season tests with a return to Barcelona and a scheduled in-season test at Bahrain to meet Pirelli's requests.
A push by Mercedes and Ferrari to take winter testing to Bahrain had been resisted most vocally by Red Bull, with the team citing cost issues, and it has been confirmed those plans have fallen flat. Under current regulations, F1 requires a unanimous vote to take testing outside of Europe which never materialised in a recent vote by the FIA.
As a result, the Circuit de Catalunya is set to host both winter tests ahead of the 2017 F1 world championship.
However, Horner did point to a potential compromise is to move an in-season test to immediately after next year's Bahrain Grand Prix in order to meet the demands from Pirelli for further warm weather tyre tests for its 2017 compounds.
“We had a meeting today with Bernie [Ecclestone] and all the teams to discuss winter testing,” Horner confirmed. “There was also a vote with the FIA earlier this week and the way the regulations are currently written to test outside of Europe would require the unanimous consent of all the teams and that doesn't exist.
“It is agreed we will test at Barcelona for pre-season and in order to find a compromise to assist Pirelli after the Bahrain race the first of the in-season tests is planned to be in Bahrain. Thankfully common sense has prevailed.”
The pre-season testing plans are yet to be ratified and confirmed by the FIA but it is thought the first 2017 winter test will take place during the first weekend of February before a two week gap until the second four-day winter test.
If the post-Bahrain GP test is confirmed it is likely to run on the 18-19 April after three rounds of the season have been completed.
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