Pirelli sporting director Mario Isola believes Formula 1 should consider returning to Bahrain to conduct pre-season testing alongside current venue Barcelona in the future. 

Pre-season testing has taken place solely at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya since 2014, when Bahrain last hosted winter testing. Discussions were held in 2016 about a possible return to Sakhir, but F1 ultimately opted to stick with Barcelona. 

After the first two days of 2018 testing at the Spanish Grand Prix venue were disrupted by cold weather and snow showers, the loss of running prompted questions about a possible return to Bahrain due to its warmer, more stable conditions. 

“In Bahrain we know that we have weather conditions that are more consistent," Isola said. "We know that if we go to Bahrain it is very difficult to find the rain, very difficult to find a temperature that is not in the range of 25-30 degrees. In this respect, Bahrain for tyre testing is more representative. 

“On the other side, Barcelona is more complete. The circuit layout is more complete. Bahrain is all about braking and traction, you don’t have a lot of high speed corners, while in Barcelona you have a bit of everything, so there are pluses and minuses if you got to Bahrain and if you go to Barcelona.”

Haas team principal Günther Steiner raised concerns over the “brutal” logistical challenges of F1 pre-season testing, which he said would have made switching to Bahrain impractical for teams with smaller budgets. However, Isola feels splitting test dates between the two circuits could provide the best solution.

“That is why there were some discussions about that. It makes sense to have four days in Bahrain and four days in Barcelona. Ideally in the opposite order because you fly in this direction you must first come to Barcelona.

“If you do both obviously you reduce the minus and you have plus. You must consider the logistical implications but this is something that is feasible.”

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