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Testing to start in January 2014?

NEWS STORY
29/04/2013

Mat Coch writes:

Pre-season testing could start in January next year as teams get to grips with the new engine regulations. The news, which first broke last week, comes as no surprise as sweeping changes and restricted testing regulations are at odds with one another.

However, as tends to be the way in Formula One, things are not as straightforward as they seem.

Conditions in Europe in January are hardly hospitable for Formula One to go testing. Cold conditions wreak havoc with schedules and Pirelli tyres typically struggle when used so far outside of the designed temperature ‘operating window’.

Logic therefore dictates that any early start to pre-season testing would occur outside of Europe, most likely in Abu Dhabi (where teams have run the Young Driver Test) or Bahrain.

Given Bahrain’s early place on the calendar it appears the obvious candidate, especially given the country has voiced its interest in hosting a pre-season test. Such a move could also see the Bahrain Grand Prix moved to the start of the season since teams would have shipped equipment to the Gulf nation - it hardly makes sense to freight equipment out only to forward it on to Australia before returning once again.

The complication however is that any such move would require a change to the Formula One Sporting Regulations. Currently these state that testing must take place in Europe and can only begin in February.

It is understood the Sporting Working Group will meet over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend to discuss the idea. A simple majority (six of the eleven teams) is all that is required for the plan to go ahead.

If voted in the spotlight would fall on Bernie Ecclestone to decide whether Bahrain or Australia hosts the opening race of the 2014 season.

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