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Pirelli hoping to hold pre-season tests in Bahrain

NEWS STORY
07/09/2016

Pirelli's Paul Hembery has reiterated his company's desire to hold pre-season testing in Bahrain next year.

As previously reported, while the dates of the 2017 pre-season tests are known, the venues have yet to be confirmed.

At present, three teams - Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari - are involved in testing the new wider tyres, with the rest of the teams enjoying their first experience of the new tyres following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in late November.

However, it will not be until the first test gets underway in late February that the new tyres will actually be run on the much-anticipated 2017-spec cars.

With only two four-day tests planned Pirelli and the teams are keen to get as much running as possible, consequently there are fears that the weather - even in Spain - could compromise this.

Consequently, the Italian manufacturer and a couple of unspecified teams are pushing for the tests to be held where good weather, representative of the opening races, is virtually guaranteed, Bahrain.

A number of teams are against the idea, mainly due to cost, though the logistics of sending out spare parts from the respective factories is another factor.

Nonetheless, Pirelli is hoping that Bahrain will get the nod.

"We're still waiting for clarity on the locations of the tests, but our preference would be a hotter location," Paul Hembery told Autosport. "We've been quite consistent in saying that with such a big change, from our position, it would be better to head somewhere with a representative temperature, and in Europe we don't get that. In Barcelona, for example, the temperature is quite a bit below what you would get during a race, so we'd prefer to go somewhere like Bahrain."

Ironically, Hembery is concerned that over the months ahead only two wet tests are scheduled, Mercedes at Paul Ricard later this month and Red Bull at Abu Dhabi in early November, this following Ferrari's wet test at Fiorano early last month. Consequently, he believes there should be a couple of days scheduled for all the teams to carry out a pre-season wet test.

"We would advise the teams that going into a season it would be wise to plan something pre-season rather than using the free practice sessions, qualifying or a race to first discover things," he said.

"The reality is in Formula 1 there is not a perfect wet test situation," he continued. "Fiorano and Paul Ricard can be used, but you'd have to do it in groups of probably three cars if you wanted to fit something in pre-season. "The problem is the cars aren't physically available until the pre-season dates that have emerged."

In which case might one suggest a return to Jerez, where conditions are usually much better than Barcelona and the track can be artificially dampened.

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