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Horner urges F1 to continue testing at Barcelona

NEWS STORY
17/05/2019

Official confirmation that Zandvoort returns to the F1 calendar next year, where it will join newcomer Vietnam, means, as Chase Carey previously warned, that two current tracks are about to be dropped.

Currently, Silverstone, Mexico City, Hockenheim and Barcelona are in the final year of their contracts, and despite claims that the Spanish track is seeking to continue, many believe that the axe will fall on it and Mexico.

Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, has urged that whether Barcelona continues as a Grand Prix host or not, the venue should continue to be used for testing.

"It would be a great shame if we don't come back racing, but we certainly should continue to test here," said Horner, according to Motorsport.com.

"I think, being European based, it's far enough south to have sensible weather," he added, though previous years have seen testing compromised by heavy rain and even snow.

"From a cost point of view it's cost efficient for the European-based teams to come and test here and it's a good track," he continued. "It has a combination of high-speed, medium-speed and low-speed corners so it'd be a shame if it doesn't get utilised for at least testing duties.

"It's a good track and teams have so much reference round here," he said. "It's convenient, the weather's usually pretty sensible for pre-season testing and I'd certainly be supportive of coming here prior to the start of next year."

The days when teams would test at a variety of tracks with dedicated test teams long gone, Pirelli had previously called for a return to Bahrain, where pre-season testing was held in 2014.

Speaking in Barcelona last weekend, a number of drivers admitted they would be sad to see the Spanish track dropped from the calendar.

"Barcelona is probably the track we have all driven on the most since Formula 4, Formula Renault, all the categories," said Pierre Gasly. "So, hopefully an agreement can be found."

"It would be a shame," added Valtteri Bottas. "It's been in Formula One a long time, this track, and there's so many fans in Spain and around Barcelona. It's a nice grand prix for all the fans to come to, also from elsewhere. So, that would be a shame."

"Obviously for me it would be a big loss in the calendar," admitted Carlos Sainz, "but as far as I know, negotiations are still on-going.

"I think it's in the benefit of Barcelona, of Spain, of Formula One," he added. "I think a Spanish Grand Prix has a lot of history in Formula One; I think this track has a lot of history in Formula One, and it would be a shame to lose it. So, hopefully they can agree on something. Maybe not next year because it's too late, or hopefully yes, just agree on something for the future.

"It would be a shame for Carlos," said Sebastian Vettel. "We've been here many times and I think we'd still do the testing but it's a nice venue, it's a nice time of year to come here, so it would be a shame."

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