As over the last years, Barcelona looks to be on course to become Formula One’s sole test venue in the 2019 pre-season following talks on relocating the tests to Bahrain.
Discussions on moving the pre-season test location to a warmer venue outside Europe have been strenuous. Barcelona has been the favourite choice for Formula One for many years because it is cost-effective due to its close proximity to the teams’ headquarters and it is the best European track with relatively good weather in winter.
However, the accent is on the word ‘relatively’. Temperatures are usually good enough to test the new cars, but they are often not high enough to put tyres and the power unit’s cooling system under stresses similar to those experienced during race weekends. On top of that, this pre-season saw one of the coldest winter testings with a day which had to be called off because of heavy snowfall. To further top the issues, teams have concerns over Barcelona’s new surface which led to heavy blistering during pre-season for the 2018 World Championship.
Majority of teams were keen to go to Bahrain next year where the good weather and warm temperatures can guarantee uninterrupted running. It is understood that Liberty Media was also supportive and would have covered a part of the extra travelling costs.
However, smaller teams voted against the plans and Barcelona was also unhappy as winter testing brings a significant revenue.
Now, Barcelona stepped up as the most likely venue for the 2019 pre-season testing, but Jerez could also be an option which has been last used as a venue in 2015.
It is believed that Liberty Media wants to use the pre-season testing to generate preview material for the season and teams were also asked to remove the doors that hide the work procedures in their garages.