OCTOBER 3, 2016
Red Bull argues against Bahrain winter testing
Red Bull is arguing against moves to have some winter testing take place in guaranteed warmer weather in Bahrain.
It emerged recently that while Barcelona had been selected for the eight days of pre-season running early next year, the Spanish circuit could not yet confirm the news.
It seemed that was because Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda was trying to convince others in the paddock to agree to move some of that running to Bahrain.
"We should all be trying to help Pirelli because we need warm weather," the triple world champion told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport at Sepang.
"I do not want to lose a few days with rain in Barcelona with the brand new cars," Lauda added. "And Pirelli needs reliable data.
"With 20 degrees track temperature, you do not learn anything."
Indeed, it could be argued that pre-season running for 2017 is more important than usual, given the totally new chassis rules and the bigger slick tyres.
In Malaysia, Lauda circulated a letter with the aim of getting an unanimous vote to at least allow voluntary Bahrain testing. Auto Motor und Sport said Mercedes, Manor, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Force India and Haas all signed it.
But Williams, Sauber and the two Red Bull teams are opposed.
Red Bull's Christian Horner explained: "60 per cent of the teams need to save money, but testing in Bahrain will cost significantly more.
"Maybe Mercedes would like to pay for it."
But another consideration is that European testing is simply more convenient for the teams -- especially an outfit like Red Bull that likes to push out the development time of its new cars.
"We feel more comfortable being one and a half hours away than six," Horner admitted. "I think Pirelli will get enough hot testing in Abu Dhabi, and temperatures will already be 20 degrees in Barcelona in March."