OCTOBER 10, 2016
Red Bull, Williams, propose Bahrain test compromise
Two F1 team bosses have made a proposal to end the dispute over the location of next year's crucial pre-season testing.
Pirelli is keen to test its bigger and grippier 2017 slicks in the warm and dry climate of Bahrain, and has secured the support of Mercedes and some other teams.
Others, however, are opposed to moving the testing away from Europe, mainly on cost grounds.
"We are categorically against pre-season tests in the Middle East," said Williams' Pat Symonds. "It is absolutely wrong."
Red Bull is also opposed, except in the case that someone else picks up the bill.
"If Pirelli wants us to go to Bahrain, then they should assume part of the costs," said team boss Christian Horner.
Horner's Red Bull colleague Dr Helmut Marko, meanwhile, told the Swiss newspaper Blick: "If Mercedes pays the 750,000 euros, we will also come to Bahrain."
Horner explained: "The extra cost is between 300 and 700,000 pounds, depending on the logistics, and it seems unfair to put all of that on the teams."
He said one possible solution is that teams stick with the original pre-season plan in Barcelona, start the 2017 season, and then stay in Bahrain for a post-race test.
"The first four races are likely to be quite cool, so I think a more logical solution would be to stay in Bahrain after the race," said Horner.
That idea is also supported by Williams' Symonds.
"He (Horner) is not the only one who has suggested it," he pointed out.
"But I think it's a reasonable idea, although I don't think Bahrain is an absolutely ideal test circuit.
"I think if Pirelli has a conservative tyre choice for the first few races, I don't think it would be a problem. But 400,000 pounds extra for testing in Bahrain is a serious problem.
"Perhaps not for Mercedes and Ferrari, but for our budget it is a very significant amount," Symonds said.