LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One’s sole tire supplier Pirelli wants pre-season testing to be carried out in the Middle East next February, rather than at the usual Spanish tracks, to be sure of better weather.
“We would prefer to go somewhere like Bahrain or Abu Dhabi,” Pirelli’s motorsport head Paul Hembery told the official formula1.com website on Friday.
“The temperatures will be representative and we know the tracks very well. We definitely would want to go to representative tracks.”
Pre-season testing, along with the launches of the new cars, has been carried out at Spain’s Barcelona, Valencia and Jerez tracks in recent years to help teams cut costs and make logistics easier.
All the teams are based in Europe.
The early races of the season — Australia, Bahrain and China on the current calendar — are run in higher temperatures than found in Spain, where rain and chilly weather is not unusual at that time of the year.
Testing next year is more important than ever with significant rule changes coming in and Pirelli, who have started trying out 2017 compounds already, having to make wider tires for cars designed to go substantially quicker.
“If we have any surprises, if the cars then are very different to what we had envisioned, then we will have to react to that,” said Hembery.
“Probably not for the first race, but at least when we have some really good winter testing we should know in advance how it is likely going to be – what changes are needed.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)