Dubai set to host two pre-season tests

LAT Photographic

27 July 2013 by Ryan Wood

Dubai looks set to host two pre-season tests next year as the teams seek warmer climates to maximise their running ahead of the vast regulation changes.

Whilst Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Qatar had been put forward as potential candidates, the former two were ruled out because of their status as grand prix circuits.

Dubai, which has an FIA Grade 1 certified circuit just a few miles outside of the city, is believed to be the favoured location, not only amongst the teams, but with Bernie Ecclestone too, because of its ties to Formula 1 sponsor Emirates.

Circuit manager Richard Birch says he would be happy to see F1 testing at the Dubai Autodrome, but as of yet, nothing is confirmed.

"Of course we would welcome the opportunity to host F1 testing at our venue," he said. "We have the facilities and Dubai has all the infrastructure required for a week of testing.

"At this stage, it is merely talk and speculation as the final decision is not in our hands but, if asked in an official capacity, then we will certainly embrace the project."

The teams will meet on Saturday in Hungary to discuss the proposal and to find a solution to a major stumbling block which could derail the plan.

With Australia likely to remain as the season opener, holding the test in the Middle East could present a logistical challenge with the teams having to ship the cars back to Europe for final preparation before heading down under in a short timeframe.

One plan is to hold the tests later in the season, so the cars can be shipped straight from Dubai to Australia without the need to return to base, or host the tests earlier to ensure time isn't an issue.

Jerez meanwhile is expected to host the first pre-season test as usual.