Formula 1

Formula One plans two winter tests in Bahrain

Conditions in the Middle East are more favourable for testing (©GettyImages)
Conditions in the Middle East are more favourable for testing (©GettyImages).

The concerns over safety in Bahrain appear to have been calmed as F1 awards two of the four pre-season tests in 2014 to the island kingdom.

Recent trips to Bahrain have been controversial as civil unrest troubled the country but with the announcement that the Sakhir circuit will be hosting more than just the April race, teams seem more comfortable going to the Middle East nation.

Quoted in the Jakarta Post, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said, "I think people are relaxed about going there based on their experience of this year," 

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn added: "Quite frankly, it's not been a major topic, it's not been discussed, so hopefully we can have a quiet time there.

"There have been assurances about the conditions there," he said.

The reason for the Middle East switch is the climate in the region, even in the depths of an European winter, is similar to that seen as the majority of F1 races - and with such huge changes both in aerodynamics and of course mechanically Bahrain provides a much better location.

"From the purely technical perspective, Bahrain is a more representative circuit," he said, undoubtedly referring to the more traditional winter test venues in Spain.

"We can test there (in Bahrain), we prefer to test there. It's the best, most suitable track at that time of the year," added Brawn.

Such will be the schedule of pre-season testing, team personnel, cars and other equipment will be in the country for maybe a few weeks and as a result such a decision would undoubtedly not been taken if teams and F1 bosses felt Bahrain was unsafe.

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