F1 Could Move 2021 Pre-Season Test to Bahrain: Reports

Published 01/05/2021, 5:30 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ George Russell leads and Valtteri Bottas is second placed after the start of the race Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Recent reports have suggested that the 2021 F1 season opener will no longer be held in Australia. Due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the country, the safety measures have been strengthened. Since the building of a biosecure environment on such short notice seems unlikely, Bahrain stands at the forefront to host the season opener.

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With the likelihood of Sakhir hosting the first race of the year, F1 is considering the possibility of shifting the pre-season tests from Barcelona to Bahrain.

The Sakhir circuit, which hosted two races in 2020, impressed F1 with its bio-secure facilities. So, conducting the tests there wouldn’t be a problem, nor would the environment be alien to the teams and crews.

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Formula One F1 . Sakhir Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after the start of the race Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

F1 had previously held discussions with the teams considering the possibility of hosting the tests in Bahrain. However, this was rejected on grounds of logistical purposes. Moving from Barcelona to their headquarters before leaving for Melbourne would be easier.

However, it hasn’t officially moved, as of yet. The three-day period of testing is still scheduled for Barcelona from March 2 to 4.

If shifted to Bahrain, when would the 2021 F1 pre-season tests be held?

According to Motorsport.com, the expected dates for the pre-season tests would be from March 12 to 14. F2 teams would also use the same venue to conduct their tests.

Postponing the tests by a week not only gives the teams more time to work with the car but also ensures that the crew would not need to return to the headquarters. They could wait in Bahrain until the season opener.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Racing Point’s Sergio Perez celebrates on the podium after winning the race with second placed Renault’s Esteban Ocon and third placed Lance Stroll Pool via REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

For F1 fans, the delay of an additional week for the season opener may be a headache. However, considering how long the wait was for the sport to resume last year, this seems trivial at best.

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Given how intense and dramatic the two races in Bahrain were last year, it’ll be interesting to see what the track holds for us in store this time around.

This year, the new variable which teams would do well to negotiate would be the 2021 tires. Keep an eye out for news regarding teams and their opinion of the tires.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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