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F1 teams discussing moving 2019 pre-season testing to Bahrain

Formula 1 teams are discussing moving 2019 pre-season testing from Barcelona to Bahrain, although final arrangements have yet to be agreed

Bahrain was used for pre-season testing in 2006-'9, and again in 2014, but there were always sessions in Europe. The difference on this occasion is that, other than initial shakedown or filming days in Europe, all the running would be at Sakhir.

Teams have always preferred to stay in Europe for testing, for logistical and cost reasons. However extremely cold weather and an unrepresentative new track surface meant that for many Barcelona was unsatisfactory this year.

For the Spanish GP race weekend Pirelli switched to a thinner tread, to prevent the blistering seen in testing, and that would create complications for next year's testing as those tyres would not be used in the early races.

F1's owners are open to the idea of contributing to freight costs, and that has tipped the balance in favour of going to Bahrain, where good weather will be guaranteed.

The downside is the extra time required to fly personnel back and forth, and to ship in new parts.

It's understood that F1 sees Bahrain as potentially a media-friendly place to start the season, and that teams will be asked not hide their cars with screens or close garage doors, which is the usual behaviour outside race weekends.

The first test is provisionally set to start eight days earlier than this year, reflecting the earlier start to the season in Melbourne.

The dates are February 18-21, and after a four-day break February 26-March 1st, with the Australian GP set to take place a fortnight later.

As previously reported there is also a move to have only one in-season test next season, with the August Hungary session abandoned.

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