Barcelona has been Formula one’s winter testing venue for some time now, primarily because of the warm climate that it presents for the teams and the drivers to properly test out their car before the gruelling F1 season kicks off.
However, with ‘global warming(if you my), the temperatures and climate in Barcelona haven’t really been conducive for winter testing.
In the 2018 testing in March, the teams were forced to remain indoors for almost four full days because of the weather, something that hampered their testing process massively.
In order to rectify this, FIA and Liberty Media have taken the tough decision of shifting winter testing out of Barcelona to the more warmer and snow/rain free Bahrain.
What also helped make the decision a little easier was that the first race of the 2019 season, which is scheduled to be held in Australia has been moved a week earlier(March 17th, 2019).
Thus winter testing too will have to be scheduled earlier, raising more concerns about the weather in Barcelona at that time.
The Bahrain testing will reportedly be held from Monday, February 18, 2019 to Thursday, February 21, 2019.
The second test phase will start on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 and will end on Friday, March 1, 2019.
Also, the newly laid out track at Barcelona did cause some trouble for the teams as well, as the track did not quite provide them with the required data that they needed.
The tyres experienced a lot of blistering(especially for Mercedes) in Barcelona and Pirelli had to come up with a thinner tyre for the Spanish GP.
The major problem with Bahrain as the testing venue is that the freight cost gets a little too much for the teams, as the track is close to 6 hours away from the team factories.
Liberty Media have decided to intervene in this case and have apparently promised the teams to cover some part of the costs.
However, Liberty need something in return for this ‘cost coverage’, as they have asked the teams to have ‘open garages’ for the test.
This will help fans get more access to testing and thus attract a greater pool of viewership.