Bahrain International Circuit's chief executive admits they're open to hosting pre-season testing again in 2022.
The pre-season testing session has been usually held in Spain, at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya: for five years straight the Spanish track has offered its mix of high and low-speed corners to the F1 teams, in order to be ready for the upcoming season, with sessions made of a total of 8 days (reduced to 6 in 2020).
Due to the pandemic, a lot has changed on the Formula 1 calendar, which saw its season-opening venue in Melbourne, Australia: from 2011 to 2020 the circuit in Albert Park hosted the first round of the season, but things obviously changed due to covid-19. This year, the Paddock will head to Melbourne only in late November, which makes it difficult to say if the organizers will decide to host a grand prix again after four months or so for the 2022 season.
Because of all these relocations in the calendar, Bahrain became the season-opening race and the whole circus decided to head to Sakhir for the pre-season testing as well, for just three days.
Bahrain already held two of F1’s three pre-season tests in 2014, with the first one in Jerez, at the start of the hybrid turbo era.
Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, circuit's chief executive, spoke to RaceFans.net, saying they're eager to repeat the experience in 2022.
“I remember in 2014 we did the test,” he said. “This test was a bit shorter, so it was just three days. Hopefully next year we can have a proper test with the new engines and new cars.”
“[The FOM] haven’t mentioned it, but to me, it’s something that at the track we would like to see,” he added.
It is still unclear what the 2022 calendar will look like, because of the pandemic evolution and the circuit's decision.
“I think this pre-season testing [and] opening round made sense. I don’t know what Australia’s doing or other events, but I did hear that they’re trying to shift to to a later date” said the chief executive.