The FIA has approved a winter tire test for December at the Bahrain International Circuit. This three-day test will be hosted by Pirelli and will feature Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Mclaren and Toro Rosso. All teams were invited to the test, but only those six accepted the invitation.
This test, which Pirelli has been working hard to get approved, comes at the last moment, with all the teams busily working away on the 2014 cars. While Pirelli was hoping to test their prototype 2014 tires at the season finale in Brazil just a few weeks ago, the rain that dominated the weekend prevented any testing. Going into the unknown, the teams will have to make most of the three-day test coming up.
The FIA’s ban on testing until next year has been lifted on safety grounds, following some worrying tire blow outs at some races during the 2013 season, most notably at the British Grand Prix. To get a grip on the new rubber, which will be put under increased strain with the new-for-2014 power units, the FIA allowed this test to go forwards.
Those not taking part in the test may find themselves at a disadvantage after December 17. Lotus, Force India, Sauber, Williams, Caterham and Marussia may get a leg up on car development in those few days, but the advantage of working with the new tires may prove difficult to overcome early in preseason testing.
All eyes will be looking towards Bahrain in one week. Let’s hope the test is successful, because the championship could hinge on it going well.