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Bahrain set to host F1 2025 pre-season test

F1 teams are closing in on signing off plans for pre-season testing to remain in Bahrain, despite Australian GP season-opener

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Formula 1 looks set to host the official pre-season test in Bahrain again next year, despite it not holding the first race of the campaign.

With Sakhir's event having been the season-opener since 2021, F1 has recently shifted its first pre-season test to take place at the venue in the days before rather than running at its previous favourite destination Barcelona.

Bahrain was preferred because it offered guarantees of more typical F1 weather conditions, and it was logistically much easier for teams to test and race in the same venue than having to shift cars and infrastructure.

But with F1's season-opener reverting to the Australian Grand Prix next year, due to Ramadan ruling out the campaign starting in the Middle East, there has been some debate about a change of test plan.

One idea had been for testing to return to Barcelona, prior to teams then returning to base for the trip to Melbourne and the first race.

However, sources have revealed that, following discussions with FOM, a majority of teams have voted in favour of sticking with Bahrain again for 2025, even though Barcelona may well return in 2026 for the running of the all-new cars.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Although the move has not been formalised yet, it is understood that the provisional plan is for the Bahrain test to take place from February 26-28, which is the latest that it can take place because Ramadan is expected to start on the final day of February.

That Friday is also the date for the WEC season-opener in Qatar.

After the Bahrain test, F1 teams would then likely fly their cars back to Europe for final work before them being shipped to Melbourne for the first race on March 16.

While travelling out to Bahrain for a one-off test may be logistically complicated and more expensive for teams than a run in Barcelona, the benefits of guaranteed better weather should outweigh any risks of relying on Barcelona.

However, with all-new cars coming in 2026, that will likely require a lot more last-minute work, the prospect of Barcelona hosting a test that year is extremely likely – as holding it in Bahrain could prove a step too far for teams that are likely to be facing production challenges and the late arrival of parts.

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