James Key believes a testing return to the Bahrain International Circuit should be considered for 2019, and believes that despite the logistics involved, it would certainly be ‘doable’, and cost-effective at the same time, particularly if the weather-disrupted first test of 2018 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is anything to go by.
The technical boss of the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda team insists the Barcelona circuit is still a great track to test on, but after the weather played havoc in proceedings of the first test of this year, particularly on the Wednesday when snow and rain saw only seventeen laps completed between the ten teams, Key feels testing in the warmer climate of Bahrain should be the answer.
Testing in recent years has been restricted to the Barcelona circuit to lessen the financial and logistical impacts for teams, with Bahrain last used in 2014, but Key believes Bahrain could be the answer as it would prevent losing track time due to the weather conditions.
“We tested in Bahrain I think in 2014. Of all the logistical nightmares to have with such a massive change in regs both on the aero and engine side, we all managed it – so it’s perfectly doable,” said Key on Crash.
“Barcelona’s a great reference track, that’s why we come here. When conditions are good it gives you a lot of useful data. But when it’s these conditions it is tricky.
“Although it’s got a new track surface now, in previous years it has been very cold and it’s very tough on the tires, so you don’t really get representative laps from that either.
“This week is a very bad example of what can happen, but I think if we’re able to go to Bahrain, its money well spent in my view.
“Logistically it’s a bit more expensive, but you fly there rather than drive so I think timing-wise it’s not massively different. It’s a bit tricky getting back to the factory if you need to, but it’s perfectly doable.”