Lewis Hamilton hopes F1 Tests stay in Barcelona despite poor weather
Hamilton prefers Barcelona, but questions remain over 2019 location; Many teams want testing to be held in Bahrain
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 13/12/18 4:19pm
F1 should not turn its back on Barcelona for winter testing despite the poor weather of week one, says Lewis Hamilton.
The grid's 10 teams completed 600 fewer laps combined on the opening week of this pre-season compared to 2017 as varying levels of snow and rain hit all four days of running.
World champion Hamilton was among those to have his Test One running compromised by the poor weather but, with forecasts for Test Two looking far more favourable, he said: "Hopefully we'll get plenty of running.
"Ultimately this week there was questions of whether or not we should be in Bahrain where firstly the weather is always good and you can test all day long, so you can get a lot of testing done because the sun goes into the evening.
"But I like being here in Barcelona. It's a beautiful city so hopefully the good weather comes."
But will F1 still head to Bahrain for 2019?
Questions over Barcelona's suitability for representative F1 testing in late February and early March have become perennial.
Last week's snowy weather led to fresh calls to switch F1's future winter schedules to the sunny climes of Bahrain, where the sport last tested in 2014.
Toro Rosso's James Key told Sky Sports News: "It would make a huge amount of sense to do that if we can.
"You could say it's a knee-jerk reaction to the snow, and Barcelona is an excellent test track, but this time of the year there are so many risks and compromises."
"I think it would be the obvious thing to do next year."
However, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said heading to Bahrain still posed cost and logistical concerns.
"The cost is one of the elements going to Bahrain. It's not easy, but also the logistics if you need something," Steiner said.
"You guys have no idea how much stuff is coming here every day. Every day there is stuff coming for the car, it's brutal.
"From England or from Italy you just put it in a van, they drive and eight hours later they are here. From England it's 12 or 14, whatever it is, but you can put it on a plane as hand luggage. We have got people going up and down every day.
"If it is Bahrain, you need to get prepared. It's the same for everybody and we'd need to get better prepared, but that's one of the issues. Then the next thing is some teams would put on a jet every night to go back and forward - and some cannot."
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