Talk of increased Formula 1 testing in 2014 has prompted speculation that Dubai Autodrome may be added to the testing schedule from next year onwards.
At a meeting in Montreal, during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, teams agreed to extend in season testing. The proposal by the teams has been put forward to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council for final approval and implementation.
Autosport reports: “The exact location of the tests has not yet been agreed and will depend on the exact make-up of the 2014 calendar, which has not yet been finalised. Teams have already agreed that there will be three pre-season tests next year, with the first taking place in mid-January at Jerez in Spain. There is also a big push to have the two subsequent tests in the Middle East.”
In the past the circuit, which is situated in the heart of Union Properties’ Motorcity residential development and adjacent to Sports City, has hosted rounds of the GP2 Asia Series, which is the main feeder category for F1. The venue has also hosted rounds of the FIA GT Championship and currently boasts as flagship event the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai.
A number of drivers currently on the F1 grid have raced at Dubai Autodrome, including; Romain Grosjean, Jean Eric Vergne, Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
Other big names who have raced at the circuit include Johnny Herbert, Jean Alesi, Jacques Villeneuve, Heinz Harald Frentzen, Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok, Narain Karthikeyan, Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi who holds the outright lap record at the venue.
Kobayashi set the lap record on the grand prix configuration of the circuit, his best lap time of 1 minute 41.220 seconds was set in the GP2 Asia race back in 2008.
Based on current lap times, an F1 car would most likely lap the 5.39 km circuit in the 1 minute 30 seconds zone.
Dubai Autodrome general manager Richard Birch said, “Of course we would welcome the opportunity to host F1 testing at our venue. We have the facilities and Dubai has all the infra-structure required for a week of testing.”
“At this stage it is merely talk and speculation as the final decision is not in our hands or even been made as far as we know. But if asked in an official capacity then we will certainly embrace the project,” added Birch.
In April this year FIA F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting inspected Dubai Autodrome and gave the venue a clean bill of health, renewing its FIA Grade 1 Circuit License making it eligible to host a fully fledged F1 test. (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.