Formula 1 testing to return in 2014 during 21 race season

Testing at Jerez earlier this year

Testing at Jerez earlier this year

Formula 1 testing, ahead of grand prix weekends, will take place next season at key European circuits like Silverstone, Barcelona, Spa and Hockenheim, it emerged from the Montreal paddock on Sunday.

Tight testing limits have been in place for several years, but teams like Ferrari and also tyre supplier Pirelli have been pushing hard for compromise more recently.

Following initial talks in Monaco, it emerged this weekend in Canada that the majority of teams voted on Sunday to stage four two-day test sessions next year, to be run on the Tuesday and Wednesday after some European races.

The Daily Mail newspaper said costs will be controlled by trading the new testing with reduced wind tunnel hours, promotional days and straightline aerodynamic testing, and the axing of the young drivers’ test.

Even though Auto Motor und Sport said that Force India, Toro Rosso and Caterham voted against the return of testing, the agreement is expected to be ratified by the FIA’s world motor sport council at Goodwood on June 28.

Bahrain set to host 2014 season opener

Bahrain set to host 2014 season opener

It also emerged in the Montreal paddock on Sunday that Bahrain, not Australia, will likely kick off the 2014 world championship, which could feature an unprecedented 21 grands prix.

The new season of winter testing will also kick off earlier than usual, in mid January, while the first race will take place in early March, following a warm-weather test in the Middle East.

“2014 looks like being the longest and busiest season in Formula 1 history,” said Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary.

But, with the debut of new races in Russia and New Jersey next year, McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh is not so sure that the 2014 calendar will actually have 21 dates.

“Whether all the other dates on the calendar survive I don’t know but 21 races is a lot, that is for sure,” he said. (GMM)

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