Formula 1 teams have agreed to maintain this year's limit of 15-days of preseason testing ahead of the 2011 campaign, with efforts being made to have a final test in Bahrain.
As part of the cost-cutting drive introduced into the sport, the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) agreed to severely limit preseason running for teams ahead of this season. Before the 2010 campaign there were just four tests running over a total of 15 days.
Following discussions at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, teams have decided to keep that limit in place for next year, too, splitting the 15 days into four tests. One three-day test will start proceedings, and then there will be three four-day tests.
Discussions are also at an advanced stage for the final preseason test to take place in Bahrain in the week before the opening grand prix of 2011, so cars, equipment and team personnel can stay there. The four preseason tests in 2011 will follow two tests that take place at the end of this year in Abu Dhabi – a two-day test for young drivers and then two days to evaluate the new Pirelli tires.
FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh said he was happy with the total of six tests over the winter, but wants teams to agree on opening up in-season testing more for 2011.
"I personally would like to see more testing but I am respectful of the fact that there are teams that are still hurting," he said. "We are going to do four tests before the beginning of the season, so we now have at least six tests in the winter, so that is a step further forward. But what we haven't got at the moment is agreement for testing in the season."
Whitmarsh said the Bahrain plans were dependent on teams sorting out a financial package so that smaller outfits could afford the trip.
"A majority of teams want to go to Bahrain and we've just got to sort out a few things," he said. "Probably the last test will be in Bahrain but it hasn't been agreed yet. We have to make sure it is cost-effective for all the small teams."