Russell: Bahrain F1 test format good but more days needed in 2022

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George Russell does think the shorter 2021 pre-season test can become the norm in the future.

With much of the 2020 cars being carried over for this year, it was agreed to cut running to just three days ahead of the new season, a far cry from the 12 days teams had just six years ago.

The reduced schedule limited drivers to just 12 hours to settle into their new cars, and also put an emphasis on teams to run reliably and productively.

But Russell, who only got eight hours in the new Williams, believes that was still enough to be ready.

“I think we all feel like we’ve regained speed after five or 10 laps or so, but when you talk about a tenth of a second you’re trying to find those very small margins,” he explained.

“The more you do, the better. So it’s hard, but it’s a new challenge."

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In fact, Russell sees no reason why only one test can be adopted permanently, albeit in the medium-term. 

“In the case of next year, we will have such an extreme change in the rules that I think it will be important to have at least six days for the teams," the Briton said, noting the introduction of the all-new cars.

“But then, in the coming years, if the regulations are stable as they have been for the last three or four years, I think three or four days would be a good number.”

That point about next year though was emphasised by team bosses, such as AlphaTauri's Franz Tost.

“Next year we’ll have a whole new car. I don’t think three days is enough,” he said.

“But we have to find a good balance between the number of days and the costs because 2022 will not be a very cheap year. Therefore, we have to take into account all the factors.”