Dubai Autodrome poised to host pre-season tests

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Reports from the Hungaroring this morning suggest that the Dubai Autodrome will host two pre-season tests next season as part of a change to the regular schedule after rain disrupted the teams’ preparations this year.

According to British broadcaster Sky Sports, a deal has been reached to take Formula One to Dubai for the first time in an attempt to give teams ideal conditions in which to test in. In recent years, the scheduled pre-season tests have all taken place in Spain at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona and Jerez de la Frontera. Although these circuits do provide a good test for the drivers and cars, the weather has proven problematic and this affected many of the teams ahead of the opening round in Australia this year.

As reported by NBC over six weeks ago, the Dubai Autodrome expressed an interest in holding at least one test in order to increase F1’s popularity in the Gulf region. With Bahrain and Abu Dhabi currently hosting grands prix, the region is quickly becoming a hot-bed for Formula One, although it may not be so popular with the fans in Europe who like to attend pre-season testing as a cheaper alternative to grands prix.

This news also suggests that Bahrain could be in line to host the opening round of the 2014 season with teams travelling from Dubai to the Sakhir International Circuit in the middle of March.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”