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F1 to host Middle Eastern pre-season tests

Formula One will hold two pre-season tests in the Middle East next year with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain named as a possible host.

Dubai is reportedly the favourite venue, with its Emirates airline a global partner of Formula One after signing a five-year deal in February. The Dubai Autodrome race track is approved by the International Motor Sport Federation (FIA) and has hosted junior series and sportscar races. However, the city is the only one out of the three that is not on the Formula One racing calendar.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina race track has been used in the past for young driver tests, and Bahrain is a controversial option with its ongoing anti-government demonstrations that led to the cancellation of its 2011 Formula One race and triggered protests for last year’s grand prix.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn told Reuters: "Middle East tests will get the weather we need to give the engines a good work-out. So the first test will be European and second and third will be based in the Middle East. We must do both tests at the same circuit so we don't have any logistical issues.”