The road has been cleared for Bahrain to host a major pre-season test before the 2010 championship kicks off in the island kingdom.

The road has been cleared for Bahrain to host a major pre-season test before the 2010 championship kicks off in the island kingdom.

Melbourne is the traditional host of the formula one opener, but the first officially published calendar for next year showed on Monday that Bahrain's Sakhir track will kick off the 2010 season in mid March.

The last time Bahrain hosted the first race of the season was in 2006, and it led to most teams taking the opportunity of a major test at the circuit before the championship began shortly thereafter.

Track boss Martin Whitaker however acknowledged that new rules mean that overseas testing is not allowed.

"The new regulations are there, but there is every opportunity now to encourage teams to come here and test," he told the local Gulf Daily News.

"Certainly now, we have an opportunity to talk to teams about it, given that we are the first race," he added.