Even though it is no secret that Formula One factories are busy places around the holiday season, McLaren have now revealed how intense its end to 2015 has been as it tried to recover delays in the build programma of the MP4-31.
The main issue was the schedule was a late-in-the-day change to the 2016 calendar. The original schedule had the opening race in Australia pinned to an April 10th date; however, a revision to the calendar saw it brought forward by three weeks to March 20th.
“Our entire build programme wasn’t lined up for that!” Simon Roberts, McLaren's Operations Director said on the McLaren website. "So we knew we had a problem to solve. In terms of our design and engineering capacity, it’s a relatively straightforward re-planning exercise – there’s less time to get the work done, so everyone works a bit harder.
“But the build schedule is on a critical path – it needs to pass all the FIA safety tests and be ready for the first test, which was also brought forward. In that situation, you can’t just re-plan, you need to do something different.”
To be able to get all 16000 components needed for an F1 car together in time, the team opted to run shifts throughout the Christmas holidays to recover the programme.
“In simple terms, we put about eight shifts of work back into the programme over a five-day period – a fantastic effort,” Simon explains. “In total, there were about 110 people involved and we looked after our Christmas workers with a competitive package. We had a really good response, and people seemed to enjoy it too – it was a bit weird, not having all the time off, but there was a good spirit in the place. Everyone knew why they were doing it, and it really cleared the decks.
“Most pleasingly, it meant that, once we came back in the New Year, we were back on schedule – and it felt like the programme had always been phased that way. It was an incredible effort.”
The rescheduling work has enabled McLaren to get its car ready in time for the first test, with the team today revealing that it will unveil its new McLaren Honda MP4-31 on February 21, one day ahead of the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain.