Summer shutdown – Why does F1 fall silent for two weeks?

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Some hate it while others give a warm welcome to it. Fans might miss Formula One badly during its disappearance, but team members happily take the chance of charging up their batteries while being away from race action.

Over the last championship seasons, summer shutdown has become a lengthy period during August when Formula One exhales its tiredness from the first half of the season and in the meantime prepares itself for the similarly intense and action-packed second period.

The three-week-long summer break encompasses a period which is usually referred to as summer shutdown. The word describes not only the weeks without racing action, but it is actually a real stoppage. Article 21.8 of the Sporting Regulations obliges all teams to have a two-week-long period in August when their activities are heavily restricted.

The summer shutdown was introduced as part of cost-cutting measures. The costly development race is suddenly abandoned for two weeks which teams can save up huge amounts of resources with. Secondly, race calendars have become extremely long. If you think of the inaugural season of Formula One which consisted of seven race events, then the current 21-race-long calendar might seem crazily long, taking also into consideration that Formula One visits 21 countries in 5 continents.

Factories fall silent. Almost absolutely silent. Any work which intends to enhance the car performance is strictly forbidden during the period. It means that the Design Office, Machine Shop, Test and Development Department are empty and even some suppliers are affected by this shutdown.

However, some departments can stay open without any restrictions. Those include the Marketing, Finance and Legal Departments as these do not have direct impact on the car performance.

Interestingly, teams can define themselves which part of the summer break they nominate as the shutdown period, but this should be continuous. This break flies by quickly and once it is over, the factory is buzzing with noise again and every team member start pushing as hard as ever to end the season in the best possible way.