Although F1 teams are currently observing a 63-day shutdown period, Mercedes engineers may come up with some innovations when the sport revives, says the team’s technical director James Allison.
Formula 1 has been in lockdown practically since the Australian Grand Prix that was called off just two hours before the first free practice session was due to begin. Due to governments’ decisions which have limited the non-essential work in many countries, the sport has been brought forward its traditional summer shutdown period and has extended it on two occasions since.
The shutdown had been extended to engine manufacturers that are usually not affected by this restriction. Although the legal and marketing departments are allowed to operate even under lockdown, engineers cannot work on the performance of the cars. Despite this long time away from the factories, Mercedes technical boss James Allison is sure that his engineers are weighing up different ways to make the team’s W11 even faster for the time when the cars finally hit the track for the first time in the 2020 season.
“But it doesn’t mean that your brain shuts off completely and up and down our company there will be an engineer who is sitting there pondering how to put themselves to making the car faster when we do eventually return to work,” Allison said in a video message uploaded by Mercedes.
“I think this break will prompt all sorts of creative ideas in our team because quite often the best ideas come when you’re faced with a different challenge, when your mind is running free and doing different things.”
Allison is looking forward to the first race weekend to experience the W11 in race action. Mercedes’ new car appeared to be the field-leading machine again in winter testing, showing excellent speed both in short and long runs.
“Having put all the effort into making the new cars, having been through that pre-season headlong rush and enjoyment and excitement of getting ready for the season and then to just have nothing leaves you feeling a little bereft."
Despite the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Allison is sure that the field will race again in 2020. „I guess there is in the back of my mind the comforting thought that I know it will start again. I know we will get to race with the car that we put so much effort into, but that can’t come soon enough for me,” he concluded.