While there is no formal obligation to shut a team for any length of time over the summer, a gentleman’s agreement between teams has led to a mutual two week ‘shutdown’ between over the four weeks. Teams therefore close their doors for two consecutive weeks at their convenience. Some teams choose the first two weeks, others the middle, but the concept is always the same : allow everyone a well-deserved holiday. Emails are forbidden, phones can’t be answered, servers are switched off…
Certain people are however exempt from the shutdown. PR and marketing staff, for example, who may have sponsor or media commitments or queries, can remain at work. Logistics personnel, who may have races and/or events to plan, and security and admin staff can also stay in the factory. Suppliers – including engine manufacturers – are not in the agreement and therefore can continue operations.
‘Renault Sport F1 isn’t a team so we are exempt from the shutdown if we choose. The calendar this year has been very hectic so trackside personnel and a number of design staff will use the break for a holiday, but Renault Sport F1 will still be officially open. Around 35% of the workforce will come to work on a daily basis,’ explains director of operations, Rémi Taffin. ‘We alternate holidays between staff so performance work is ongoing. We have a number of important upgrades coming for the second part of the year so it’s important to keep that running to the benefit of our partner teams and their performance later in the season. We’ve carried the momentum forward and the result in Hungary shows we are on the right trend now. Even though it seems like a holiday period for everyone, we’ll still be pushing hard.
‘Belgium is a pretty tough race to start again and we will begin preparations for the GP the week prior to the race. We’ll have the dynos running and engineers looking at settings to try and optimize performance at Spa. We travel to Belgium from the Monday of the race week so the time quickly goes. It’s great to have a holiday though and come back refreshed – there are a lot of races in the second part of the year and we have some aggressive targets to meet.’