Right now, our favorite F1 drivers (and their respective teams) are chilling the fuck out after racing for six months. In fact, they are all able to enjoy a short holiday for the next few weeks, and then return in relaxed, but race-ready form for Belgium. Now, if you’re fairly new to Formula 1, especially if you’re one of the shiny, new fans thanks to the Netflix series Drive to Survive, then the concept of the series’ “Summer Shutdown” may elude you. But worry not, Andrew Shovlin, Engineer for the Mercedes-Benz AMG Petronas F1 team, explains it for us.
In a tweet from the Mercedes team, Shovlin, or “Shov” takes viewers through why there is a summer shutdown, and it’s not just for a breezy break after traveling around the world for six months. It’s actually mandated in the rules.
The regulation requires every F1 team to stop work for 14 consecutive days. All development, analysis — really any work to be done to the car has to be stopped, unless it is pre-approved by the FIA. Teams and drivers are even prohibited from reading emails. However, teams are able to do maintenance to prepare for the 50 more weeks of racing ahead.
It’s a lot of hands off, and lets everyone just catch up with themselves for a bit. I like to equate it to working on a stubborn project that you just can’t find a solution to. You sometimes take a break, stop working on it for a bit to relax and when you return, you have a breakthrough.
Some teams come back in better form after break. Some turn into completely different teams (in a bad way). But one thing is for sure, the racing will still be good. Except maybe for Ferrari.