Mercedes technical director James Allison is expecting his team to deliver “all sorts of creative ideas” once the extended mandatory shutdown within Formula 1 comes to an end.
The FIA announced on Tuesday that the number of consecutive days that teams must not carry out development and manufacturing activities has been extended from 35 days to 63. Given the unprecedented amount of time that engineers are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allison believes there will be a clear impact when Mercedes returns to its factory.
“We are of course in an industry shutdown because if we can’t race we can’t earn; if we can’t earn we shouldn’t spend, and so shutdown is the most sensible way for us to traverse this difficult period,” Allison said. “But it doesn’t mean that your brain shuts off completely and up and down our company there will be many an engineer who is sitting there pondering how to make the car faster when we do eventually return to work.
“I think this break will prompt all sorts of creative ideas in our team, because quite often the best ideas come when you are faced with a different challenge, when your mind is running free and doing different things. So I suspect when we get back — having had our creativity and our effort stymied by this virus — I suspect that when we get back we will have an explosion of creative effort among the whole team.”
Allison admits he is desperate to get back to racing, having not seen this year’s W11 turn a wheel during a race weekend yet as the opening 10 rounds of the 2020 season have either been canceled or postponed.
“The season gives a sort of structure and purpose and discipline to the lives of anyone who’s lucky enough to be in a Formula 1 team. It is really, really strange being at home at Easter, for example. I can’t remember the last time I was home at Easter.
“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.
“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. I’m really looking forward to it and I know that everybody in the team is looking forward to it as well.”