Mercedes Brackley factory, 2018

F1 teams in discussions to add second factory shutdown during winter

2023 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams are working on introducing a winter factory shutdown similar to the current summer shutdown period for 2023.

Following regulations introduced in 2013, teams have been mandated to restrict factory work for 14 days to both save costs and also relieve pressure on staff, giving them time to go on holidays.

The break usually takes place in August when F1 has a gap of several weeks in the race schedule. All performance-related work is stopped, but departments or roles that focus on human resources, logistics and finances, and also media and marketing, are allowed to continue work.

The shutdown is now a core part of F1, and has become more important as the schedule has grown. In 2013 19 races were held but the 2023 F1 calendar features a record-breaking 24 rounds.

This year marks the first time since 2018 that the season has finished before December, but racing will start almost two weeks earlier than usual in 2023 as the world championship begins on March 5th.

The last time F1 began that early was in 2002, and only starting before March 5th twice in the 19 years before that.

“I think it’s great that the season finishes this couple of weeks earlier than in the past because everyone is really on the limiter, and I think we plan to introduce a shutdown in the coming year,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said on Saturday at last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

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“Not everyone is in agreement, but I would very much hope that we can do that for our staff. Having this week, couple of weeks more, is definitely a nice welcome. But on the other side, there’s many people in the factory who are going to work flat-out all through the Christmas and New Year. But for the race team, that’s clocking many air miles, that’s positive.

“There’s many of us team principals that would like to replicate what we have in the summer. At least starting at Christmas and then going into the new year for two weeks. But obviously that’s still being up for discussion, but there was a positive indication. For the well-being of the [team].”

His counterpart at Alpine, Otmar Szafnauer, expects the plan will go ahead in 2023. “This year it isn’t happening, so it’ll be next year,” he said.

“Christmas, it’s one of those things that always happens on the same day every year. It’s not like Thanksgiving. So I think it’s from the 23rd [of December]. So I think everyone gets Christmas Eve and Christmas day off. But that week, through to the start of the year.”

Szafnauer also believes the change will be positive for the sport. “The way I look at it is we’re doing more and more races. And if you don’t force shutdowns, people work through because it’s a strategic advantage. So if you remove that advantage, meaning everyone’s got to take it off, I think it’s good for all of us.”

As there is no winter shutdown at present restricting work, Szafnauer says Alpine’s wind tunnel “usually only shuts down two days”, for Christmas and New Year’s Day. “We used to shut it down two days, that’s it. So if you don’t force that [shutdown], you don’t get any time off.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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19 comments on “F1 teams in discussions to add second factory shutdown during winter”

  1. Wait, so there will be no mention about one of the craziest overtaking manoevers in the history of motorsport that happend last weekend in Nascar? I wish Racefans was really more Racefans than F1Fanatic :(

    1. I don’t think that’s realistic to expect with a small team as Racefans is running with to cover huge number of series, it’s clear they’re mostly focusing on single seater series centered around F1, but also Indycar and Formula E. But the video of that overtake was shared in Tuesday’s round up.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      3rd November 2022, 11:28

      Was this the best article to attach to?

    3. It was mentioned in one of the daily news roundups a few days ago i believe.

      Should never have been allowed to stand. Driver should have been given a penalty but of course since napcar is all show and no sport such reckless, dangerous and unsporting moves will be allowed up until the point a big accident is caused when someone else tries is and gets it wrong.

      Was a ridiculous thing created by a ridiculous non championship system in a show that isn’t a sport.

      1. What? Shouldn’t have stood? No wonder f1 is lost. If they don’t want everyone to ride the wall on the last turn they should write something down rather than pull a Wittich.

    4. I was included in the Round up the other day by including a tweet from Fernando about it.

    5. What a dumb comment to make on an article about something completely non relevant.

      Get a grip 😂

    6. You mean that hail Mary move that will not benefit Chastain in the long run and will immediately be made illegal because it was dangerous and irresponsible, not to mention ludicrous and hilarious and expensive? Yeah we all saw that. I think you misjudge your audience here, amian.

    7. I am sure i saw the video of that several days ago on this site and the comment that it should be forbidden for safety reasons (deliberate damaging your car is dangerous)

  2. Except Red Bull. Who are probably about to cancel all Christmas leave.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      3rd November 2022, 11:27

      I thought it funny when Toto made some crack at working in the summer and Horner went overboard re-stating the regulations.

  3. A mandated factory shutdown through the Christmas & New Year phases would be good.
    However, as Otmar pointed out, mandatory rather than voluntary would indeed be necessary because the latter would mean everyone working anyway to avoid even the smallest chance of handing a competitive advantage to rivals by doing less work than them.

  4. Just further highlights that there are too many races now.

    But money is clearly more important than the good of the sport and those who actually work the most hours within it.

    Already saw some reports earlier in the year about an increase in staff turnover and i expect that is only going to get worse as more simply decide to walk away rather than put up with the increasing ridiculous number of races as well as the apparently brutal double and triple header weekends.

    Sports going in the wrong direction on several fronts and hen the bubble it’s in bursts it’s going to end up far more worse off.

    1. Just further highlights that there are too many races now.


    2. The last race is on 20 November, so it’s already much better than last year.

      Not sure the windtunnel is the best example to use in this case as its use is already capped in the regulations. If people won’t use it during those days, it’ll simply mean more windtunnel work in other parts of the year. Teams aren’t going to give up windtunnel time.

    3. Great comment, I could not agree more.

  5. F1 is becoming socialistic. If a few teams can’t spend $$$$, then the top teams won’t be allowed to either? If 1 team wants to take holidays, all the teams must comply?
    I think everyone is seeing that the budget cap had zero impact on team performance. Even with Ferrari, Merc, and RB spending +$200M less, they are still 1,2,3…
    How about having a minimum spending floor of $200M… If you cant, sell your team to someone who can (the world is not short of billionaires wishing to own sports team).
    What value is there in supporting non competitive teams? All they do is create yellow flags during the race. How about only allowing teams that get out of Q1 to race on Sunday? F1 is about pushing the boundaries not about charity for crappy teams who will never win.

  6. While I am in favor of mandating the holidays be taken off for the good of the employees, this will be an advantage for the large teams. Smaller teams who are pushed to the limit to produce a car on time are going to struggle even more to have a car ready for pre-season testing with this. They will have to push the development cycle for their next year’s car earlier in the year at the cost of developing their car throughout the current season.

  7. One of the things that makes F1 unusual is that it started out as a constructors championship, not a drivers championship, and the ongoing engineering and development of cars was the major part of the sport. Sadly, every regulation change nowadays seems to be about fitting more into the TV scheduling window, to the detriment of engineering time.

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