Formula One - On and Off track week 32

Formula One - On and Off track week 32

Formula One has gone fishing - an 'On and Off track' holiday special Formula One has gone fishing, for the teams' employees this means no e-mails, faxes, phone calls, text messages, meetings, working groups or other obligatory duties, and no ...


Formula One has gone fishing - an 'On and Off track' holiday special

Formula One has gone fishing, for the teams' employees this means no e-mails, faxes, phone calls, text messages, meetings, working groups or other obligatory duties, and no journalists asking difficult or inconvenient questions. The mandatory two-week summer break was originally intended to cut the costs in Formula One, all teams have to close their factory for two weeks, and this year the Formula One calendar has helped to extend the summer break with another two weeks until the Grand Prix of Belgium on August 29. While the employees will be enjoying their well-deserved summer break, some teams would rather have used those two weeks to work on the car.

Formula One are factories closed for two weeks.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Like Mercedes, Williams and Sauber, McLaren closed the doors of their base in Woking on Sunday at midnight after the Hungarian Grand Prix, but team principal Martin Whitmarsh would rather be working: "I would love not to have a shutdown and be ploughing on. It still seems odd to me to have a shutdown but it's probably good for people. We'll come back energized and fighting, ambitious and optimistic and inventive and we'll do what's necessary to make sure we can come back at these other teams."

Lewis Hamilton is worried his team will not be able to catch up with Red Bull and Ferrari as a result of the summer break. "Everything shuts down, they are in a good position where they have a good car already. They will come back and the car is still the same, whereas we would love to improve our car," the 2008 champion said. He will be spending some time with his girlfriend Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, but for privacy reasons refused to reveal his holiday destination.

According to the German Auto Bild magazine Hamilton will certainly not go to Australia, although Melbourne authorities have 'invited' him to attend a hearing on August 24 after being officially charged of 'intentionally losing control of a vehicle' after he had performed a few donuts and burn-outs on the public roads of Melbourne during the weekend of the Australian Grand Prix.

Jenson Button is somebody who likes active holidays, he participated in the London Triathlon for the second time last weekend. The yearly event attracts about 13,000 participants from all over the world. Button started in the Olympic Distance, group age 30-34, and finished in third place in a group of over 500 contenders. Button had to swim 1500 meters in the London Docklands, then jumped on his bike to cycle 38 km through the heart of London, and finally had to run 9.8 km to the finish line. He did all this in 2 hours, 14 minutes and 15 seconds.

Button during last year's London Triathlon.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Button, who had a mild case of tonsillitis the week before the event said, "I wasn't feeling very well at the start of the week, which is why I have come in a bit slower than last time round. I really didn't want to miss out on the weekend, though, as I had such a fantastic time here last year, so I just decided to battle through it." Button competes in triathlons all year to keep in shape for driving, and the money he raises goes to the "Make a Wish Foundation". He plans to spend this week at his house on the island of Guernsey.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg will attempt his first triathlon during his holiday, but he did not want to comment when asked where the event takes place. Rosberg about the triathlon said, "I have never done a triathlon before, it will be a whole new experience for me." Michael Schumacher was looking forward to his holiday, and he will spend it with his family. Mercedes motor sport chief Norbert Haug doesn't want to go on a holiday at all. "It is a sort of mandatory holiday for me. We are trying to catch up with our competitors, and I really don't want to stop while we are in the middle of it," Haug explained.

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel is also aiming for a more active holiday, and besides spending some time in Heppenheim he is planning to work on his condition. "I will use the time to replenish my energy reserves, and I will spend a lot of time working out," the 23-year old German said. He is preparing himself for the last and most important stint of the championship: "I will do anything I can to be as fit and healthy as I can be for the last races, every little bit counts."

His team colleague and leader in the Drivers' Championship Mark Webber said he would turn his phone off and will enjoy a holiday in the south of France. Virgin Racing's Timo Glock will also be in France after for filling some sponsor obligations. Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg is going to the east for a holiday in Turkey together with his girlfriend, Force India driver Adrian Sutil went to India after the race in Hungary and will spend the rest of his time in Switzerland, while his team colleague Vitantonio Liuzzi will be in Italy.

Rubens Barrichello will spend some time together with his wife Silvana and sons Eduardo and Fernando in Brazil. HRT test driver Christian Klien has spent a few days in Alicante, Spain and will be going to Switzerland. Sakon Yamamoto will spend the summer break in his home country Japan.

Engine supplier Cosworth also closes its doors. Mark Gallagher, "Cosworth is structured in such a way that Formula One operates as its own business unit. Although Cosworth will be closing its Formula One business unit, the other areas of the business, those focusing on other industries, will remain fully operational." Gallagher also praised his staff, "The Formula One staff at Cosworth, supported by their colleagues across Engineering, Electronics and Manufacturing have done a superb job this year and I think they all deserve a break after these 12 races."

Felipe Massa will be with his family in Brazil.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Ferrari and Toro Rosso shut down last Sunday, and Ferrari media boss Luca Colajanni will spend his holiday on the Maldives. Felipe Massa will spend some time in Brazil, "It is important for us drivers to have a rest after such a busy schedule in recent weeks and it is especially important for everyone in the team, who have worked so hard." But he now also has a job as a father, "I will be spending it [summer break] at home with my family here in Brazil, relaxing and spending time with my son, which actually is quite a full time job!"

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso about his summer break, "The break comes at the right time. July was very busy with three races in four weeks: drivers, mechanics, the whole team, we all need a rest after this rush." The Spaniard told he had no special plans, "I won't be doing anything special over the next few weeks. After leaving Maranello, I will stay with my family, partly in Switzerland and partly in Spain: no traveling, no airports, just relaxing!" But admitted he is also thinking about the race in Belgium, "At least once a day, maybe just for ten minutes, I will inevitably think about the next race in Belgium, I think it will be the same for everyone."

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicale is hoping to find some new ideas during his summer break. "Maybe one can even find fresh inspiration when outside the normal working environment and I expect this time to be a fertile one for ideas, which when all is said and done, are what make the difference," the Italian said. "We will be on holiday, but that does not mean our brains will stop working."

Adrain Newey had a heavy crash last weekend at Snetterton.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey had a bad start of his holiday, he crashed heavily during a race at the British Snetterton circuit last weekend. Newey had entered as a guest driver in the Ginetta G50 Cup, a supporting race to the British Touring Car Championship. After another competitor forced his Ginetta into a spin, his car ended in the middle of the track and was hit hard in the side by the Speedworks car of Tony Hughes. The race had to be red-flagged, and medics attended Newey at the scene and removed him from the car on a stretcher. Newey was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but he escaped without any serious injuries, he left the hospital the same night with a bruised arm and is now resting at home.

It wasn't the first time Newey was involved in a crash, during the 2006 Le Mans Classic he completely destroyed his Ford GT 40, and judging by the state of the car, it was a miracle he walked away unhurt. Two months later he had a bad crash in a Jaguar E-type during practice for the Goodwood Revival weekend, he spun across the grass and hit the barriers hard. Newey was unhurt, but had to spend the night in a hospital for check-ups. Perhaps next year Newey should really go fishing instead of wrecking exotic cars and spending his time in hospitals?

Probably the only one who has really gone fishing is Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn, he is a real fishing fanatic. During his sabbatical in 2006 he pursued one of his personal ambitions, he flew around the world enjoying an extended fishing holiday. "Fishing is a bit primitive at times, and I find that very appealing," the 55-year old Brawn confessed. And the biggest fish he ever caught? "Physically, a 200lb marlin which I caught off Mauritius. But often the greatest achievement is not with the biggest fish, it's catching a fish in very difficult circumstances which perhaps you shouldn't have caught. That's what appeals to me. Catching the biggest fish, for me, isn't the reason I do it."

And finally, the Red Bull website had a few tips for the summer break: Find a smart way to get rid of all the Red Bull cans you drank so far; read a book instead of spending your time behind the computer -- preferably a book about Formula One; learn the Austrian anthem; or if you are really bored: learn how to Photoshop in two weeks and see how Robert Kubica looks in Ferrari overalls...

Join us again next week for the weekly "Formula One: On and off track".


See also: Formula One - On and Off track week 31

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About this article
Series General , Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Fernando Alonso , Ross Brawn , Norbert Haug , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Vitantonio Liuzzi , Christian Klien , Robert Kubica , Timo Glock , Sebastian Vettel , Sakon Yamamoto , Adrian Sutil , Nico Hulkenberg , Adrian Newey , Martin Whitmarsh , Tony Hughes
Teams Sauber , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams , Virgin Racing