F1 staff will find remote working "phenomenally difficult"

Formula 1 bosses and engineers will find it ‘phenomenally difficult’ to do their job remotely in the future, says senior Williams figure Dave Robson.

F1 staff will find remote working "phenomenally difficult"

The rapid expansion of the F1 calendar, which has scheduled 23 grands prix next year with plans for that figure to increase to 24 in the longer term, has prompted questions about the strains being put on staff who attend all the races.

Team bosses Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto have already made it clear that they want to try to skip races from next season, and senior engineering staff are also considering if they should take on a less taxing schedule.

However, Williams’ head of vehicle performance Robson believes that while technology does make it possible to work remotely from factories over grand prix weekends, there are some things that are missed by not being present at tracks.

Robson missed the recent Turkish Grand Prix and felt that there were some unexpected complications that came in not being a part of the garage team.

“I can do everything remotely, I am all geared up [at the factory] but it is phenomenally difficult,” he said. “You realise how much of the nuance and how many conversations you miss, and how difficult it is to tie things together.

"It is not easy - especially when the conditions are like they [were in Turkey]. If it had been a straightforward and dry weekend, I think it would have been a lot easier, partly because I wouldn’t have felt the need to get involved, and partly because I think it would have been easier with fewer unusual things to worry about.”

Mercedes chief Wolff said that the growing number of races would prompt teams to make plans for more staff rotation, amid the risk of burnout from forcing people to work so many weekends.

"You must not forget that the hardest working people are the ones that set up the garages and take them down and the mechanics that will have overnighters if something goes wrong," he said.

"You need to question how long that is sustainable and whether you implement a different system by having a second crew that can take over these toughest roles. This is something we are looking at at the moment."

The calendar expansion is encouraging more staff to work from factories rather than constantly travel, but F1 has been considering a ban on the ‘remote garages’ that teams have set up at the factories for those who don't want to travel.

While these bases have proved invaluable in recent years, as they run strategy and engineering options throughout grand prix weekends, Robson thinks teams would be able to operate perfectly fine without them if they had to.

“It is possible to live without them,” he said. “If you go back far enough in time, they wouldn’t have existed and the team on the ground can do a perfectly good job of keeping the car safe and legal, which are the two most important things.

“So you could manage without it so as long as everyone was following the same rules as they were then. It could be done, whether overall it would be better I don’t know."

An engineer at work in the garage

An engineer at work in the garage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

shares
comments

Related video

Wolff has no qualms with Hamilton being "polarising"

Previous article

Wolff has no qualms with Hamilton being "polarising"

Next article

Why F1’s new leader marks a break from the past

Why F1’s new leader marks a break from the past
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021