McLaren to perform "open-heart surgery" on its car
Andreas Seidl has revealed there will be no rest for McLaren over the winter due to the team performing what he has described as "open-heart surgery" on its race car.
The campaign ends in just over five weeks' time, concluding with an exhausting triple-header in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi to complete 17 races in less than six months as Formula 1 has battled on through the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the winter break likely cannot come soon enough for all the teams, for McLaren staff they face the sizeable challenge of changing power unit supplier and integrating the Mercedes system into the MCL36 after three years of working with Renault.
Looking ahead to the off-season, during which there will only be one pre-season test - likely to be just three days in Bahrain - Seidl said: "Obviously, in terms of the task we as McLaren have to do over the winter, it’s still a big task we have ahead of us because of the change of the power unit. It’s open-heart surgery on the race car.
“But independent of that, we are trying already to reduce as much as we can the workload on the race team members in the winter, and doing one test less also helps in terms of the intensity of the winter programme.”
Despite the lack of testing, the shortened winter break comes ahead of what will be a record-breaking campaign of 23 races next season - Covid-19 permitting.
Seidl has confirmed he and CEO Zak Brown would prefer fewer races to help with the long-term health of its staff, particularly those who travel.
There have been suggestions of a number of two-day weekends for next season to assist with the potential workload, although nothing has been confirmed.
Looking ahead towards a potential juggling campaign in 2021, Seidl added: “I think it is not a secret that we have said several times, Zak and myself, that we would be more in favour of doing fewer races, maybe 20.
"We could go for a way of alternating races from year to year to make sure you can still visit different locations and also go to new tracks or to tracks where we haven’t been in the past, like we have seen this year, and then do fewer races and create more value around these races with more exclusivity.
“But in the end, that is a decision for F1. Formula 1 is in charge of seeing what is the best way forward with all the analysis they are doing there and also we trust them to make the right decisions.
“In terms of the format, I think a two-day format is definitely something that will help to reduce the workload on our people.
“Especially in the period of these triple-headers it could help, let’s say spending more time at home for our mechanics and engineers.
"Friday night is always very intensive in terms of work, so here the compact weekend we did at the Nürburgring and Imola would help.
“It’s definitely a discussion that we are absolutely open for and we will definitely have with Formula 1 going forward.”
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