The F1 calendar will swell again next year, with a series of… 24 races planned throughout the year.
Will it therefore be necessary to set up a rotation of teams going from circuit to circuit? This subject has been discussed for a long time but it is still difficult to see the reality… especially among small teams with fewer human resources.
Dave Robson, Director of Performance, takes stock: So will Williams choose to rotate?
“Yes, it will be interesting. It’s new to all of us. And there are pros and cons to rotating some of the key engineering positions. Obviously I can’t speak for the other teams, but we’ll probably see different approaches. We’ve introduced some rotation in 2022, so you’ll hear different voices speaking to drivers at different races. That’s what we’ve been doing for a season and a half in preparation for an extended calendar. »
“It’s not just the number of races, it’s also the way they are organised, their sequence. So it’s very difficult. If you travel all the races, then you spend very little time in the factory and it’s not very useful for developing the car. So yeah the rotation is probably going to be important for the long term future of the engineering team and the mechanics so we’re going to have to implement some rotation it’s just a matter of how we do it what is the most efficient way. »
Ayao Komatsu, director of engineering at Haas, specifies another added value of the rotation: in addition to saving energy, the rotation of the teams improves communication within the team.
“You know, it’s so important to have a good integration between the people on the track and the people in the factory. If we don’t rotate, the teams going to the circuits don’t see what’s going on at the factory and then communication becomes a problem. We have already started a little this year in some positions, and we are already seeing the benefit. »
“It’s not very realistic to think that during the 24 events you don’t have any spare personnel, that everyone can do the 24 races without getting sick or anything, so it’s is important. »
“But it also allows us to improve communication between the track and the factory and that’s positive. So yes, we definitely considered a slightly different model next year. »
Race engineers with drivers banned from rotation?
At Mercedes, technical director Mike Elliott thinks first and foremost about the level of fatigue of his people.
“What’s important is finding the right balance between having people who are fresh and able to do their jobs as best they can, but also having the continuity you need between engineers. . So I think a certain level of rotation will have to be put in place and it will be different for different positions and roles in the team, probably trying to adapt it to the needs of the individuals. Because it will be important. »
However, will the race engineers with the drivers (for example ‘Bono’ for Lewis Hamilton, Pierre Hamelin for Pierre Gasly, etc.) really be able to avoid going from Grand Prix to Grand Prix? Isn’t it important that a driver has the same engineer all the time?
Mike Elliott elaborates on this point.
“It’s really a question for the drivers, but it’s important. I think with the technology that we have around us, it’s not like the race engineers can’t be involved, they’d just be involved from the factory, for example, and then at least you wouldn’t don’t have to do the flights etc. So I think there is a balance to be struck. »
« Most drivers – I would like to know their opinion – probably want to have their own race engineer because they are used to working with them, there is a relationship that is created between the engineer and the driver, meaning you pick up on all the cues that aren’t spoken, you are able to pick up on body language and use it to your advantage. And if you’re working with a complete stranger, it’s difficult. »
“It will be up to the team to find a way around this problem and it will probably mean that the person the driver is working with is not a new face. But someone they’re used to working with. »