mechanics on the verge of failure


The Formula 1 calendar continues to grow. This has effects on the personal life and the efficiency of the mechanics employed in the stables. One of them alerts F1 fans.

Formula 1 championship calendar is increasingly provided. In 2023, it will count a total of 23 races, a record in the discipline. This data creates a problem for members of the 10 teams involved. The season is not only lengthened, but the break times between the Grand Prix are also shortened.

To believe the words of one anonymous mechanic, who gave a interview to our colleagues at home Motorsports.com, this generates a mental distress. The members of each team are not considered by the leaders, in particular at the level of complaints about their health.

According to him, the life of a Formula 1 mechanic is not easy, despite an intact passion:

 » The working hours are numerous. From the Wednesday preceding a race to the following Sunday evening, these are days of at least 12 hours. You don’t realize what it takes of you until you go back to work at the factory and a normal eight hour day is almost comical because it seems so short! In fact, we do not realize the abnormal life we ​​lead on the road before returning home.

What’s especially difficult is the fact that it’s hard work, with no recovery time. You work from the moment you get off the plane, and it can be after a really crappy flight where you’ve been crammed into economy and haven’t or very little sleep. « 

The triple headers (three races in three weekends) tire organizations:

“You are not only mentally tired, you are also physically exhausted. As the season progresses there are a lot of injuries. The teams have doctors and physiotherapists to take care of you, but the easiest solution is to give yourself pain medication to keep you going. There is no way an ordinary doctor will give you what we are given so that we can continue.Those who do not want to take painkillers turn to alcohol, which is not very good either …

On top of all this, the COVID rules have added another point of stress, especially as teams like to manage the testing schedule based on what’s best for them rather than the individual. Some teams don’t want you to test too early, in case that gets in the way of qualifying or racing. Instead, they prefer that you wait as late as possible for your pre-return PCR. « 

Despite everything, some instructions were heard by the teams. We are talking here in particular of the curfew instituted by the FIA, in order to prevent teams from working too late on a race weekend. But this remains insufficient, some members of the pitlane are close to burnout :

“We have the impression that the managers do not want to evaluate their mechanics and technicians because they would be afraid of the results. If they know the results, they know they have to act on it and, at the end of the day, a mechanic isn’t important enough to care or spend extra money. So some of us have the feeling that if we mentally break down – and I know colleagues who have – there is no extra support for us. No one will come and catch up with us.

A lot of times when people talk about the stresses and strains of F1’s gigantic schedule, they say if you don’t like it you can go. Some team bosses even said it. But this attitude shows how out of touch some are with the reality of what is needed in F1, and this belief that you can simply replace personnel like replacing light bulbs.

In addition to the maddening pace and the enormous work and responsibility load, it is the salary of employees who empathize with the new rule of budget caps. To inject more money into cars and performance-related materials, teams deprive their mechanics of certain increases and an interest in climbing the hierarchy:

“Also, as teams try to keep expenses down due to cost caps, they just can’t afford pay increases that keep pace with inflation. This will therefore block wages and kill the employment market in F1, which will find itself behind the other series. There is a strange scenario where it is almost better to go to work in Formula 2, Formula E or WEC for a slightly lower salary, but doing almost half the number of races and without having to put up with all the hassle of doing it. ‘a calendar of 23 races. It shouldn’t be that way.

For this, the person in question offers a panel of solutions. Some just going to salary review to balance incomes in an era of capped budgets. Or even at comfort of life, for example to offer flights in upper class to provide a certain comfort and better rest between weekends which follow one another at lightning speed. But the solution which is particularly obvious is that of staff turnover.

Photo: Icon Sport

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