Build an all-new car and get it sorted with a new engine formula. Test in Jerez, then twice in Bahrain. Then compete in four Grands Prix over six weeks in four flyaway races.
You could say the Formula One fraternity is thankful to have had a three week break from racing since the Chinese Grand Prix on April 20, and make a return home to their European bases ahead of the European portion of the schedule, which begins with this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Here’s a mere sampling of quotes distributed by teams ahead of the weekend:
“It’s been good to have a bit of a break between races: for us as drivers and also for the team who have been working flat out for so many weeks. But after three great weekends in Malaysia, Bahrain and China I’m obviously keen to get on to the next one and continue that positive momentum into the next leg of the season,” said Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who’ll have his first ever chance at a four-peat this weekend.
“Formula One returns to Europe with the Spanish GP. A nice side aspect of that is that we are back in the Energy Station, which provides a lot of space for us and the team – it will become a little bit like home over the next few weeks!” offered four-time defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
“This race marks the start of the European season and it’s very important from one point of view – no more jet lag and a lot less flying!” said Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
Granted, though, the break does mean that you’ll start seeing teams run a bunch of updates to their chassis with the extra time in the factory.
“Barcelona follows the first three-week gap of the season after a near constant testing and racing itinerary since late January,” explained Mercedes’ team executive technical director Paddy Lowe. “For our trackside personnel in particular, it’s offered some respite and a chance to recharge the batteries for what is going to be a long year with the in-season tests also now on the calendar. The break in on-track action also presents an opportunity to work on the cars and to bring more new parts to the next event than you would see during back-to-back race weekends.”
We’ll see if anyone will have made the necessary upgrades to usurp and upend Mercedes at the front of the grid, while the battle rages for second in the Constructor’s Championship behind them.