Mercedes Technical Director Explains Why Drivers Can't Help Their Team Over Winter Break

F1
by Adam OndrikTuesday, 23 January 2024 at 01:00
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Mercedes's technical director, James Allison, explained why F1 drivers can't really contribute to the team throughout the majority of the winter break.
F1 drivers are chosen by their teams mainly based on their performance on track because that is the main part of their job. Besides racing, they usually also give feedback to the team on the car and participate in marketing activities as they are the faces of their teams.
However, now that we are in the middle of the break, F1 drivers can't race, they can't give much feedback because they are not racing, and there are also zero to no media obligations. Allison told motorsport.com:

"Both drivers [Hamilton and Russell], their role over the winter is very largely to look after their physical condition, make sure that they're mentally prepared, and just stay in touch with us about our successes and failures as we are going through the hoops of getting the car specified, built, tested and ready for them."

The 55-year-old also suggested this is the primary reason why Hamilton's success next year isn't currently in his hands. He is dependent on the car he gets and can't influence it much right now.

"It isn't really a part of the year where they can have other than an observing role with what we're doing."

The car can already be driven on the simulator. However, the team has different drivers whose job is to drive a simulator. Hamilton's and Russell's feedback will be important when the pre-season tests in Bahrain begin on the 21st of February. Allison added:

"Once the car is running and once the car is talking to us, the person that is the interpreter is the driver, and then their voices start to have much greater weight. So over the winter, it’s just getting themselves ready for the new challenge."