F1 currently has
a two-week lockdown over the summer break, which is enshrined in regulations to ensure staff have time off during peak season by forcing teams to pause operations.
Although all teams make sure that staff are free during Christmas and the winter, there is nothing in the sporting regulations that requires them to close in the off-season.
But discussions in the Formula 1 Sporting Advisory Committee, where teams are represented by their sporting directors, have revealed that a winter break has now been proposed.
This would result in taking a similar approach to the summer shutdown, by including a fixed period in the rules during which all teams must pause operations and employees have time off.
Motorsport.com assumes that discussions of a winter shutdown in the Sporting Advisory Committee are not yet far advanced and that there is no full agreement between the teams.
But the signs were positive,
according to Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, who felt it was an important step to protect the welfare of employees.
“There are many of us team managers who would like to repeat what we have in the summer, at least from Christmas and for two weeks in the new year,” explained Wolff.
“Of course, that is still up for discussion. But there was a positive indication, for the benefit of the people.”
With the season finale scheduled for November 20 in Abu Dhabi, this year marks the earliest end of a season since 2010, when the title showdown took place on November 14.
This year’s premature end was a consequence of the FIFA World Cup, which starts on the same day as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Qatar and lasts until mid-December.
F1 held its final race of each of the last three seasons in December, running through December 13, 2020 and December 12, 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced calendar changes.
With just one pre-season test scheduled in Bahrain next year before the season opener on March 5, it will be the longest winter break the staff have enjoyed in several years.
“It’s great that the season ends these few weeks earlier than in the past because everyone is really on edge,” Wolff said.
“Having two more weeks this week is definitely a nice welcome, but on the other hand there are a lot of people in the factory who will be working flat out between Christmas and New Year.
“But for the racing team, which has racked up a lot of air miles, this is positive.”