Mercedes technical director James Allison predicts there will be an “explosion of creative effort” within the Formula 1 team once the coronavirus-enforced shutdown ends. 

F1 teams are currently observing a mandatory shutdown period until at least the end of May with the 2020 season suspended because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, after the FIA extended the halt on manufacturing and development from 35 to 63 days last week.

Mercedes stunned its rivals with the introduction of its dual-axis steering system during pre-season testing and Allison reckons the German manufacturer’s innovative ways will continue in a similarly impressive manner once the team’s factories reopen.

“We are of course in an industry shutdown because if we can’t race we can’t earn, if we can’t earn we shouldn’t spend,” Allison said in an in-house Mercedes interview published on YouTube. 

“And so shutdown is the most sensible way for us to traverse this difficult period.

“But it doesn’t mean that your brain shuts off completely and up and down our company there will be many an engineer who is sitting there pondering how to put themselves to making the car faster when we do eventually return to work.

“I think this break will prompt all sorts of creative ideas in our team because quite often the best ideas come when you’re faced with a different challenge, when your mind is running free and doing different things.

“So I suspect when we get back having had our creativity and our efforts stymied by this virus, we’ll have an explosion of creative effort amongst the whole team.”

Mercedes' latest F1 car once again appeared to be the package to beat in pre-season but the team’s wait must continue to see if it has created another title-winning machine, with its W11 yet to turn a wheel in anger.

“Having put all the effort into making the new cars, having been through that pre-season headlong rush and enjoyment and excitement of getting ready for the season and then to just have nothing leaves you feeling a little bereft,” Allison explained.

“I guess there is in the back of my mind the comforting thought that I know it will start again. I know we will get to race with the car that we put so much effort into, but that can’t come soon enough for me. 

“I’m really looking forward to it and I know that everybody in the team is looking forward to it as well.”

 

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