The 2021 Formula One season starts two weeks later than originally planned due to the postponement of the Australian Grand Prix. This means that all schedules in the factories of the F1 teams can be thrown out. These two extra weeks provide them with extra opportunities.
A seasonal start delayed by two weeks could be seen by many as a moment of rest. Some extra time to produce parts, for example. But that is not how it works in Formula 1. Most teams choose to use this extra time to further develop the car and thus hopefully make it even faster.
The production of parts then becomes, as usual, a fight against the deadline. Piers Thynne, the man who oversees the production of parts at the McLaren factory, explained to Auto Motor und Sport: "But that's how it is in Formula 1: if you don't have problems, then you just haven't been aggressive enough during development. If you don't push your limits, you lose speed."
Change of power unit brings many changes
As McLaren are the only team driving with a different engine this season after the switch from Renault to Mercedes, they are also the only ones having extra work to do with it. "We had to fundamentally change the whole back end of the chassis and the gearbox," says Thynne. And it didn't stop there.
"This also affected the positioning of many other components. The complete cooling system and the many pipes for fluids and air had to be changed, as well as all the cabling," says the McLaren man, who has calculated that the car for 2021 has as many new parts as in 2020. Despite this, the FIA has tried to keep production costs down for 2021 by restricting the development of the car as much as possible.