RACING

What is the F1 summer break, why does it happen and how long does it last?

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After a grueling 13 races in 20 weeks, the Formula 1 paddock enters a summer break in August immediately after the Hungarian GP.

There will be no official F1 track action for an entire month, with the teams meeting again at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps from August 26-28.

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That means more than three weeks off from the F1 circus and traveling around the world, and while everyone involved will be able to enjoy some well-deserved time off, that doesn’t mean it’s all over for the whole period.

paddock atmosphere

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

What is the Formula 1 summer break?

F1’s summer break is so vital every season that it’s written into the sporting regulations, with penalties for teams that don’t follow the rules.

In a global sense, F1’s summer break is the period between the last race in July – for 2022 this is the Hungarian GP from July 29-31 – until the first race in late August or early September. This year, it’s the Belgian GP from August 26 to 28.

For teams, when they have no official races or tests to attend or prepare for until the end of the F1 summer vacation, there is also a mandatory team factory shutdown where the work is individually limited to only basic functions to ensure the proper functioning of the team.

This rule is implemented by article 21.8 of the FIA ​​F1 sporting regulations: “All competitors must respect a rest period of fourteen (14) consecutive days during the months of July and/or August.”

During this period, teams cannot work on the design, development or production of automotive parts, including planning or holding meetings.

Blowers or machined parts are also not allowed to operate at any time during the 14-day period, but essential work such as servicing and maintenance is permitted.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, makes a pit stop during FP2

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22, makes a pit stop during FP2

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

F1 teams can repair damaged cars but must obtain FIA permission to operate, while all non-F1 team related tasks are permitted.

F1 teams are allowed to activate its 14-day shutdown period at any time during the summer holidays, with the majority of teams opting for two weeks in between to allow time to unpack the previous race and prepare for the next race after stopping.

But F1 teams don’t need to run the 14-day shutdown at the same time, so some teams may start or end the period earlier than others.

The summer break was still in use during the 2020 season affected by COVID-19, when it was brought forward to March and April to allow the season to start and run simultaneously from July.

Although the rules of the sporting regulations apply to all teams, they usually also come into play for the FIA, race officials, suppliers, media and other stakeholders involved in the series who ensure that F1 can to run.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Why is Formula 1 taking a summer break?

Since the F1 calendar has ballooned to over 20 races each season, the summer break has been put in place to ensure time off is granted, with rules put in place to prevent teams from exploit it to gain a competitive advantage.

It is also a means of controlling costs, having been installed well before the F1 team cost cap, as it means every F1 team has to put development and research work on hold.

It also allows team personnel to spend time away from F1 and work, relax and recuperate with family and friends, before action resumes in the frantic race rush until the end of the season.

Given that the F1 teams are hard at work as soon as the Christmas holidays end, this is the first real period of work stoppage for many departments in each team. It also acts as a timely break before work resumes for the end of the season and then the focus shifts to the following campaign.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

What happens during the F1 summer break?

What happens during the summer break varies with each department of an F1 team, but for the vast majority all work stops during the 14 day break. This covers all areas that work specifically on the performance or operation of the F1 team and cars from top to bottom.

Only a few departments are allowed to continue working, those that have no direct impact on the performance of the car: mainly marketing, finance and legal.

Outside of the mandatory 14-day shutdown period, all areas of an F1 team are allowed to operate as normal and within the usual regular season rules and allowances.

F1 drivers also benefit from the break and usually only debrief with the team the day after the last race before the summer break and fulfill any media or marketing commitments. Afterwards, the riders are free to go on vacation and usually return to the team factory during the week before the next race to work in the simulator.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44

Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW44

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

When will Formula 1 return?

The 2022 F1 season resumes after the summer break with the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps from August 26-28, which kicks off the final nine races held over the next 12 weeks.

The season ends with the Abu Dhabi GP from November 18-20.

2022 F1 race schedule after summer break

  • Belgian GP – August 26-28
  • Dutch GP – September 2-4
  • Italian GP – September 9-11
  • Singapore GP – September 30-October 2
  • Japanese GP – October 7-9
  • United States GP – October 21-23
  • Mexico City GP – October 28-30
  • Sao Paulo GP – November 11-13
  • Abu Dhabi GP – November 18-20

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