Mercedes 'still adapting' to new F1 schedule which hinders finding Lewis Hamilton solution

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Mercedes haven’t yet worked out the updated F1 weekend timetable amid a worrying start to the 2022 season, admits the Silver Arrows’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin. F1 changed the timetable in response to calls for the sport to take better care of drivers and team staff. And the limited time allowed to make changes to cars prior to a race is limiting the amount of work Mercedes can do in trying to find a solution to Lewis Hamilton’s porpoising issues.

The annual race calendar continues to expand, this season hosting 22 race weekends with the prospect of 23 if the Russian Grand Prix is replaced. And F1 has been pressured to put measures in place to protect personnel’s physical and mental health.

Due to expanded curfews, staff can no longer spend as much time working in the paddock at each event. But given Mercedes’ early-season woes, team personnel would likely appreciate more time to develop the W13. And Shovlin has explained how they are yet to adapt to the updated work hours.

He said: “Thursday, we used to be able to start whenever we wanted, but now there is a start and an end time to that. That gives you an 11-hour day which, for a day at the circuit, that is actually quite a short day. And also, on a Thursday, you are not allowed to fire up the power unit until 4pm in Europe.

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“And again, you are going to be finishing at 8pm on a normal Thursday, so that preparation time, the time to build the cars, has been much constrained. After qualifying, another shrinking of the time available, where the mechanics, by the time they get the cars back from the FIA, will only have a matter of half an hour before the covers are on.

“It does give us more free time at the weekend. You’re not working such long hours, and everyone can get a bit more sleep. But at the moment, we are still adapting to those changes and working out how to organise the workflow around the weekend.”

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