McLaren cars caught in F1 freight delay
By Mat Coch
Saturday 13th November, 2021 - 2:24am
McLaren’s Formula 1 cars only arrived at the Interlagos circuit on Thursday afternoon because of freight delays in the lead up to this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
A number of teams were impacted by the delay which saw the FIA suspend curfew rules for crews in an effort to allow those impacted to complete their necessary pre-race preparations.
McLaren, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo Sauber, and Haas were all affected, with Andreas Seidl admitting his team was forced to wait for the arrival of its cars.
“From our side, the main freight was missing, so we didn’t have the cars and the power units, which meant we could only start yesterday in the afternoon, rebuilding the cars,” the McLaren team principal said on Friday.
“With the arrival of the freight then shortly after lunchtime, we luckily are still in a position, thanks to a big push of the entire team, we were finished pretty much around midnight yesterday.”
Despite the late night, Seidl does not expect the extra effort to have a lasting impact for the balance of the weekend, though conceded it’s not the ideal preparation.
“You want to use, normally, Thursday night still to have a good rest for everyone,” he noted.
“We get serious on Friday on track, but again with finishing at midnight I think it was still, let’s say, a reasonable break.”
This weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix is the second leg of a triple-header, with F1 set to head to Qatar for the first time in its history next weekend.
However, while a vocal opponent of triple-headers, Seidl did not believe the schedule had anything to do with the delay.
“I think we need to clearly separate [the delay] from the discussion of triple-headers,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of double-headers in the past also, since many, many years, and you simply have to accept that sometimes things can happen.”
He also rejected suggestions the sport is opening itself up to situations as McLaren and others experienced this week by the very nature of its busy schedule.
That is set to get even busier next year, with one additional race in a season that’s set to finish by the end of November.
“In the end, we know what the calendar is like now next year, we have 23 races with an earlier finish of the season than previous years, which is a positive,” Seidl said.
“Of course, that makes it an even more balance between the first and the last race, but it is positive seeing how big the interest is in the different countries, tracks, to host a Formula 1 race.
“Obviously we as a team are also highly interested in the commercial growth of Formula 1, and it’s simply down to us as a team that we work together with our team members in a very inclusive way.
“We’ll find ways how we make this race calendar sustainable for us as a team, and for our people, and that’s a challenge we are in now.”
Opening practice for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix begins at 02:30 AEDT.