COVID-19 protocols will ‘challenge’ crews in the garage – Green

Racing Point technical director Andy Green says physical distancing and safety protocols will impact life in the garage this year, with lead times associated with many tasks increasing significantly.

Racing Point warmed up its 2020 car and crews at a filming day at Silverstone yesterday, the purpose of which was mainly to practice part of the special COVID-19 procedures that shall be implemented at the start of the season in Austria in just over two weeks.

From social distancing to working with PPE equipment, the pink outfit trialed its protocols as applied to various tasks within the confines of the team’s garage and gained a lot of knowledge.

    Racing Point warms up 2020 car with filming day at Silverstone

“It’s very different, and it’s going to be a real challenge going forward,” said Green.

“It’s basically down to respecting the distance between engineers when they are working on the car, and the type of personal protection they have to wear.

“That effectively changes the time it takes to do jobs on the car.

“Certain jobs now take a lot longer, and we have to manage that. We only have a certain amount of time trackside to work on the car when we’re in a race environment, and we have curfews in place.

“So we have to now look at how long it takes to change and modify parts on the car that we would normally do, reschedule them so we make sure that we are doing what we’re doing what we need to do during a race weekend, and not contravening the curfew regulations.

“That’s a big part of what we were trying to learn yesterday.”

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With lead times now significantly increased, unexpected issues – such as a power unit change – will challenge crews and possibly jeopardise a driver’s session.

“We hope we don’t have to do one in a hurry, that’s for sure!” said Green. “I suspect changing an engine now will take twice as long as it used to.

“Only certain members of the crew are working on the car at any one time, and that really does limit the speed at which you can do a power unit change. Depending when a power unit is required, it’s going to be very challenging.

“What you don’t want to do is try and do too much in a weekend now, that’s the clear message that we’ve got out of it.

“We’ve got to be really careful that we focus on the important part of the weekend, get that done right, get that done efficiently, and then you look at all the other areas. It just focuses your attention much more.

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“It’s more a case of making sure that the car is built correctly, and robustly, so that we don’t have to go in and change things that we wouldn’t normally want to change.

“So reliability is going to be a key factor in keeping things running super smoothly. Once you get a big reliability issue then that’s going start putting strain on the team, to get parts repaired or modified in time.”

But Green also stressed the importance of drivers being mindful of staying out of trouble as much as possible, as unforeseen incidents will only add to the difficulty of the arduous tasks.

“We’ve got two drivers who should be aware that if they do go off during a practice session and do a lot of damage it potentially could take a lot longer to repair,” he warned. “I think they’ll be well aware of that.”

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