Mechanic reveals cruelty of Formula 1

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Unknown mechanic has revealed all the issues they are going through (Reuters / Hamad I Mohamed / Paul)

be a part of Formula 1 Taking part in the Grand Prix doesn’t mean that everything is rosy. You know very well Mechanical That in recent years he has been physically and mentally damaged due to the increase in dates, which in 2022 will reach an unprecedented number of 23 events on four continents.

Mechanics are Maxima’s unsung heroes. They work hard and know that a car crash during a workout or rehabilitation session can lead to a sleepless night, depending on the damage to the car. They are essential machines during pit races to change tires.

They are the first to reach the circle. Wednesday 800 tons Which includes the equipment and cars for the 20 teams, they will prepare the boxes, prepare the cars and leave everything ready to start the activity on Friday. Once the course is over, their work becomes more difficult because they have to dismantle everything and put the equipment away. They are retiring for the night and hopefully can return home or get on the team’s trucks at races in Europe.

Journalist Jonathan Noble obtained an anonymous testimony from a mechanic and the material was published in specialist media. motor sports and in motor sports Where he tells us about the harsh reality they live in and how the problem has worsened over the years, especially with triathlons, something that has become popular due to the increased number of dates or the condition of 2020 when the schedule, even though it was 17 dates, had to be squeezed in early July due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, between the opportunities there were three dates in a row.

Tire change training at Red Bull. Travel burden affects mechanics’ personal lives (Reuters / Amanda Perubelli)

“As the schedule has been extended and triplets have become normal, things have reached a point of no return for many pit lane (pit lane) workers,” said the mechanic.

“The opening hours are long. From the Wednesday before the race to Sunday evening, These are days of at least 12 hours. You don’t realize what it costs until you get back to the factory and put in a normal eight-hour workday, which is almost comically short for you.

“In fact, you don’t stop to think how strange life is with travel until you get home. What makes him particularly difficult is that he’s relentless, non-stop. You work from the moment you get off the plane, and your flight can be horrible, economy class with little space and no sleep at all, ”he noted.

The final phase of the season was stressful for them as they traveled from Europe to North America, then to Brazil and then to the Middle East: “After the Mexico-Brazil-Qatar trilogy, the economy class flights, the schedule and races were combined. at absolutely strange times. everyone crashesAnd that’s when I saw the people most affected.

Jobs at mercedes.  The mechanics are responsible for pressing to avoid any mistakes that could cost a good result (Reuters / Ricardo Moraes)
Jobs at mercedes. The mechanics are responsible for pressing to avoid any mistakes that could cost a good result (Reuters / Ricardo Moraes)

“When fatigue comes, it’s the same Terrible, horrible. When you travel far from loved ones, you can feel very lonely. Later, when you come home on Monday morning or evening and haven’t slept well on those days, it affects how you feel in your free time. He stressed the fact that it affected his personal life: “It means that Your relationships may be affectedEither because you have had discussions with your colleagues or because you have other things on your mind, which is not fair to you or to them.

While he admits a particular situation when someone is injured: “You are not only mentally tired, you are also physically tired. As the season progresses there are a lot of injuries. The teams have doctors and physiotherapists to take care of you, but The easiest solution is to take pain relievers to keep moving. It is impossible for an ordinary doctor to give you the same thing he gives us to continue working. Those who do not want to take the pain reliever route, They turn to alcoholAnd that’s not good either.

On how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, “Teams like to run the schedule around what’s best for them, not the rest of the population. Some teams don’t want the PCR testing to be that close to qualifying or the race in case you get quarantined. Instead of however, they would prefer to wait as long as possible for the test to take place. And if for some reason the test result does not arrive, the mechanic is affected, and he should be away from home another day for another PCR.

According to the testimonies collected, the mechanic will be part of one of the 16 teams which have their bases in England. “Between the stress of getting the test results in time to get home, the quarantine compliance in the UK, and the short-term change of dates, we’ve had to give up a lot of our lives to have them people at the top make more money without getting anything in return.

Ferrari box.  Mechanics work at least 12 hours a day on weekends (Reuters / Hamad Ana Mohamed / Paul)
Ferrari box. Mechanics work at least 12 hours a day on weekends (Reuters / Hamad Ana Mohamed / Paul)

It is essential to avoid mistakes over the weekend, he stressed: “It increases stress, pilots and plant staff are 100% confident that you will perform well and that you will not. won’t make mistakes, but anyone can. We are human and I have done a lot of things in my life“.

Not changing the tire on time or locking a nut, as happened with Valtteri Bottas in Monaco, can be one of the most stressful situations possible and affect their business confidence. That’s why the mechanic said, “You start to doubt yourself, it confuses you and makes you make more mistakes because you’re stressed, it’s mental fatigue.” The stress of this, combined with the fatigue from the number of races and triplets, has brought us to a point where the environment in the garages can be extremely toxic. “.

But the problems are not just about the task itself, according to his statement, there are prejudices about “appearance, sexuality or professional status”. He said: “I have seen a number of times that something funny has gone out of its way and exceeded the limits of humor. This can have a negative effect on some in the garage because they have concerns about their appearance, their sexuality or their work situation.. Highlighting these insecurities can lead to depression and all that comes with it, such as social isolation or an unhealthy lifestyle. “

And on the tasks, he stressed that “the mechanics have to assemble the car, then move on to the gearbox, the suspension, etc., Sometimes there isn’t even half an hour to eatYou feel like you have to eat to get back to work. It gives some of us the feeling that if a mental problem arises, and I know the colleagues to whom it has happened, there is no more support for us, no one will help us. “

Members of the Alpha Tauri team.  The stagnation of salaries of mechanics for twenty years (Reuters / Thaer Al-Sudani)
Members of the Alpha Tauri team. The stagnation of salaries of mechanics for twenty years (Reuters / Thaer Al-Sudani)

So he admitted that the answer they get is “if you don’t like the door is open”. Often times when people talk about the stress and tension of the long Formula 1 schedule, they tell you that “If you don’t like it, you can leave”, even said some squad leaders. But this situation shows that they are out of touch with the reality of what is needed in F1.

As revealed “Mechanical wages have stagnated for twenty yearsThe picture will not change given the budget limit of $ 145 million for teams, a policy that began in 2021. However, this cap does not include the salaries of the most important pilots or engineers.

Finally, come up with some solutions like avoiding a “direct flight from Azerbaijan to Canada”, as in 2022. or “Strengthening the staff rotation system to keep the best team members fit and motivated throughout. the season “.

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