BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 30: Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda pose with a painting of himself on a deck chair in the Paddock ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – JULY 30: Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda pose with a painting of himself on a deck chair in the Paddock ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 30, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

Right now, our favorite F1 drivers (and their respective teams) are relaxing after racing for six months. In fact, they can all enjoy a short vacation for the next few weeks and then return in relaxed, but race-ready form for Belgium. Now if you’re fairly new to Formula 1, especially if you’re one of the bright new fans thanks to the Netflix series Drive to survive, then the concept of the series’ “Summer Shutdown” may escape you. But don’t worry, Mercedes-Benz AMG Petronas F1 Team Engineer Andrew Shovlin explains it to us.

In a Mercedes team tweet, Shovlin, or ‘Shov’, tells viewers why there’s a summer shutdown, and it’s not just for a windy break after traveling the world for six months . It’s actually in the rules.

The regulation forces every F1 team to stop work for 14 consecutive days. All development, analysis – really any work to be done on the car must be stopped unless pre-approved by the FIA. Teams and drivers are even forbidden to read emails. However, teams are able to do maintenance to prepare for the additional 50 weeks of race ahead.

It’s a lot of free hands and allows everyone to catch up a bit. I like to equate it to working on a stubborn project that you just can’t find a solution to. You sometimes take a break, stop working on it for a bit to relax, and when you come back, you have a breakthrough.

Some teams come back in better shape after the break. Some turn into completely different teams (in a bad way). But one thing is certain, the race will always be good. Except maybe for Ferrari.

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