• Working Through the Winter

It may be known as the 'winter break', but at the factories, it's anything but that!

In Formula One, it's easy to assume a lot of things. The term 'winter break', for example. It's used widely across F1, not only by fans and media, but also many of us in the team. It describes the gap between the end of one season, and the start of the following campaign. But, in reality, it really isn't a break at all.

Building an F1 car is no easy task. It takes many months of relentless work by hundreds of people. Work on the new car starts long before the previous season is finished - and the work carries on right through the winter. Every department is flat-out planning, designing, making, building and organising for a new season.

And it's not just those working at the factories who have been working hard. While the drivers headed off for some time away at the conclusion of the 2018 season, they've also been putting in the hours, training for the start of the new campaign and making sure they're race-ready come Australia.

Since the conclusion of the previous season, the factory has rarely fallen silent. In fact, for many, it's a particularly busy time.

The vibe in an F1 factory at this time of year, as testing gets underway and the cars hit the track, is a mix of excitement, anticipation, hunger and a bit of anxiety. Work on our 2019 challenger has been a long time in the making - the process starts some 16 months before the car even hits the track for its first race.

The initial conception of our 2019 F1 beast began while we were still battling it out on the track for the 2017 World Championships. It started with a series of concept discussions in small groups, before building up investment and staffing week by week. The Power Unit is always the first thing to get going, followed by CFD work.

A few months down the line, the wind tunnel programme kicked off and by the Spring, the gearbox and chassis designers had a good idea of what they were setting out to achieve. By the time Autumn came around, the Design Office was releasing over 100 new designs per day. At the beginning of the New Year, rig testing and FIA homologation testing was well underway.

It's then time for everything to start coming together. Hardware arrives at the factory, elements of the car start to take shape and it is all eventually combined to the finished product: a new Formula One machine, ready to be shaken down at Silverstone.

Onwards to Barcelona and winter testing begins! A crucial time for an F1 team, to make sure everything is race-ready for Melbourne.

The factory continues marching on, with focus not only on the winter tests and the first round in Australia, but further down the road too. That's the nature of Formula One. It never stops.