"See you in two weeks!"  -  Max Verstappen jumps out of his Red Bull after the Hungarian Grand Prix. File photo: Lisi Niesner / Reuters
"See you in two weeks!" - Max Verstappen jumps out of his Red Bull after the Hungarian Grand Prix. File photo: Lisi Niesner / Reuters

What do F1 drivers do on their summer break?

By Martin Moravec Time of article published Jul 31, 2018

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Budapest, Hungary - While the world of Formula One readies for holidays, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was continuing to put in test laps at the Hungaroring in Budapest on Tuesday - but then even he will take a break.

"I don't feel exhausted, it's more about the team members," Hulkenberg said. "As drivers we have the physical part while driving but between the races we have time to recover and relax while the others have to work the whole time. As drivers we're in a pretty luxurious situation."

Nonetheless, the 30-year-old German is planning two weeks in Majorca before preparation begins for the Belgian Grand Prix on 26 August.

The F1 summer break has developed gradually. In 2001 there was an unofficial pause of three weeks and in 2009 the gentleman's agreement to down tools was formalized in the Resource Restriction Agreement. 

Originally, this was intended to soften the immense costs of the sport. Former Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe once described the time-out as a "ceasefire" in the innovation race which lasts nearly the whole year. After the ongoing tests in Budapest, the teams have to completely close their factories for two weeks. 

Fiddling on the cars is just as prohibited as official work correspondence. Above all, it is the staff other than the drivers who benefit.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said: "The job is not finished on Sunday night. In contrast, on Monday morning it really gets going - 90 percent of the performance comes from the factory. When we come home late Sunday night or early Monday morning, we have the normal office routine."

This season saw a so-called 'triple-header' for the first time with the French, Austrian and British Grands Prix on consecutive weekends. It created a huge burden which impacted on families.

Hulkenberg, who enjoys tennis away from the track - often against former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat or current Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo - explained: "It is holiday mode, you spend time with people you like, you do things you like. There are no professional obligations, you have two weeks completely free and can do what you want in this time."

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is looking forward to the unspectacular. After flying all over the world, the most travelling on his agenda is a day out on the bike or going fishing.

"It will be quite boring and I'm happy about it," he said of the coming time with his family.

World championship leader Lewis Hamilton on the other hand has fewer responsibilities and no children to look after.

"I'm still in the fun phase," he said. "I will possibly travel a bit. I like to travel as much as I can before I settle down."

However, time with his mother and sister is also high on the agenda and there is the small matter of a cousin's wedding.

"I'm sure there'll be a party," he said, dubbing the festivities "active recovery."


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