The summer break – a four week hiatus in Formula 1 Grand Prix mid-season is a concept that, like most things F1, divides opinion.
If you’re a fan, it’s somewhat of an annoyance. A lull in proceedings at the very time the season appeared to be hotting up nicely.
If you’re actually involved in Formula 1, you sit firmly on the opposite side of the fence. To those lucky yet hardy buggers the summer break provides an island of solace in an increasingly congested yearly Formula 1 calendar.
When Formula 1 launched in 1950, the championship consisted of seven Grand Prix (six if you discount the Indy 500, which most the key players did).
By 1970 that number had increased to 13 (without a visit to the brickyard), steadily increasing since then until we arrived at today’s total of 21 races in 2016.
It appears that there might be a further Grand Prix added to next year’s schedule, making the season an unprecedented 22 races long.
Given that the season runs from March to (this year) the very beginning of December, that’s roughly a race every two weeks for nine months.
Races that are as far apart in distant as Canada and France. Or Italy and Singapore.
And we’re not even allowing for the pre-season testing that happens each year in Barcelona, Spain. That adds another fortnight or so into the time F1 folks need to be away from home.
And while we’re discussing testing, don’t be fooled into thinking that all the hard work in developing an F1 car is done pre-season and that a Formula 1 season is a mere jaunt around the world with a car that has been long since perfected.
Formula 1 development never stops. Where there is an opportunity to steal a couple of places and as a result the odd ten million quid in prize money as a result of a tweaked barge board or turning vane here or there then F1 teams will do it, which means plenty of hard work in factories and garages around the world throughout the season.
So with this in mind, and as annoying as it may seem at first glance, I’ll grudgingly give F1 personnel their four week break.
I think they’ve earned it!