Mercedes technical director James Allison has revealed how the unique circumstances the grid finds itself in ahead of the 2021 season have caused fear and anxiety as the team seeks to get its car ready for the new year.
Speaking in the latest in a series of videos lifting the lid on the team’s preparation for this season, Allison said the “strange” circumstances around the pandemic had led to an odd atmosphere in the factory.
"It is a strange year this one. It feels like it’s going smoothly back here, and we hope it is going smoothly, but it’s such a different start to the year for us. So, there is a little part of us just nagging away in the back of our heads going: have we forgotten something?" he said.
"Because, unlike in a normal year, where we would have a billion new bits all streaming in from all four corners of the earth to put together the new car right at the last minute, this year is a little different. That’s because much of what we are going to launch with the W12 has already seen action on the track in 2020."
Allison added that in place of all the testing and retesting that the team usually carries out ahead of the new season, they had instead had to focus on management of their parts to make sure the car was ready to go for testing in Bahrain in early March.
"So, instead of having all that new inventory being tested, put into sub-assemblies and then put onto the real car, we have instead got more of a management job to make sure our stock levels are right, we are putting all the things we need to in the right places and we are testing the things that have changed - rather than the entire car," he said.
"And because that’s such a change of rhythm, it does make us worry have we missed something? We are busy, of course, double and triple checking we haven’t missed anything, so by the time things are ready to be put on planes and sent off to the tracks, we don’t have any embarrassing omissions."
Watch the full video interview with Allison below: