While the rest of us sleep, Mercedes-AMG is hard at work on perfecting its F1 cars.
The 2021 Formula 1 season is officially over, and teams are already turning their eyes towards 2022. Eight-time Constructors Champions, Mercedes-AMG has already started up its 2022 car for the first time in preparation for a new season, while Haas F1 has completed chassis testing on its own 2022 challenger. But you would imagine that with three months to go before the new season gets underway and without the pressure of weekly travel and prep for races that the factory staff would be able to wind down just a little, right? Wrong. That's because F1 is a business that never stops, and in a behind-the-scenes video from Mercedes, we get to see how the factory operates 24 hours a day.
The video, titled The Night Shift, shows that while things get quiet when the sun goes down, the factory is very much alive, and even the receptionists are on duty. The first port of call is in the Composite Clean Room at 12.30 am, where one of the Mercedes-AMG F1 engineers explains a few things. First, there's a two-hour handover between shifts where all hands are on deck, making sure that there is never a time when someone isn't working. He also explains that during this changeover, he'll start work on the carbon composite suspension components, before moving to chassis development. The night shift starts at 8 pm and ends at 6.30 am the next morning.
The next stop is the Composite Fitting Shop where a member of the team is working on carbon fiber components for the team's High Performance Powertrain (HPP) division that builds engines for not only Mercedes but also Williams, Aston Martin, and McLaren. He's working on small pieces of carbon that will make up the floor pan, which is the next thing we see - a completely bare carbon fiber floor of Lewis Hamilton's F1 car. We take for granted just how intricately detailed the bottom of an F1 car is, but in these shots, we can see how several members sand down fins and planes to make sure that the air can flow smoothly over all areas of the chassis. The process of preparing the floor pan alone takes a full week, from the initial layering and bonding of the carbon fiber to the final sanding and sealing.
The video gives us glimpses inside the machine shop, and even the CAD (computer aided design) studio where all components are digitally designed before being realized elsewhere in the facility. These CAD drawings are of particular importance as they serve as a benchmark. Main components in the gearbox, suspension, brakes, and engine are regularly laser scanned and compared against the CAD files to look for any deviation, which might suggest imminent failure. This is much the same process as followed by Mercedes-AMG's Fluid Engineers when it comes to looking for engine wear.
The AMG F1 team employs 1,500 people across the whole operation, and only around 200 of those are part of the trackside team that travels from circuit to circuit. This video shows us just a small glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, but highlights how much actually gets done 24 hours a day in order for us to get a few hours of enjoyment every second Sunday during race season.
Considering these are the same guys who developed the engine technology that's going into the Mercedes-AMG One, we'd say the meticulous nature and dedication of the team is pretty spectacular.