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Formula One shuts down for summer break

July 28, 2009 17:41 IST

Kimi Raikkonen will be rallying in Finland and championship leader Jenson Button competing in a triathlon this weekend while their Formula One teams shut up shop for two weeks.

Tired mechanics and team staff will be enjoying the extended break before the next race in Valencia on August 23 but not everyone is delighted.

"I'd like to signal right now that we have no intention of ever doing it again. It's a complete waste of time," said Williams chief executive Adam Parr of a two-week factory shutdown agreed as part of cost-saving measures.

"We went along with it because a number of people were very keen on it. But it will increase our costs, it won't reduce them," he told Reuters.

"You have a certain job to do, particularly when you look at next year's car, and you only have a certain amount of time to do it in. If you take two weeks out, inevitably what you will end up doing is using more contract support later in the year.

"It was done in the right spirit," added Parr, whose team are the only one without a manufacturer partner or billionaire owner and are currently suspended from the eight member Formula One Teams Association (FOTA).

"We wanted to show solidarity with the car industry, when a lot of car companies were having to shut down capacity. In reality its not going to save any money."

The teams have signed a legally-binding agreement, dependent on good faith rather than any formal policing, not to conduct any Formula One related development or production for two of the next three weeks.

They can choose when to close, with championship leaders Brawn doing so Monday evening after their return from the Hungarian Grand Prix while McLaren will continue working until the weekend.


"There will doubtless be a few rumours and speculation of people being in breach but I think there's a sincere attempt by everyone to honour it," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"I think its a well deserved respite for the guys," said Red Bull's Christian Horner, whose team are just 15.5 points adrift of Button's Brawn with seven races remaining.

"We can't keep pushing them at the rate they are going. They deserve two weeks off and will come back fully charged and pumped up for Valencia onwards."

Raikkonen, whose Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa remains in hospital in Budapest after suffering serious head injuries when he was hit by debris in qualifying for Sunday's race, will make his world rally championship debut this weekend.

"I have done a few rallies but it is like club races compared to the Finland Rally," he said. "I will just go there and have fun and hopefully we are going to make it to the end."

Button will be competing in the London Triathlon on August1 to raise money for the 'Make a Wish' foundation while world champion Lewis Hamilton will enjoy the rest after taking his first win of the year in Budapest.

"I will relax a little bit, spend some time with the missus (Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger) and with the family and hopefully come back to Valencia with another step forward and another opportunity to get onto the podium," he said.

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