AlphaTauri in pickle with wind tunnel and employee immobility

Ahead of the start of the Formula 1 season, AlphaTauri has had to deal with quite a few logistical problems. The wind tunnel is still in UK, its Japanese Honda employees need to be dealt with.

Normally, this would not be such a big problem. Add the pandemic and travel regulations and suddenly you know they have plenty on their plate.

Entry restrictions have made it tough for some of the Honda staff to leave Milton Keynes. While these members can assist Red Bull, their services are being sorely missed in Italy, where AlphaTauri has its base.

Europe is under high alert given the latest strain of the coronavirus. Therefore, the Honda employees cannot travel easily from one point to another as they usually would. It has resulted in a situation where half the staff is in UK and the other half is in Italy since the last six weeks.

“The poor guys came here around 11 January and they will stay here until after the test of 23-25 February in Imola. So for them that has had a huge impact,” AlphaTauri sporting director Graham Watson said.

“I know that Tanabe-san at Honda was a little bit nervous about asking his people.”

TWatson also knows that the wind tunnel is in Bicester which poses another logistical problem. 

“When they come back to Italy, it’s a 14-day mandatory quarantine. So you can actually tie someone up for three weeks, or more, providing they’re negative,” he said.

For any test to be run on the wind tunnel, parts of the car will need to be transported a long distance.

“They predominantly go by road, as they are pretty big shipments. Brexit has had quite a big effect on that, more so than COVID I would say. And we’ve had to build a bit of contingency into the planning,” Watson said.

The Brexit transition has further added to legal paperwork and higher costs for teams.

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