Racing Point will move into its new factory at Silverstone in August 2022, a year later than originally planned, because of the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team had planned to start the building work on the new factory, which is on the same Silverstone site where it is currently based, earlier this year but was unable to owing to the UK government’s lockdown.
While the lockdown in the UK has eased and some personnel are now able to work at the factory, team principal Szafnauer told the latest episode of the F1 Nation Podcast that it was logical to delay the move to take place during next year’s August shutdown.
“We were on a tight timeframe anyway, a project plan that was quite tight, and we had to break ground in the first quarter of this year to be able to finish and move in in August of 2021,” said Szafnauer.
“Well, [in] the first quarter, we were in complete lockdown, nobody was working, Formula 1 teams had our yearly FIA-imposed break because of it.
“We couldn’t get anyone to progress the factory, so it was mainly put on hold and it went sideways quite a bit.
“We came back to work in June, essentially, and even now, not everybody is still working – if you can work from home or to work from home.
“We lost a lot of time because of the virus situation and the government lockdown regulations, so there is no way that we’re ever going to now make a completion date of August 2021.
“So it only made sense to move it by a whole year to August 2022, because that August break is a perfect time for us to move factories without disrupting the rest of the organisation and what it’s really here to do, which isn’t really move factories, but it’s to go racing to a competitive level.”
Szafnauer stressed that the lowering of the 2021 budget cap to $145million, which will drop to $135m by 2023, does not eliminate the need for a new factory.
The Silverstone factory was built in the early days of Jordan and as the team has expanded other offices have had to be set up, with bringing the team together in one campus among the priorities ahead of the team’s transformation into Aston Martin next year.
“We’re bursting at the seams and because we’re bursting at the seams we had pockets of engineers working in different locations,” said Szafnauer.
“It’s much more, more efficient if we can all be co-located so everybody’s under one roof.
“And we’re going to become Aston Martin soon. It would be really nice to have an Aston Martin Formula 1 team campus – so not just us but some of the road car designers and engineers as well on campus with us.”