LONDON (Reuters) - Mercedes celebrated their record seventh successive Formula One constructors’ title on Monday with champagne glasses raised remotely and special home deliveries of facemasks.
The sport’s dominant team are used to toasting success but amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with many staff working from home, this year’s triumph was always going to be very different to the previous six.
In the past factory staff, at Brackley and the engine side at Brixworth, have assembled for a group photograph with drivers and bosses before speeches of thanks and motivational talk.
A spokesman said a video debrief was sent around for staff to watch at their leisure and a virtual team photo was planned.
“Employees working from home have had champagne and championship facemasks delivered to them by willing volunteers and people in the factory have received the same,” he said.
Andrew Shovlin, head of trackside engineering, said after Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Italy’s Imola circuit that it would be a strange celebration with a national lockdown looming.
“We’re at quite low capacity in the factory now because we’ve dropped it again, people who can work from home are working from home and there won’t be any gatherings,” he said.
“We obviously need some people in because some people have jobs that you can’t do remotely. But really we’re going to be leaning on technological solutions to try and have our celebrations and keep everyone together.
“One of the nicest things about winning championships in Formula One is the fact that you do it as a team, and it’s going to be strange not getting everyone together.”
Six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who celebrated his record-extending 93rd career victory on Sunday and is set to win his seventh title, agreed the constructors’ championship was always special.
“The core of our job is to deliver points and results for the team,” he said. “So when you win a team championship I think it’s almost better than an individual because it’s something you do collectively, with a large group of people.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris
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