McLaren has revealed that its staff had to scrap their Christmas breaks this year in a bid to ensure its new Formula 1 car was ready for next month's first pre-season test at Barcelona.

By: Jonathan Noble, Formula 1 Editor

McLaren has revealed that its staff had to scrap their Christmas breaks this year in a bid to ensure its new Formula 1 car was ready for next month's first pre-season test at Barcelona.

The Woking-based team announced on Monday that the new car will be launched online on February 21, the day before the first test begins in Barcelona.

However, hitting that timing target proved to be a bit of a headache for the outfit as the result of the late reshuffle of the F1 calendar that meant the first test was earlier than originally planned.

McLaren's operations director Simon Roberts told his team's website: "Our entire build programme wasn't lined up for that. So we knew we had a problem to solve.

"In terms of our design and engineering capacity, it's a relatively straightforward re-planning exercise – there's less time to get the work done, so everyone works a bit harder.

"But the build schedule is on a critical path – it needs to pass all the FIA safety tests and be ready for the first test, which was also brought forward. In that situation, you can't just re-plan, you need to do something different."

Roberts said that the only solution to sort the matter out was making up the time through getting production staff working over the Christmas break.

"In simple terms, we put about eight shifts of work back into the programme over a five-day period – a fantastic effort," he said.

"In total, there were about 110 people involved and we looked after our Christmas workers with a competitive package.

"We had a really good response, and people seemed to enjoy it too – it was a bit weird, not having all the time off, but there was a good spirit in the place. Everyone knew why they were doing it, and it really cleared the decks.

"Most pleasingly, it meant that, once we came back in the New Year, we were back on schedule – and it felt like the programme had always been phased that way. It was an incredible effort."

Sauber revealed earlier this week that it elected not to revise its original build schedule for its 2016 car, which means the C35 will not appear until the second Barcelona test.

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McLaren sacrificed Christmas holidays to get new car ready