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Old 9th March 2004, 12:03   #1
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The logistics of moving a Formula One army to a different venue and country every fortnight represents no small achievement for every one of the ten current teams, no matter how well-funded, or not they may be. Each team will send a minimum of forty-five people to a race who form the operating core of the Race Team. For European races, the advance guard consisting of four "Truckies" aboard two articulated Transporters, will leave their base sometime over the preceding weekend and arrive at the Grand prix track on the Monday night before a race. These trucks will carry all of the garage support equipment including the banner system for decorating the sides and back of the garage and a complete overhead gantry system to support lighting, air, power and computer connections for both race cars and the spare car. They will also carry some of the bulkier items such as the two Intertechnique refuelling rigs, the "Prat Perches", team scooters and around forty sets of wheel-rims and tyre-warming blankets.

The truckies' first job on arriving will be to clean and paint the pit garage floors in order that the setting-up of the garage banners, air and electric supplies can begin unhindered on Tuesday. The complete set-up will take a further two days of hard slog and results in a complete internal team garage being constructed within the circuit's own pits. This early crew will also oversee the installation of up to four ISDN lines in the garage, which are then used to carry the team's e-mail and data traffic both back to base and around the world. Many teams will have technicians and engineers back at base scanning all the telemetry from the cars as it's happening. In fact, the top teams have their own satellite dish and permanent link in order to be certain of confidential and reliable communications between the track & team headquarters. Another major job for this advance guard will be to set up the team's "Prat-Perch" stands along the pit-rail. These contraptions will usually seat around eight personnel (2 Race Engineers, 2 Data Engineers, Chief Engineer, Team Manager, Team Owner & Engine Manufacturer's representative) and will become the team's nerve centre during the race & qualifying.

A bank of fifteen TV monitors will provide access to every TV picture being captured around the circuit along with data channels displaying lap-times, sector times, cars on circuit, weather and any messages from Race Control. The Engineers will also be able to monitor real time car data via an infrared data link beaming the signals from the pit garage to the prat-perch. There are also e-mail connections to Race Control, every other team on the pit-wall and the team's factory. Also arriving on either the Monday or Tuesday before a Grand Prix will be the team's motor-home, which will have its own complement of up to eight crew members. Apart from erecting awnings, double-deck viewing balconies and a myriad of tables, chairs and other paraphernalia, this crew will also have the job of feeding the team from the Wednesday through to the Sunday night. Feeding a hungry crew with three hearty meals a day from a mobile kitchen is no small task and some of the team's cooks are legendary figures around the paddock!

Two days later, on the Wednesday preceding the Grand Prix, the majority of the team will fly in to join their colleagues at the track. This group will consist of 10 mechanics (3 per car plus a Chief Mechanic), a further 2 Gearbox Mechanics, 2 Hydraulic Mechanics, 2 Electricians, a Carbon-Repair guy, a Fabricator, a Radio Engineer, a Spares Man, 3 - 4 Electronics and Data Analysis Personnel and the Assistant Team Manager. A further two transporters with four more Truckies will arrive at the circuit during the afternoon. One of these will carry the three cars and a huge selection of spare parts and consumables including a minimum of two spare gearboxes, a spare & partially-built monocoque and around three complete sets of suspension, wings, floors and sundry other items. This truck will also house a complete machining centre comprising lathe, mill, drill, linisher, borescope and full welding facilities. The other transporter will serve primarily as a mobile office suite, with one office for the Race Engineers and Drivers and a further office for the Team Manager and his assistant. It may also be used for additional storage carrying including housing the massive two 20 meter high radio antennae which are erected and stand high above the transporters' roofs to transmit & receive voice & data signals to the cars while traveling around the circuit. The team's engine supplier will also send at least one transporter and motor-home to cover their own requirements with a supply of around 15 engines to cover all eventualities.

Pasquale Lattuneddu, Bernie Ecclestone's very effective paddock policeman, will supervise all the transporters and motorhomes' parking. It is his job to ensure that every vehicle is parked inch-perfect in line and in its rightful pecking order (by order of the previous year's Constructor's Championship). The sight of Pasquale bearing down on a team's transporter will send shivers down the back of a team truckie as moving one of these giant articulated trucks one inch to the left or right in a very crowded paddock is no small task. However he is not someone to be argued with and his rigid enforcement of the paddock plan is what makes the area look so picture-perfect! Both the teams' transporters will carry large generators so that they are completely self-contained for power in case the circuit's own power supply becomes over-loaded and crashes, quite a normal occurrence at some circuits unfortunately!

On the Thursday the technical staff will show up, comprising the Technical Director, Chief Designer, the Chief Engineer, 2 Race Engineers, 2 Data Engineers and the Team Manager. The Team Owner and the Drivers will also make an appearance around this time as well. Most of the Team Owners and Drivers have their own private jets so you can be sure to view an interesting array of the latest aviation machinery at the track's local aerodrome! Also on Thursday, the team's Press Officer will arrive with a contingent from the Marketing & Commercial Office. Their job will be to set up the Paddock Club hospitality area for sponsors & their guest's entertainment during the weekend and to co-ordinate the various dinners, celebrities and events taking place around the team. Thursday is also taken up with other vital duties such as arranging for the tyre companies to mark up the thirty plus sets of tyres with the officially designated team numbers. Another important duty is to check that the team's fuel supplier has delivered the correct amount of fuel to the circuit's fuel store - usually around 1,700 liters - and then to provide the FIA with samples from each drum to check the fuel's eligibility. The fuel supplied must conform exactly to a sample provided to the FIA at the beginning of the year or else the team's cars will be instantly disqualified.

The three race cars must also be closely checked to ensure they conform to the specified "Build Sheets" issued before each event by the Chief Engineer to ensure that the cars are set-up as the engineers have planned. There will also be legality checks to carry out which consists of each car being placed onto the FIA's "eligibility ramp" in order that the team can check measurements & weights. After scrutineering takes place on the Thursday afternoon in the team's garages, there's little time for the team members to draw breath before Sunday night; and that's if everything goes to plan! There will be the Team Manager's and Drivers briefings (10am and 5pm on Friday respectively) to attend in Race Control (US$ 5,000 fine if you're late or forget!) and a host of other sundry arrangements to check over. An average track day for a mechanic will involve leaving the team's hotel around 6 am in time to grab a quick breakfast at the track before continuing work on the car. It can be rare for these guys to be back at their hotel much before midnight on each of the three "running" days so, by Sunday night, you will have a lot of very tired mechanics propping up the bar! It's clearly vital for a team to book a hotel that is as close as possible to the track but even this can be difficult at some circuits. Teams will book their hotels often a whole year in advance in order to be certain of a confirmed booking at a favourite hotel.

Packing up is a very rapid affair in comparison to setting-up. The majority of the team will be aiming to fly home on the last available Sunday night flight and then a skeleton crew is left behind to finish packing up the garage banners and gantry on the Monday. The cars will be back at base from most European GPs by Tuesday but, by the following Monday, those transporters must be rolling again towards the next race. Such a schedule leaves little time for testing, development and updates to the cars, let alone holidays and time-off for the team members!

Yohann Setna - The F1 Guy

Source : Overdrive
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Old 9th March 2004, 13:12   #2
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Excellent article of course its by Yohaan the head of our F1 Club at Sidewok. Pretty informative

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Old 9th March 2004, 13:32   #3
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Moving an army is the right coinage. These guys are so perfect that they could better the six sigma...well, almost

Thanks for the article,

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Old 10th March 2004, 04:32   #4
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wow !
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Old 15th February 2015, 12:39   #5
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Default Re: Moving an F1 Army

Some key points on how the logistics is managed by F1 teams during the race season :

  1. Teams travel up to 160,000 kilometers every year between races and test sessions
  2. For the European rounds of the championship, transport of equipment is largely via road since this has been an established system for the teams for several years now
  3. At present most of the teams use cargo planes chartered by Formula One Management (FOM) which fly from London and Munich to wherever the race is being held.
  4. In the case of successive flyaway races there is insufficient time between them to allow the teams' equipment to be brought home, meaning direct transit between the two races. This means that considerably more components have to be packed
  5. A Formula 1 team will also require hotel accommodation booked for all its members. Each team may require about a 100 rooms.
  6. Most teams pack sets of three cars, one spare chassis, and several spare engines and a full kit of other spares (aero package, gearbox..)
  7. Fuel, tyres, and certain other equipments are transported by technical partners such as Shell, Mobil1, Petronas, Pirelli and other local contractors.

Source : formula1.com
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