MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — By late Sunday night in Baku, hours after Red Bull’s Sergio Perez won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, much of the equipment needed to host a Formula 1 race had been neatly packed and packed. Packed and hoisted on pallets. , ready to fly half way around the world.
A chartered cargo plane did the heavy lifting from there, hauling a dismantled 1,700-pound race car (and just about anything imaginable) to Miami International Airport. By Monday the cargo had been offloaded onto trucks and delivered to pop-up racetracks around Heard. Rock Stadium hosts the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.
It turns out that getting from the starting grid to the finish line isn’t the only high-stakes race in F1 where you’re racing against time.
For the top tier of international open-wheel racing, hosting the best competition on consecutive weekends is a complex logistical symphony.Behind the scenes, 1,400 tons of thing Travel by air, sea and land from track to track and continent to continent in 23 races in 20 countries. The flashing lights at the start of each race are contingent on each time, somehow, arriving on time.
Cars aren’t the only things that need to be taken apart and put back together. It’s the entire garage, plus technical gear and hospitality equipment, and even weather instruments that essentially make up the big and small essentials you need to pack.Tires, fuel, and generators. helmet and baseball cap. broadcasting equipment. cutlery. In rare cases, plants.
“Sometimes I bring an oven and a dishwasher,” says Simon Price, trackside manager at shipping giant DHL, which has transported Formula 1 cargo for decades and has been the official logistics provider since 2004. said Mr.
According to Price, planes transport the most important, and therefore most expensive, cargo from race to race. The plane flying out of Baku this week made stops in either Casablanca, Morocco or Luxembourg for refueling before arriving in Miami. (Yes, it all has to go through customs. Lots of paperwork involved.) The last plane landed on Tuesday afternoon.
Christian Polhammer, F1’s senior logistics coordinator, said the team had been lucky this week, with Miami’s time zone being eight hours behind.
“Those eight hours make a big difference,” he said. “If you go the other way, you’re wasting eight hours.”
We ship rug sets for bulky items to non-consecutive races. The first ship loaded with Miami race containers arrived at Port Her Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in mid-April. By Wednesday, the unpacked boxes were neatly placed in front of each team’s garage. “Sea Freight to Miami, Montreal, Austin and Las Vegas,” read a label outside Red Bull’s lodgings.
Locally sourced and labeled forklifts — Ferrari 1, Ferrari 6 — moved automatically, beeping in and out of the garage. Crew members in team uniforms opened Lim’s case. Outside Red Bull’s garage, two men were inserting sensors into his tires, giant Pirelli’s.
The garage itself, where the race cars were being reassembled by the music-blasting crew, was off limits to outsiders for competitive reasons. Practice laps were only a few days apart. But no one seemed disappointed. They do this almost every week.
Last year, Pryce said bad weather and vessel congestion delayed a Singaporean ship due to head to the Australian Grand Prix. With the clock ticking towards practice and qualifying, DHL diverted his three planes and dispatched employees urgently to Singapore to unpack the sea freight container and transfer the cargo to the air freight container. packed in. All have arrived in Melbourne.
But people like Polhammer and Price can’t just focus on one race at a time. Interviewed in Miami, they were already thinking about the event, especially in Monaco later this month, with Price pointing out with concern that the narrow streets were “not made for trucks.” .
The Las Vegas Grand Prix, due to debut in November, will be a whole different challenge, Polhammer said. As soon as that’s done, we have to pack everything up and fly to Abu Dhabi, which is 11 hours away. added.
But he can worry about that later, after a long trip to the UK, Belgium and Brazil.
With this year’s season running from March to November and having to cross five continents, people like Polhammer and Price spend most of their time on planes and in hotel rooms. Price, who lived in England and started his career as a Formula 1 truck driver, estimates he is home about two days a month. Polhammer, who lives in Austria and has worked in F1 for 16 years, said he spent more than 260 nights on the road last year.
“I take my hat off in honor of anyone who has suppressed their relationship with their family and this job,” Price said.
It is difficult to explain to people outside the logistics industry. “They’re all saying, ‘What a glamorous lifestyle!’
He added that no other sport could match such a long distance in a short amount of time.
“F1 — that deadline doesn’t move,” said Price. In normal business dealings, he added, schedules can be adjusted. In Formula 1, “the green flag comes out on Sunday no matter what.”
Then packing resumes, even before the champagne is sprayed on the podium.
“It takes three to four days to set all this up,” says Price.