It wasn't easy, to say the least, and they didn't do it alone ... That's where EPM Technologies comes in.
The scramble to ensure the Force India VJM08 arrives at Barcelona Thursday and starts running Friday with Nico Hulkenberg at the wheel could not have been achieved without the incredible commitment and scheduling program undertaken by composites specialist – EPM Technologies.
Wednesday, at their new £6million - 50,000sq ft. facility in Derby, Motorsport.com spent a fascinating hour talking to their founder and managing director – Graham Mullholland, who despite the extreme late nights and early mornings over the last few months, looks remarkably fresh and bright eyed.
It has been a remarkable time this winter, I’ve never known anything like it
Graham Mullholland, EPM Technologies
“We’re all about going racing and sharing that racing mentality with our customers,” says Mulholland. “I am not sure our old facility would have coped with what we have just experienced in helping get them (Force India) to the test this week. We have both been on the limit with 12-hour split shifts per day. It has been incredible to witness the commitment on both sides to get the job done.”
Who are EPM?
EPM Technologies are the UK’s leader in F1 commercial composites and has a current headcount of 120, which has already increased from the 75 which were walked in to the new purpose built HQ last September.
Motorsport.com understands that EPM supplies all bar three current F1 teams with composites structures and parts to varying degrees. 80% of their total business is F1.
The Force India work has tested the company to the limit in recent weeks after knock-on delays from the final design of the VMJ08, believed to be a combination of changes in R&D via the decision to use the Toyota wind tunnel in Stuttgart and commercial considerations.
“It has been a remarkable time this winter, I’ve never known anything like it,” says Mulholland. “Otmar (Szafnauer - Force India’s COO) and I have had some crazy phone calls this winter and it has been lively, but I say it again – we share the same spirit of getting things done and we do it.”
Manor F1 and EPM
Motorsport.com asked Mullholland about the newly named Manor Marussia squad which intends to be at Melbourne next month. While no comment was forthcoming it is known that the front bulkhead and nose cone modifications to the 2014 car to meet 2015 safety regulations are not being completed at EPM.
However, the company does remain ‘in a state of readiness’ to assist the team in its quest to go racing this season should it decide to build a complete new 2015 design for later this season.
Recent speculation regarding a possibly precarious commercial situation for some F1 teams is met with calm by Mullholland who has been nurturing F1 business since the turn of the millennia.
“You manage the risk best you can and in the last 12 months we have done that better and better,” says Mulholland. “We are going racing with racing people, that’s the way we like it.
"If I was here managing 120 people working on the mass production of something practical and dull for retail then our skill set and innovation would not drive our work. Whatever we do, we do it for the best and in a very challenging timeframe.
"If it is for automotive it is a mega concept car or if it is for train it will be for a bullet train. This is part of EPM’s soul.”