How do you set up a garage at a circuit you've never visited before? Derek Rogers, the Renault team's logistics co-ordinator, has been working on it since... August 2004! Renault F1 hospitality area. Photo by xpb.cc. Derek Rogers is...
How do you set up a garage at a circuit you've never visited before? Derek Rogers, the Renault team's logistics co-ordinator, has been working on it since... August 2004!
Derek Rogers is the Renault F1 Team's Logistics Co-ordinator, and he's been a busy man during the last few days. The team is bound for a brand new circuit -- and his job, from garage set-up to accommodation, is to prepare minutely and ensure that as soon as the team arrives at the track, they can begin working immediately.
His work began nearly a year ago. "We made our first visit to Turkey in August 2004 to visit hotels and set up contracts for where the team will stay," explains Derek. "Then we made a trip to the track to have a look at the facilities, the garages and the circuit itself. Although work was still underway, it was already very impressive. The most important thing was to get our bearings, to understand how to get from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the circuit..."
During the Hungarian GP weekend, FOM (Formula One Management) provided the exact garage allocation for the race weekend. First impressions have been very positive: "The garages are enormous, and the facilities are some of the best of the year. We will have great conditions for working. And the communications systems are all top notch -- broadband access and ISDN are all available. At the moment, everything seems to be in place for their first Grand Prix," explains Derek.
However, moving the motorhomes and race trucks is not as simple as usual -- the trucks are currently travelling on their longest journey of the season. "Turkey is not yet part of the EU, which means we must go through formal customs procedures," continues Derek.
"That means we had to prepare what we call an ATA Carnet -- a complete list of each piece of equipment in each of our ten trucks. And there's also the distance factor, because Turkey is the longest road journey of the season. The trucks have to make a four day ferry crossing from Trieste in Italy to Istanbul, but then it's just a few miles to the track."
From an operational point of view, this will be a race like Silverstone or Magny-Cours closer to home. The team will arrive on Wednesday, and the mechanics will begin working on the cars on Thursday morning. However, the engineers will be making their way out one day earlier than normal to inspect the circuit in detail and get a feel for the challenge ahead.