The first races of the season took place far outside Europe. Sam Michael, WilliamsF1's Chief Operations Engineer, talks about the logistical challenges involved. Sam Michael. Photo by Nikki Reynolds. The overseas races involve a ...
The first races of the season took place far outside Europe. Sam Michael, WilliamsF1's Chief Operations Engineer, talks about the logistical challenges involved.
The overseas races involve a special challenge for all Formula One teams. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team has taken around 30 tons of material to each Grand Prix so far this season. The race in Bahrain was the last in the first series of races that take place thousands of miles away from the team's headquarters at Grove and Munich.
"It's obviously been quite a big logistical challenge but doing three flyaways in a row is something that we're used to now," said Sam Michael. Since 2001 each Formula One season has started with three overseas races. Although Bahrain is on the calendar for the first time this year, the usual venue for the third race of the championship, the Brazilian Grand Prix, has been moved to the end of the season.
Michael explains the how the cars and individual components are transported to these overseas events, "Basically all the cars and parts fly air freight, however we also have a lot of hand baggage that goes back to England after Melbourne then comes back out to Malaysia, and then goes back again."
The use of the term 'hand baggage' might be misleading as talking about tons of material. "There are components like gearboxes and things that need a quick turnaround, i.e. go back to the factory for refurbishment and then come back to be refitted to the cars," Michael added.
For each race new engines from the BMW Formula One factory in Munich are delivered to the circuits. "Obviously the engines have their own schedule as well, as it's a new engine for every race, so the old engines have to be flown back and new engines flown out. There's quite a bit of air freight moving around but it's something that Formula One is well used to these days," said Michael.
For the next four races, Europe will be home to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. At these venues, the team trucks will be used to transport the equipment from race to race. In June the two races in North America, the Canadian and the US Grands Prix take place, involving another overseas trip. While towards the end of the season, races in China, Japan and Brazil, mean that the logistics department of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will have its work cut out once more.