Logistics In F1 – Factory To Circuit & How It Happens

Logistics In F1

Factory To Circuit & How It Happens

Hello again new friends, Sandra here,
Always wondered how the F1 show is put on?, then wonder no more,this time i’m handing straight over to Ben to explain what really happens to create the greatest show on earth!

For each team every race means that more than just a car and some drivers need to be go the circuit. F1 is sometimes referred to as ‘the circus’ and if you were to see all the trucks and cargo that is needed traveling down the road you could understand why.  However, it is not just the road that see’s F1 goods. The air and sea also get a look in. For those races outside of Europe (fly aways) everything has to travel by plane and in some cases by boat.

Due to the distance of most ‘fly aways’ the logistics are, in some ways more simple as everything goes mainly by plane. The cars, the garage and all the equipment are loaded into purpose built freight crates and sent to the next circuit. A lot of non-essential items such as consumables etc are sent in advance by sea. This takes a lot of planning as you may well pack up more than one set of sea freight at once and send it off weeks maybe months in advance. Don’t forget anything because once in Japan for example you can’t ‘pop back’ and get it! For a European race however this is kind of possible for a lot of teams have dedicated vans that travel from the factory to the race to deliver last minute upgrades any time up until friday! Traveling team members are not safe from having to deliver items ‘hand luggage’ in extreme cases either.

The garage is made on a sunday or monday before the race by a few members of the support crew on the race team and once this has been done all the equipment, the car and the rest of the race team arrive to begin work. Often driving straight to the circuit from the airport. Every second counts!

On the other side of the paddock there is the hospitality units or as they are still referred to the Motorhomes although most do not look like a Winnebago these days!
These motorhomes are a home from home to the team members and a place where the media can do there work with the team and drivers on home turf as it where.  A place where the team can show off their achievements and impress people with lots of money and help convince them they want their names on the car.
This means that everything has to be ready for action first thing Thursday morning. The beginning of a race weekend.
Typically he motorhomes begin construction from the saturday before the race which requires the personnel to travel on the friday by plane or where applicable by van. Germany, Belgium for example. Some teams have there own vans they keep all season and that requires a few team members to leave early and drive them to the location meeting at the hotel friday afternoon.

On a Sunday after the race has finished and the cars and garages have been packed away many team members will fly home but the motorhome crews must de-construct their motorhomes before they are finished. This can take up to two days of work meaning some teams are only home for one maybe two days between races as they have to travel on the friday to get to the next venue a week in advance and begin again. For a back to back race this means many days working with little if no sleep as what is done in five days before a race and two after has to be achieved in four, Sunday-Thursday.

For all team members, race, engineering, marketing, motorhome and truck drivers a large portion of there lives are taken up with airports, planes, driving trucks and hotels.
Each one of these people has to have a seat on a plane and a bed organised as well as there uniforms and suitcases. This requires a team of people who’s job it is to book all the flights and hotels and another team to distribute the uniforms. This is not only the race kit but the travel kit that is worn in between so we look like a team on and off the track.
There is also the team that make sure all the trucks are in good order, organise who is driving what truck and how it is going to get there. When they are going to leave and when they are going to arrive.
Although these people never leave the factory they are with out doubt the busiest, most organised and most important members of the logistics picture. They make sure your trousers fit, your shoes are right that you have a ticket to fly and can get you out of trouble when things go wrong at an airport for example. They make sure the trucks arrive on time and at the right place.

It is these people that are often overlooked when you think about the F1 circus. There is so many things that have to be considered and taken care of every day. Imagine packing up to go and see relatives 400 miles away and times it by 100. But imagine that your relatives move every other week and you have different members of your family arriving and leaving all the time.
The next time you go to a race maybe stay a little longer and look at the paddock and you will see the logistics in action and just what a circus it really is.



See you all then
Ben & Sandra x

Getting To Know Us

Welcome back…….I hope, if It’s your 1st visit, hello (waves frantically) we’re all friends here, do join the madness.
I thought it may be nice for you to get to know us a bit more, before we embark on all going racing together this season.

As I said in my last post I’ve been a fan of F1 since 1997 to the point of knowing in my local area which pubs showed the race and at least a couple of times a year have a nice pub sunday lunch while watching. It just had to be done!  I have a 12year old boy with special needs and a 7 year old girl from a previous relationship who’ve been raised to enjoy the religion too, by all means have a lovely summer Saturday at the beach, but there’s no way we’re leaving till after Quali, come on? even in the age of Sky+, live is still best! Please tell me I’m not alone here.

We met each other on twitter during a racing season, just tweeting about races and news, as you do,you know how it is? Some of the people you tweet most regularly become more like friends over time, eventually we moved onto exchanging phone numbers and daily texting without as much restriction as 140 characters on twitter. Sometime around then he let slip he worked in F1. My first reaction,,,”yeah,right!!” over the next week or so things were said and shown that soon any doubt drifted away and i was made aware that from May to September he’d be at every European race. Over time it was a natural progression to meeting up to watch together, as we lived just over an hour’s drive apart then it made sense to do the whole race weekend and have a couple of drinks on a Saturday evening …So the final 2 months that season that’s exactly what we did…Over the off season there was a shift and yes whether you believe in that sort of thing or not, it was clear to us we connected on other levels. We’d become the best of friends and wanted to spend more time together aside from our racing rituals, and that as they say was that…..

Now onto what you’re all really here for … the part that gets your internal engine roaring…that thing that makes you get up at silly o’clock on a freezing March morning…Racing!!!!

Ben has been with his team for 9 years now, in various roles and depts..spending 4 years racing and testing…now back on the team motorhome and its year round care.

The season starts soon but OUR season starts the beginning of May, till then we have testing at Jerez and Barcelona to talk about and as much as is possible the motorhome preparations and what generally happens in the off season to it and the preparations for the season ahead before going.

What we generally get up to in our spare time and our lifestyle when F1 is the dominating factor in everything we do.

When Ben goes to Barcelona, I will be spending the weekend at Brands Hatch with Ali Rushforth(@alirushforth) who’s been racing since just 9 years old. A very experienced Driver who’s been kind enough to welcome me on board and help me re-train from the skills I learnt in music to use them and learn new ones in the world of Motorsport.

Before meeting Ben i worked within the U.K music industry, dancing in music videos, film extra work and dabbled in music management with Leah Nicole (@leahangelnicole) which was an amazing few years meeting some amazing people and doing things I never thought i would ever have the opportunity to ever in my life.

I have a huge passion for Motorsports I hope Ali will teach me lots over this year and together with the rest of his team become a force to be reckoned with !!

I hope to keep you all informed and entertained with our antics over the season, I intend to add a video diary at some point, and document our individual season here and in Europe.

Get in touch,what do you want to know,what have you always though you would ask if you had the chance to, Ben is more than happy to answer as much as he can, he has several years of experience to share..

Lets have a Question & Answer for our next post..
Saturday January 17th at 9pm GMT

Send your questions to either of our twitters
@sandra_phoenix or @benjiani79
or email us at lifeinthepitlane.com@gmail.com

Hello & Welcome To Our Crazy F1 Life!

Most of you today will be finding this through Twitter so you will have a small idea of who i am.To you I apologise if i now repeat what you already know or bore you!

We are Ben & Sandra
We are a couple of Thirtysomethings with 3 children, 4 cats & a tankful of tropical fish.  A seemingly ‘normal’ family to those outside our garden gate, in fact a lot of our life to us is totally normal except to everyone else its far from normal as Ben works in the wonderful world of Formula One Racing for one of the most successful teams in F1 history.

Ben has a role specialising as an Audio-Visual Technician.  Think TV’s, digital media, Press Conferences and Live Race Feeds in the Team Motorhome at all the European races but is also a fan, I think you have to be.

I am a massive McLaren fan.  I found F1 in 1997 and after spending that year watching I found McLaren come 1998 & a love affair began.  So i am a fan but a fan on the inside so to speak, not many every year get to experience this so as a fellow fan i totally understand how privileged i am to be that bit closer than you, so i had an idea of how to share what i see & do…

So the idea of this blog was born to take you all on a season with us, share with you things that are normal to us, just our life & how it is  The reality of living, working and having a family to raise in the very secretive world that is F1.

I also have some extra things to share over this season as I too will be in a pit lane while Ben is away at various European locations.  I will also be involved in the world of Motorsport ..well who wants to read about how difficult i’ve found a particular week without him every other week so I shall be a busy bee..cue announcement of exactly what below.

My intention is to be as open as i can bearing in mind how secretive F1 is, the reality of living and breathing F1 and it being a massive part of your life.  There will be high points, there will be low points but there will be lots to talk about together…I hope you will come along for the ride with us, support us in those difficult days, celebrate the great days together & learn a bit more about what its like for those who work within this world…
This Is Our Lives In The Pit Lane….

I have a big announcement to share….this racing season i will not just be sat at home carrying on while Ben is in Europe.  Oh no…I am going to be involved in the MG Trophy here in the UK.

I am as of right this second I am very proudly part of Team Ali Rushforth 


A very experienced driver & a great guy at fan interaction on twitter so go on give him a follow. Say ‘hi’ & that I sent you.
A few Stats ..(us race heads love stats) 
MG Trophy 2012 -10th (missed 6/12 races)
Awarded “most Entertaining Driver’

MG Trophy 2013 -4th 

2 pole positions,
1 win
8 podiums

MG Trophy 2014 – 14th (missed 6/12 due to mechanical issues)

I will fill you all in on more in my next post, Tuesday January13th 8pm GMT

Please get in touch, give feedback and more importantly say ‘hi’ to me, Ben & Ali on twitter
Here’s to a great season of racing.
Love Sandra & Ben

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