Race Weekend Structure Pt 2 -Personnel
Hello again friends,
as its been Ben filling you all in on things I know nothing about I shall let him get on with it.
In the previous post we spoke about the race weekend in terms of the paddock and how it is filled. In this post we will concentrate on the human side of things.
All the people that make F1 happen for that weekend. How they get to the country, the hotel and to the circuit and what they do in the down time.
As we know the first people to arrive in the paddock are the motorhome crews however the first people to arrive at any European destination are the truck drivers that have driven the motorhome. Some teams have a separate build crew who fly or drive vans to the circuit (Belgium and Germany are only 6 hrs away by car) but others double up those truck drivers as build crew. Most stay in a hotel but some don’t even leave the circuit as their hotel is their truck!
For those that fly the normal routine is to get a taxi from the airport or if there are some crew members that drove team vans they will pick them up and take them to the hotel. 90% of teams share rooms. You have your ‘roomie’ all season and between the two of you have your routine (this is subject of a whole new post).
Another unique aspect of the motorhome crew is as a consequence of being the first to arrive there is no kitchen to cook anything so until that is up and running the crew have to feed themselves. So once you have put your bags in the hotel room it is a good idea to gather a vans worth of people and find the local supermarket to stock up on lunch. Some people like to save money by also buying their dinner there. There are all manor of cooking products that can be thrown into the back of a truck that can be set up in a hotel room. A Grill made by a boxer is a favourite or the most simple, a kettle.
The next to arrive for the race weekend are the race team garage crew and the catering staff. They always fly and in some cases will drive straight from the airport and begin the garage build/food prep before checking into their hotels later that day. There is no need for these guys to go to a supermarket as the chefs will begin providing lunch and dinner if needed.
The chefs are other un-sung hero of the paddock as these guys not only provide food for the teams whenever they need it but also knock up high standard cuisine for VIP guests etc. During a race weekend team members will be provided with breakfast both cooked and cold, a range of sandwiches and wraps, salads and easy to heat snacks like jacket potatoes and a filling plus a hot meal on a friday (this is a big day and night of car prep as they are scrutinised ready for qualifying the next day) and some other nights if there is a lot of work to be done on the car for example. As well as this there will be a VIP lunch menu for the entire race weekend plus the possibility of VIP dinners. Oh and did i mention the drivers food which is very specify planned out by their respective trainer or nutritionist.
These guys spend most of their time in the kitchen or asleep although they do find the time for a few relaxing drinks in the bar of an evening.
Next on the list are the mechanics and the engineers. There is no need for them to arrive until there is a car to work on. Once again they fly to all the destinations. In most case the engineers will turn left on the plane and fly 1st class. They will also in some cases stay in a different hotel.
These members of the team will pick up hire cars at the airport and use them all week then return them when they fly home. Some teams use the same company when they can and have a ‘rep’ meet them to save on queuing at a desk and to make sure they find their cars. There can be up to 5 vehicles being hired at one time.
As previously mentioned friday is the only day when the teams will have a dinner provided so the evening is spent finding somewhere to eat. The easiest thing to do is order room service but this can be expensive and a little boring so its off out to find a place to eat. Most of the races have been on the calendar for years so everybody has their favourite places to go.
These evenings are the only chance that you get to go out and explore. It is a common misconception that when flying around the world these guys get to see a lot of different cultures and really suck up the atmosphere of a country. Most of the time you see the circuit, the route to the circuit and the hotel and the odd restaurant or bar.
The only crews that get a chance to see more are the motorhome crews. These guys often work a shift pattern during the race weekend meaning not every crew member is needed. This gives those guys a day off and they use it to sightsee, explore and relax. These guys will have been away for a week longer than any other team member and will leave at least 3 days after the race. Some such as myself have a hobby they can do like riding my bicycle with others who share the same privilege and hobby. (Look out for pics during the season).
This is general diary of the lives of a F1 team member. As you have probably realised this is why it is important to have a love of motor sport and F1 because when your away working the majority of your time is spent doing exactly that F1
See you all again Saturday 🙂
Love Ben & Sandra
© Ben & Sandra Hebbourn 2015