F1 – A Few Questions Answered

Hello again,it’s been a while

The last week has been a busy time in the lives of Life In The Pit Lane. There has been a new car to collect (we made our own light hearted launch video which is on TPCO here : http://www.thepitcrewonline.net/life-in-the-pit-lane.html )
Also a teething baby that does not seem to understand the concept of sleep. This is good for a job in F1 but she is still a little young!

For these reasons todays blog is going to be a mash up of some of the questions and suggestions we have been sent via Twitter and the F1 Spy Facebook page.

What do we think of the new Mclaren MP4-30?

My first impressions of the MP4-30 were that it looks good. By that i mean two things. The first it looks sleek and fast. You know what they say, if it looks fast then it is fast!
The second is that it looks like cars that have been competitive in the previous season. You can see hints here and there of a certain silver car and a bovine based team. The latter is of no real surprise as there is a new designer in the drawing office.
As well as this there are parts that look like they have been well designed and this combines to make a tasty looking package. There doesn’t seem to be any areas of the car that look forgotten about. Like the area behind the side pods on the new red car for example or the larger rear area of the MP4-29.

After the first test i think that despite the limited running they did there are some very positives signs.
Although there were problems they all got fixed. It was not like the bovine team at that test the year before. Mclaren stayed for the 4 days and did not need to pack up early and go home to do some emergency re-designing.
I don’t think any team last year that started with the new power units had a smooth ride in that first test. To fix the issues and get out for even 70 laps or so is good. Especially considering the clash of cultures, the combination of McLaren and Honda systems and the aggressive design of the engine packaging.
When the car was on track it looked like there was some real power available. There is a BBC clip about the engine noise and Alonso is driving the chicane more like the Monte Carlo rally than a F1 test. I may be wrong but there is no way that the engine was at full power and to be doing that shows it has some serious power on tap.
Also the speed trap numbers are not that far off considering again that the engine is not at full power and the aero package has not been set up properly.
If the car goes out and starts putting some good lap totals under its belt in Barcelona i will be very encouraged indeed. So lets get to Barcelona quick. I can’t wait!!

What are Fernando and Jenson like?

Working in the same space as any F1 driver is a privilege that not many people get to experience. You get to see a small part of there preparation and general attitude before and after a race. Although there is not much face to face contact you do see them walking around and socialising and being the person behind the camera.

Jenson Button is a very nice, grounded and happy person. He has a good set-up in terms of consistent people around him and a great manager who is very approachable and has great sense of humour.
His general demeanour around the motorhome is positive and even after a bad result he can find a smile or have a giggle at the team press conference.

Fernando is somebody that i have not worked with much. I did have some experience of him in 2007 but this was very limited.
What i have seen is somebody who is quite private but has a sense of humour. This is all i can say about him really.

More about Logistics?

Re-branding. When a team has a new sponsor their maybe a colour scheme change to deal with. This was certainly the case with Williams last year when they took the iconic Martini Racing livery.
It is not only the car that has to be resprayed but everything involved needs to be re-vamped. The most obvious being the team kit. This will be tops, trousers, shoes, jumper and jacket at the very minimum. Most likely 4 or 5 tops and trousers each and maybe 2 jumpers and 1 of each of the rest. Shoes maybe refreshed mid season. That amount of clothing times 150 in different sizes is a lot of boxes! These have to be unpacked and complied for each team member.
Then there is the garage. This may mean that the current panels that are used to create the space are sent away or maybe a whole new set will be made. This has to be organised pre-season even before the first test maybe all whilst the new car is being built and made ready.
Other pieces of equipment that may have stickers on will have to be changed over and maybe even laptop covers and mouse matts will have to be swapped.
Then there is the motorhome side of things. The entire structure may have to be sent away for a re-spray and then all the furniture and anything inside that is in the old colour scheme will also have to be changed or re-sprayed. The sponsor may be a manufacture and they may want to have their products on display. New area’s and new items of furniture may have to be commissioned and made to the sponsors specification or they may send things to be built up.
If the sponsor makes laptops for example then all the laptops used by the team engineers will have to be swapped over. This will give the IT department a lot of work to do as each person will need there laptop seamlessly changed over.
A new sponsor doesn’t mean just money or a nice looking car. It means a lot of work for a few people in the team.

Post Author: Cassandra Hebbourn

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