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Saturday images from the 2017 US F1 Grand Prix

F1: The Silver Arrow’s triple race challenge

Jun 282018

This weekend's Austrian Grand Prix marks the midpoint in a Formula One first - a triple-header of races. The GP in Spielberg comes seven days after the French Grand Prix while the cars; motorhomes and equipment must then be transported back to the UK for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone the following weekend.

It is a grueling logistical puzzle for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team and one, which requires meticulous planning and monitoring to make sure everything arrives on time.

The Silver Arrows team use a total of nine trucks and several vans to carry all the race-related materials to the European races. This includes F1 car parts, garage equipment, the entire engineers office, IT racks, computers, support material (from floor cleaners to tool boxes), garage build equipment, and wheel rims.

On top of that, there is the team's plush three-story motorhome, kitchen and roof terrace, which is packed into 30 containers and put on to 18 additional trucks and transported to Austria. It's then dismantled on the Sunday immediately after the race, and driven on to Silverstone to be assembled again in time for the British Grand Prix weekender.

Understandably, the hectic schedule means time is tight, so while for a standard European race, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team would normally have a crew of 30 people to set up and dismantle the motorhome, for the triple-header they have doubled that number to 60.


The extra hands are to help lighten the load, so whereas it normally takes three days to set up the motorhome, they now plan to have it built and operational within a single day.


Then, once it is time to head to Silverstone, the trucks will drive through France and on to the tunnel rather than the ferry, as it is quicker. The journey from Spielberg to Silverstone is expected to take each truck 20 hours with the driving split between two drivers so there is no need to stop.


Incredibly, between the 10 teams there is around 1,000 tonnes of equipment, which must be built, dismantled and transported over the three weeks, all within 48 hours to make the deadlines. To put that into context, in a similar flyaway race outside of Europe, that would fill five Boing 747 aircraft and 40 sea freight containers.


Add into the fact that staff will also be making the same journey on a various number of flights and it is a real challenge for the team's logistics department.