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The Logistics In F1 Racing: How F1 Teams Transport Their Cars

Formula 1 continues to gain popularity all over the world, and as the 2022 season progresses and competitions advance from one circuit to another in different countries, fans never cease to be amazed due to the great figures this sport moves. In this case, it’s impressive for fans to learn how the logistics that allows moving all the vehicles and F1 paddock from one country to another works: up to 7 Boeing 747 aircraft to transport all the equipment of 10 teams over 9 months and 20 races on 5 continents [2]... With no room for mistakes. Here is a small summary on how F1 teams transport their cars and stuff.

Team Lotus

A High-Precision Race Against Time

While it’s true that elements such as tools, tires, personnel, TV cameras and supplies are essential for the F1 championship, when it comes to moving all these elements from one circuit to another in a matter of weeks or days — especially between two consecutive Grand Prix — logistics plays a key role. DHL is the company in charge of the logistics section of Formula 1. This is a very complex task, but one that they have been carrying out satisfactorily for several years, fulfilling the objectives set by the championship organizers.

Calculations indicate that moving an F1 paddock can fill the cargo hold of 7 Boeing 777s; that is, about 100 tons per plane. Also, any variation in the luggage might mean the need for an additional aircraft. However, not only planes are used for transfers, but also large cargo ships that disembark in the main ports of the world. All this logistics process must be fast and precise, especially when the next race is the following weekend; with so much cargo and so little time, all the logistical work is almost equivalent to a Formula 1 race where speed, precision and teamwork are key aspects to achieve victory.

Moving the “Great Circus” of Formula 1

Thanks to DHL's close collaboration with Formula 1 staff and teams, all the material from each circuit is broken down and put on its way to the next Grand Prix in just 24 hours. The case of the vehicles is particularly interesting, since many people may think that these are transported intact to each destination, but in reality, the vehicles are also dismantled for transportation.

When the transfer is done by road, all the aero packaging is removed from the vehicles. Then, using a compact track loader, each vehicle is "packed" in special boxes that have a filling material to cushion the possible hits that the vehicle may receive during the journey. In addition to the vehicles, spare parts and tools are also placed inside the truck.

The only exception is tires, fuel and other fragile parts that are transported separately by special technical equipment. In some cases, vehicle parts are divided into two groups: critical parts, which can include the engine, computers, wings, tires, and even the chassis. And the non-critical parts, which usually mainly include all the necessary tools for the mechanics.

F1 Vehicles Transport is More Than Just Auto Parts

Although during the packing and transfer process the vehicles are the most protected elements, there are always elements and tools that need the same precaution. Each team carries enough spare parts to rebuild their cars, including up to 40 sets of tires, 2.000 liters of fuel, 200 liters of motor oil, and 90 liters of coolant.

Each team must also include enough food to prepare at least 200 meals, in addition to cooking tools. There's also all the marketing material, computers, and clothing, among others. Therefore, the largest F1 teams can easily carry around 50 tons of automotive equipment, and even smallest ones carry at least around 30 tons.

Even with all this titanic effort, the nature of Formula 1 makes perfect logistics impossible. As race day approaches, teams will inevitably perform modifications to their cars, or they’ll realize that a spare part was left at home. Something will always happen at the last minute, and they must be prepared for everything.

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