How Do F1 Teams Travel & Transport Cargo to Different Countries?
F1 is the pinnacle of motorsports with a global fanbase that increases each passing year. Other than the high-tech cars and ingenious race strategies, the fascinating thing about Formula One is the schedule which requires the teams and drivers to travel the world.
There are 22 races in a season, and it requires a team to travel to 20 countries over ten months. They just don’t have to send the drivers to the location but have to almost move their base, which can be tons of freight per team. This raises one question among the fans: how do F1 teams travel to various locations?
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What are the ‘things’ that F1 teams take with them to races?
To participate in a race, the most important thing a team needs to move to the race location is the car itself. The F1 challengers travel to every race location, and with them, the team always carries spare parts. Also, there is lots of mechanical and IT equipment required at the race weekend.
F1 cargo arrives at Marina Bay Circuit #SingaporeGP 🇸🇬 pic.twitter.com/Dgp2rVgrSD
— Motorsport Images (@MSI_Images) September 10, 2018
Aside from the car itself, the F1 teams also carry things like motorhomes to many race locations. These motorhomes are the office and lodging for the staff and crew traveling to various race locations. They also take a lot of furniture, like tables and chairs, to the race locations. They even take cooking equipment with them to cook food for the team.
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How many cars do F1 teams travel with?
An F1 race can’t happen without a Formula One car and there are two drivers in an F1 team, so every team carries two cars. But many might wonder what the teams will do if one of the cars isn’t working. In the past, teams traveled with 1-2 spare cars to each race location, as reliability was a huge issue back in the day. However, that is no longer in practice.
Over 100 people
60+ tonnes of freight
A 10,500-mile, 24-hour journey
One big hit of jet lag…
How do @F1 teams do it?
INSIGHT 👉 https://t.co/IfAPc6Xrsy #F1 #DrivenByEachOther #AusGP pic.twitter.com/T2U6yFEZRD
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 21, 2018
So, F1 teams now carry a lot of spare parts. There are spares for each part of an F1 challenger. Even if a car gets destroyed during the Friday or Saturday session, the f1 team would have enough parts to build a new car. They also carry 40 sets of tires, 2,500 liters of fuel, 200 liters of motor oil, and 90 liters of coolant for their cars in each race.
Seeing #F1 freight arrive on the circuit is like seeing presents under the tree ahead of Christmas day #AustralianGP pic.twitter.com/S27MFh1MOb
— Patrick¹ (@f1patrick_33) April 2, 2022
Further, the main two cars also don’t travel as a whole unit. F1 teams dismantle the F1 cars. Then they pack the parts like front and rear wings, gears, and power units in a separate container and the whole chassis in another container. Subsequently, the F1 teams send these to the race locations. There are three ways for the team to send their packages: land, air, and water.
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Most of the races are in Europe, and most F1 teams are also based there. So teams can easily send their equipment and cars via land to the locations. But the races outside Europe require the teams to take help from airplanes or ships for transporting.
Do F1 teams have their own planes?
The F1 schedule also takes us to other continents, and these locations are called ‘flyaway’ races. And F1 teams can’t rely on trucks to transport their cars and equipment to the flyaway places. The Formula 1 teams then have to go for airplanes and ships.
Did you know that DHL used at least six #Boeing747 cargo #planes to transport crucial @F1 race equipment from Sochi to Suzuka, #Japan? https://t.co/iY4O6L8f2V #Formula1 pic.twitter.com/pj7oiZUFel
— DHL Global Trade (@DHLGlobal) October 19, 2018
So, many wonder if that means teams might own flights for transporting their cars. So, the answer is no cause teams don’t own flights. Instead, Formula 1 has a partnership with DHL for that. DHL offers big cargo flights for transporting the teams’ cars.
So it’s not an easy job to transport to flyaway races. Teams divide their cargo into two halves: critical and non-critical. The critical cargo consists of cars, spare parts, fuel, and IT accessories, which take the airway to the destination. Further, the cars are separated and packed in special containers to load on the flights.
We’re so close now! 🇦🇺 @F1 team freight has arrived in @Melbourne #F1 pic.twitter.com/UUIKWDlDbk
— F1 Australian Grand Prix (@ausgrandprix) March 6, 2020
Meanwhile, the non-critical equipment consists of garage tools and hospitality equipment. This non-critical cargo takes the sea route to the locations. However, sending them via ship will be slower than a flight. So, teams send five cargos to the flyaway sites in advance. When the teams arrive at these locations for racing, all non-critical equipment is already there.
Where do F1 drivers stay during the weekend?
The F1 drivers have two options to stay when they travel to various race locations. They either stay in hotels or their team’s motorhomes. So, the motorhomes are unique and innovative and they act as the base and lounge for the F1 teams.
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Even being a temporary setup, the motorhomes and team bases lack nothing. They have fully-equipped kitchens and restaurants, rooftop seating areas, and, most importantly, comfortable rooms for the staff to rest during the race weekend.
These motorhomes are built by the teams only, so they carry all the necessary material with them to create these motorhomes. Red Bull’s motorhome, the Red Bull Energy Station, requires 25,000kg of timber, 48,000 bolts, and 15,000kg of glass. The Austrian F1 team went a step ahead for Monaco. Because of the space constraints in the principality, they built a motorhome on a floating barge.
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These motorhomes take a lot of trucking for the teams to carry these temporary bases. So, F1 is trying to get rid of these motorhomes to reduce the carbon emission from the trucks and mainly to reduce the logistic stress. Formula 1 is looking for many ways to make it easier for the teams to travel to various race locations.
Edited By: Ranvijay Singh