The first race of the season provides anticipation, nerves and feverish excitement in equal measure. It’s a whirlwind of activity, not just restricted to the on-track action, so keeping a handle on things can be tricky. Luckily, we’ve drawn up a simple ‘How-To’ guide to help aspiring drivers and crew members get ahead of the game…
Step One: Pack Your Bags!
Making sure you have the essentials on board can be a tough task when you’re buzzing with excitement for a new season. Don’t forget these key items for the week ahead:
- Passports – it may look like a typo, but the relentless travel schedule of Formula One makes it necessary for drivers and crew members alike to hold multiple travel documents. Visa applications must be made in advance of each event, so ensuring you’re carrying the correct passport with the relevant working permissions is crucial
- Travel adapter – picture the scene: you return to your hotel from a hard day’s work at the track, ready to catch up with your loved ones, when… disaster! Too much tweeting has drained the battery on your Blackberry. No travel adapter, no charge. Get it packed!
- Packup shirt – whatever your role at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, you’re part of a team. When the chequered flag drops the work is far from over, with tens of tonnes of freight to pack up and ship off to the next destination. You’ll be needing your hi-vis packup shirt to stay safe around the busy post-race paddock, or you may find yourself reliving painful gym class memories in your underwear...
Step Two: Brush Up On Your Terminologies
It’s a long journey to Australia. An ideal time, then, to make sure you’re up with all the latest technical intricacies of the Formula One circus. Here are a few to get you started:
- F1 W 05 – The designation for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team’s 2014 chassis. This name follows in a rich line of heritage, dating back to the very first ‘Silver Arrow’ of 1934: the legendary Mercedes-Benz W 25
- PU 106A Hybrid – The designation for the Mercedes-Benz 2014 Power Unit. ‘PU’ represents the new terminology ‘Power Unit’. ‘106A’ defines this as the first model, of the first generation of the six-cylinder turbocharged era. And Hybrid? Well… that’s what the new age of Formula One is all about!
- Prime / Option Tyres – These refer to the two different compounds of dry tyre available for use at a given race. Only two of the four rubber varieties manufactured by Pirelli are brought to each Grand Prix weekend, selected from the Supersoft (red), Soft (yellow), Medium (white) and hard (orange) compounds according to venue suitability. ‘Prime’ refers to the tyre considered most suited to the circuit’s characteristics; normally the harder of the two compounds
Step Three: Know Your Sport
In Formula One, nothing stands still. Be it technology, personnel or any other aspect of the sport, keeping up with the rapid rate of change can as tough as keeping up with the pack! These pointers should help you on the way:
- New Technology: The Power Unit – The Power Unit (PU) comprises six different systems: the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic (MGU-K), Motor Generator Unit-Heat (MGU-H), Energy Store (ES), Turbocharger and the Control Electronics. The change in terminology reflects the fact that this new powertrain is far more than simply an Internal Combustion Engine. Where the previous V8 format utilised a KERS hybrid system which was effectively ‘bolted on’ to a pre-existing engine configuration, the Power Unit has been designed from the outset with Hybrid systems integral to its operation
- New Faces, New Homes – heading into the 2014 season, seven drivers have changed teams, three rookies have entered the fray and one familiar figure has returned to the grid. Knowing the enemy is not only crucial on the track, but avoids awkward moments off it too…
- Helmets – it’s an unwritten but widely recognised rule that Formula One drivers MUST change their helmet design as often as possible. This not only provides photographers with countless studio shot opportunities (which we’re sure they all love…) but also leads to mass confusion and frustration amongst the media