As a massive F1 fan, since 1996 it’s been a huge privilege to visit the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 Factory.
Personally, I’ve been a fan of Mercedes since the very beginning, but as they were mostly associated with McLaren, I kind of kept my distance from the “Dark side” and vowed never to visit the Woking Deathstar. But that all changed as in 2010 Mercedes became a full blown works team (again) and the Silver arrows had made a return (Almost like Return of the Jedi, but this time Ross Brawn had effectively “saved Darth Vader (Mercedes)” from the Emperor “Ron Dennis”). But enough of the Star Wars analogies. When I received the email from Mercedes my flabber was well and truly gasted! The little fanboy inside me was jumping up and down, I couldn’t sleep, and for those of you who saw my video on Instagram kind of know what I’m talking about.
Fortunately I had some free time to make the trip that week back to the UK from Abu Dhabi. So, I just booked the flight and winged it.
I’ve been running the unofficial Mercedes AMG F1 Fan club since late 2010 (Mercedes GP Fans as it was back then!) when me and a friend got it in our heads to do something crazy and start a fan club for the Silver Arrows. This has had moderate success over the years, with our crazy take on all things Silver Arrows and the partisan banter on the various Social Media platforms. Nevertheless, it’s something we’re doing due to our massive passion for F1 and Mercedes.
So my journey started on Wednesday 14th May, took the flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester, yes availability was a bit messed up, and I thought, I don’t care about the long drive down from Manc to Merc (See what I did there?). I met up with Salma who still couldn’t believe this was for real, and that I hadn’t done an elaborate prank.
Come Friday, we met up at about 10am at the Factory gate, and were greeted by the “Man whose name shall not be mentioned” – no he’s not a shady figure, but such is the level of secrecy in F1! (And his face wasn’t pixelated).
After the introductions, we went on the factory tour, and the only thing I can say is, “WHAT’S BEEN SEEN, CANNOT BE UNSEEN!” We had to leave our cameras/phone at the reception. And with the tour we got an idea of just how much effort goes in to make a top flight F1 team work.
The race ops room was something I got all nerdy about, it was basically “Mission Control” seeing race engineers for both drivers and everyone else we see on the pit wall glued to their respective screens doing the things they do best was just awesome. We were then told about the design, R&D and manufacturing processes of an F1 car, and the various bits and pieces. It was precise precision engineering at a very detailed level. Afterwards, we had a little memento from us at Mercedes AMG F1 fans for the team and everyone involved… A Mercedes AMG F1 Fans Banner! As well as Mini-Lewis, Mini-Nico, and Mini-Michael.
It was a Brilliant day, and overall it gave me a great insight to the entire operation and how the team had grown over the past 4 years.
One of my new found hobbies of recent times has got to be the love for Formula One. Having never watched a race on television to being thousands of miles from home attending a race live was something I never thought would happen, but as soon as I heard those engines live in Abu Dhabi in 2010 it was the start of a new journey which I had not anticipated.
Soon after I was trekking around the world following the sound of those engines from country to country.
This week I was invited by Mercedes AMG F1 fans to attend a factory tour in Brackley, UK. You can imagine the smile on my face once I got the email!
The journey started in Manchester and I could feel the excitement from within.
We arrived at the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS factory at 10:00 to be greeted by staff who then took us on a tour.. It was great seeing how the car is built and the amount of detail and precision it takes from the staff in making sure the car is as good as it can possibly be. We also had the chance to see both Lewis and Nico's race engineers hard at work, eyes fixated on their screens.
The security was immense too, as you can imagine! (They can't have their secrets being revealed when's there's a Championship at stake!)
We had a great time getting to know the various different departments within the Mercedes factory and seeing the work and effort put in both on the track and at base is what makes Mercedes a winning team.