Just seven days after the Spanish Grand Prix comes one of the highlights of the season in Monaco. For the team, this particular set of back-to-back races means a real logistical challenge.
As soon as the chequered flag had been waved at the Spanish Grand Prix, it was time to start the next race – a 660km dash along the Mediterranean coastline from Barcelona to Monte Carlo.
While Michael and Nico were talking to reporters in the paddock at the Circuit de Catalunya about their P6 and P7 points finish, the rest of the team were already busy, carefully packing up the material – from pit equipment and spare parts to the two Silver Arrow cars – and getting ready for departure.
This time, everything had to be done much faster than usual after a race weekend with the garage and Motorhome needing to be set-up in Monaco by Wednesday morning. The organisation involved in back-to-back races represents a considerable logistical challenge for the team. In the case of Monaco, however, the requirements are even more demanding: after all, the first practice sessions take place on Thursday, one day earlier than usual. Everything must be done in a much shorter time span: dismantling, packing up, transport, unpacking and reassembly.
The job of the team’s logistics guys is simply described but more difficult to execute – the basic idea is to constantly have around 30 tonnes of materiel in the right place at the right time and always to know which crate to look in for each of around 10,000 items that the team needs.
The travel strategy has to be planned every bit as precisely as the race strategy. The guiding principle is to take as little as possible but as much as necessary. Even so, there are things that a Formula One team simply cannot leave at home, not least the cars, the engines and all the spare parts. That’s not even considering the garage set-up, pit stop equipment, wheels and tools.
It’s enough to fill around 120 crates. Little things like laptops, 100 radio sets and headphones, plus cutlery and all of the hospitality equipment. Not forgetting all those useful things that make life in the paddock a little bit easier and which are necessary to cater for team members and VIP guests – from the espresso machine to the vacuum cleaner. So that not even one of the 10,000 individual items is left behind, the team’s checklist can run to several dozen A4 sheets.
On Monday morning, the team members departed for Monaco in their Mercedes-Benz cars and arrived safely by late afternoon. The route from Barcelona to Monaco was full of Formula One lorries making their steady progress, ready to be unpacked and set-up once again in the Principality.