Skip to content

A Day in the Life: Race Support for the Australian Grand Prix

While our trackside team on the ground in Melbourne have had to adapt to the Southern Hemisphere time zone, our Race Support crew back at base have had to adjust their body clocks too.

Our Race Support team are a crucial part of our race weekend structure, working in tandem with the trackside engineers to extract maximum performance, and when the Australian Grand Prix rolls around, that means working through the night in Brackley.

We joined Brice, one of our team in Brackley on duty for Free Practice Friday, to give you an idea of what a race weekend night shift looks like at a Formula One factory.

23:00 (Thursday): The alarm goes off and it’s time to wake up! I went to bed at about 4pm so I’ve had about seven hours sleep. This will be my third day since I started switching up my sleeping pattern.

We start planning for these time shifting events more than three days in advance. I have been waking up about 3-4 hours earlier each day since the start of the week.

This means I go from 7am on Monday to 10pm on Wednesday in preparation for the first team meeting of the weekend in the early hours of Thursday morning.

00:30 (Friday): The driver briefing is our first meeting of the day. This involves everyone working the race trackside and back in Brackley. We chat through our plans of action for the day and discuss any potential concerns for the weekend ahead.

01:00: Breakfast time! Having ensured the communication systems between the track and the factory are in working order, I have about 15 minutes to grab something to eat before FP1. This is a great chance to get to know team members from other departments, who you wouldn’t normally chat to. It’s fun to hear about what they are working on. You can make new friends too.

01:15: Back in the RSR to begin my final preparations for FP1 which begins at 01:30. I’m double checking all the systems I’m responsible for are up and running correctly.

02:30: End of FP1. As soon as the session ends, the strategy group puts together competitor reports to present in our session debrief which starts in just 15 minutes.

03:15: With the debrief finished, I have about an hour to myself. Sometimes this is doing more work in preparation for FP2, eating lunch or grabbing a snack, or even going for a quick walk or workout.

04:15: By now, I’m back to work, reviewing that all my systems are updated to run for FP2 and chatting with my coworkers about who will be doing what for the next session.

05:00: FP2 starts, and it’s a simple case of repeating all the processes from FP1.

06:30: Instead of a whole team debrief, we just do an engineering debrief where each core department presents high level information before the more in-depth debrief with the drivers at 06:45.

Following these two meetings, we begin our analysis work with all the new data we got from our day of testing. This includes seeing how the tyres are performing this year, how fast we think our competitors are, and what we think the race will look like on Sunday.

For me this means setting up and running millions of qualifying and race simulations to predict the most likely outcomes for the rest of the weekend.

07:30: Strategy meeting. All members of the strategy team working the race that weekend get together to discuss our plans for the next day, which is qualifying. This is mainly deciding what tyres we want to use when we would like to send our drivers out on track to give them the best chance of setting the fastest lap.

If I haven't eaten yet, now is also a great time to have lunch (also known as breakfast!)

09:00: In the final team meeting of the day, we discuss how the car will be set up for the following day and what we want to learn in FP3 before we move on to qualifying. With these meetings finished, I help complete a strategy report that encompasses all of our learnings from the day.

10:00: At this point, you’re running on empty! I usually try to go to the gym to get a workout and tire myself out so I can get myself to sleep later. After the gym, I grab my last meal of the day and can start to think about heading home.

12:30 Home time! This gives me a few hours of to unwind before I need to go to sleep and get ready to do it all over again on Saturday, before one final big push on Sunday.

Post race the goal is always to try and get back into the swings of things in the UK time zone as quickly as possible.

For races that finish late, that usually means a quick turnaround to be back in the office at 0830 on Monday. For Australia, it’s the other way round. We’ll finish 7am UK time and then I’ll try and stay up as long as possible and get to bed at a normal hour!

Miami Competition: Win BIG in the Magic City

Your chance to win an experience like no other at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix
Sign Up to Win Big