Turkey: A question of logisitics

The Turkish Grand Prix provides an interesting challenge for F1 logistics, being a link between Europe and Asia. As the circuit is actually not too far from most team HQs, many teams are opting to have their team trucks and motorhomes travel by sea instead of air, utilising the port in the Trieste to moor the boats before the overland travel to Istanbul.

Sea freight is an old-fashioned way to travel but it actually a much cheaper option than air travel. With a significant three week break before the Turkish Grand Prix, many teams are opting for this money-saving option including one of the top teams, Ferrari.

Ferrari s head of logistics Miodrag Kotur explained, “Sending equipment by ship is much, much cheaper than using the FOM air charter. To give you an idea of the saving, it is still cheaper, even though it involves having three sets of everything that we sea freight, totalling around 15,000 kg.” Three sets are required to shuttle parts around the world to cover all non-European races.

“The equipment we sent to Australia for the first race of the season came back to Italy for re-stocking before being sent off to China,” Kotur continued. “The package that went to Malaysia will be next seen in Japan, while the freight first use in Bahrain then went on to Canada, USA and Brazil. Each package contains exactly the same equipment included in the list of equipment is stuff that in the past we would have hired on-site at the circuits such as tables and chairs and kitchen equipment.”

“Hire costs are so high that is it more economical to buy these things at home, as well as items such as generators, cables connections and so forth, and then send them by sea. A single chair can be ridiculously to hire this is Formula 1 after all! We can buy equipment and use it over several years so it is a good way of further amortising the costs.”

One of the few things that are never sent by sea are the car parts. Over the course of a season, many technological changes are made and this means the car components may change from race to race. However large bulky parts such as the garage dividers, along with furniture and non-race essentials are best transported using ships.

The new Japanese circuit for 2008 located by Mount Fuji will also produce an interesting challenge for F1 logistics planners. Because it is located in the mountains, there are few hotels and amenities near-by making finding suitable accommodation for the whole F1 circus a difficult task. The journey from the capital, Tokyo, to the circuit takes around three hours and the track has just one small road leading up to it meaning there could be some large traffic jams. Race organisers are contemplating creating an “F1 personnel” route with a 25 km radius around the circuit to try and improve traffic flow over the weekend.

The behind the scenes work that supports an F1 team is oft forgotten by fans and many do not realise the challenges and planning that go into getting the drivers and cars to the races around the world.