Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Formula 1

Haven’t been blogging for the past 2 weeks due to an overseas holiday where there’s a lot of football involved. Anyway, reached back in Singapore and realized that it will be the F1 Singapore GP this weekend, a weekend of festivities, burnt rubber, fast cars and night life.

This year will be the 4th edition of the Singapore GP and this will be the first time that I finally have the luxury of watching it at home (that means I do not have tickets). There have been a lot of reports over the world, reporting that Sebastien Vettel may win the World title this weekend and a lot of drivers love the Singapore street circuit because it is challenging to drive and it do feel special driving under floodlights.

What actually amazed me is the whole logistical set up for the F1 teams, be it local or overseas. As the teams are based in Europe, races held in Europe are generally easier for the teams to set up their pits and motor-homes. The teams usually have their own motor-homes or trailers which can be driven to the European circuits and set up as a hospitality lounge and rest areas for the crews and drivers. The same also applies to MotoGP, where I’ve read that Valentino Rossi likes to stay in motor-home during a race weekend.

For flyway races like Singapore, the teams utilize air-freight transport for their cars and equipments. With so many equipments to be set up prior to the race weekend,   the pit and logistic crews usually arrive at the venue at least 1 week before the race to set up their systems. Then the real work begins when the drivers and the rest of the entourage arrive. Crews will be working on the F1 machines, engineers discussing and evaluating the cars performances and set up, drivers attending media events and familiarizing the circuit route by walking or cycling, then comes the 1st practice session on Friday.

There will be 2 Practice sessions on Friday and usually the teams will use it to conduct long runs to test on the reliability of the cars and tires, and shorter runs to evaluate different setups for the cars that will most suit the circuit. Teams will also tend to try out new modification updates on their cars during these sessions and teams usually run on different programs and strategies during these sessions to keep their rivals guessing on their own potential. Saturday will have another round of testing before the qualification begins. This practice run is on a shorter time frame compared to the previous 2, and enable the teams to have a final test on the cars before going to qualification.

People who had watched or followed F1 should know how qualifying for F1 works. When it ends, all the cars will return to Parc Femme where nobody else is supposed to work on the car until hours before race day, or if permission is granted when they need to repair or change major components ( this will also affect their grid position on race day).
Come race day, the race starts, crashes, team strategies, podium, celebrations, explanations and everything comes to an end. Then the pit crews will start dismantling their systems and equipments and transport to another venue.

This post is specially dedicated to the pit crews of all the teams who had been the unsung heroes of F1 races.

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