On the road with…Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing team will travel up to 100,000 miles each Formula One season, visiting race destinations from Bahrain to Brazil.

Williams Martini Racing team spend up to 170 days of the year away from home, visiting race destinations from Bahrain to Brazil. Members of the operations set-up at Williams F1 gave SportsPro an insight into their travelling requirements.

From the first practice session of the season to the final Grand Prix on the calendar, a Formula One team will travel roughly 100,000 miles a year. With a sizeable checklist of items together with a team of up to 75 personnel required at each Grand Prix, the Williams F1 team must count on air, land and sea travel to get around.

For the races held on European soil, a number of Mercedes Actros MP4 GN14 WMD trucks will travel by road from the team HQ in Oxfordshire, UK, packed with the Williams Mercedes FW37 cars, spare parts, tools and other race supplies.

The technical team get to work during a Grand Prix – they are just some of the 75 personnel required at each race weekend.

“The longest period you will ever be away is during a back-to-back flyaway race where you can be looking at 17 days away,” says a spokesperson for the Williams F1 operations team.

Williams F1 work closely with DHL, the official Formula One logistics partner, among other companies, to coordinate the transportation of their goods and with races grouped in pockets during the season, some items might not return back to base for up two months. For the first flyaway of the 2015 F1 season equipment was sent to Australia, where the season opener was held on 15th March, before travelling on to Malaysia and then China, returning home after the race in Bahrain on 19th April.

One of the Mercedes Actros MP4 GN14 WMD trucks which transports supplies and equipment to European races.

Sea freight is used to transport the more general equipment such as shelves, tables, and catering equipment that is needed throughout a Grand Prix weekend. “We have five sets of sea freight that travel to different countries throughout the year so we buy five of everything. Therefore items that are cheaper and can be bought multiple times are sea freighted. We also place heavier items in sea freight because transporting those in the air would be prohibitively expensive.

“Air freight is reserved for the more complicated items that might need to be modified throughout the season, including the cars, spares, and the tools and equipment used to build and service them.” Joining these goods in the air is a travelling party of up to 75 technicians, mechanics, marketing personnel and chefs, in addition to the management and drivers – Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas and reserve driver Adrian Sutil – who are flown commercially to each race destination.

The Williams Martini Racing motorhome, which serves as accomodation for the drivers at Grands Prix in Europe.

“We do not normally source things locally so absolutely everything we need has to come with us. We are self-sufficient and this means we can guarantee the quality of our equipment at all times.” This means supplies ranging from Tensa crowd-control barriers and patio umbrellas, to an industrial oven are among the items that travel. Additionally, the team will take a plethora of electrical equipment and cabling which is all powered by their own generators at European races, meaning they do not have to rely on the main circuit.

The 6,000-square-foot motorhome, which is taken to European race weekends, is made up of ten cases – which store equipment in between races – and is assembled into a structure to house offices and driver rooms. A deal with Mercedes sees the team supplied with cars to ferry the drivers around at race destinations.

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