F1 logistics: the race from Baku to Montreal

F1 logistics: the race from Baku to Montreal

Azerbaijan GP 2022

The Baku and Montreal double whammy is one of the toughest tests for the F1 transport cast this year. The teams will have to be ready with cargo by midnight on Sunday if the operation is to be successful. The race begins with a checkered flag.

The distance between Baku and Montreal is 8,924 kilometres, twelve flight hours and eight time zones. Despite the enormous logistical challenge, Formula 1 squeezes two races on two continents in under seven days. Between the two Grand Prix in Azerbaijan and Canada, 1,000 people, 20 cars and 4,000 tons of material have to be moved from place to place.

Right after the race the teams begin dismantling and packing the material. “We have to be ready by midnight,” says Sauber sporting director Beit Zander. The entire 28-tonne cargo is to fit into twelve containers. The priority seven container numbers are then sent to the Formula 1 Cargo Department.

Assembly of cars in twelve hours

Important transport crates are loaded into the first three cargo planes leaving Baku for Montreal on Monday morning. If all goes according to plan, priority cargo will arrive at the paddock of Montreal’s Ile de Notre-Dame by 8 a.m. Tuesday. The first box does not contain the car or engine as expected. They will be sent along with another batch, which will reach Canada after 24 hours on Wednesday morning.

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Immediately after crossing the finish line, the home belongs to straight forklifts.

Much more important are pit facilities, components such as computers and rims, so that mechanics can do the work as soon as they arrive on site. When cars and engines are delivered, there is still enough time for assembly. “Last year in Brazil we showed that, in an emergency, we can get two cars on their wheels in twelve hours,” says Zander calmly.

The whole team flies to Zurich on Monday by charter plane. After a night at home, the mechanics depart Switzerland on a flight scheduled for Montreal on Tuesday. Engineers and management follow up a day later. For Formula 1 logistics boss Mike Negline, the Baku-Montreal double strike is good training for an even tougher practice at the end of the season. There are 12,108 kilometers and ten time zones between So Paulo and Abu Dhabi.

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