A last-minute dash across the world has ensured that all the teams will have their equipment ready for this weekend’s Formula 1® Heineken® Australian Grand Prix 2022.
Formula 1®’s official freight partner DHL had to intervene to ensure that the equipment, which was in the midst of a 42-day trip down under by sea freight, made it to Australia in time for the third round of the Formula 1® World Championship.
The ship containing the freight was delayed by a week, then another two days, then another two. Add to that the fact that some of the teams wanted to make changes to their garage ‘kit’ since the end of last season (for instance, Aston Martin Racing is running a different shade of green that it did last year) and then, February and Ukraine happened.
DHL’s Vice President of Motorsport Logistics, Paul Fowler, had to fly from the company’s Luton, UK base to Singapore to ‘rescue’ the supplies for three F1® teams, which had been delayed in transit and which were in danger of arriving in Melbourne too late.
Once he arrived in the city-state, Fowler had to oversee the removal of the freight, its repackaging and loading onto three air freighters, two Boeing 777s and a 767-300, to get them to Melbourne. One of the planes had to be relocated from Los Angeles and one from Vietnam.
The items arrived at Albert Park on Monday, in time to be used for the race weekend.
Apart from the logistics of moving the teams’ equipment around the world, the cost of freight has gone through the roof in the last two years.
“There is almost a bidding war now,” Fowler.
“Rates from Europe to Asia to Europe that were pitching at about [US] $900 a container is now about $20,000.”
What many people do not see is the work that goes into moving some of the team hardware, apart from the cars, engines and spares, around the world by sea.
“All teams have five sets of kit, and that is stretching to six, because of the extra races,” says Fowler.
“So the stuff you see in the garages, on the walls, the pitlane gantries, the perches that the team personnel sit on, is all sea freighted in.”
It’s a good thing that Fowler and his colleagues know their stuff. Freight arrangements may not be sexy but without them, we would not have a full grid of Formula 1® cars.