Moving F1’s whole setup from one country to another is absolutely crazy!
Each of the 10 F1 teams shells out $100 million, travels enough miles to circle the Earth three times (75,000 miles!), and hauls 1,500 tons of gear.
In 2023, the original F1 race calendar had 23 races spread over 20 countries on five continents. That meant teams endured 240 hours in the air and hopped across 10 time zones.
F1 Logistics in a nutshell
Logistics in F1 refers to the immense task of moving teams, cars, equipment, and even broadcast gear from one global location to another, often in a matter of days.
With a calendar that spans multiple continents and over 20 races, F1 logistics is a gargantuan task that requires detailed planning, coordination, and execution.
The Basic Process of F1 Logistics
1. Planning: The logistics are planned 18 months in advance to avoid mistakes. DHL, the logistics partner of F1, must help each of the 10 teams travel to and from their individual HQs. F1’s logistical team, in collaboration with individual racing teams and partners, charts out the movement schedule.
2. Packaging: Teams use specialized containers to pack their equipment. These containers are designed to protect the gear, especially the sensitive and expensive parts, from damage during transit.
Before the season starts, teams load five shipping containers with non-critical race weekend equipment. These containers are sent by boat from one overseas location to the next. Specifically:
👉 Bahrain travels to Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Brazil.
👉 Australia heads to Japan.
👉 Azerbaijan container moves to Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
👉 Miami gear goes to Canada, Austin, Mexico, and Las Vegas.
After the season, all kits return to their team’s headquarters for the winter. Choosing boats over planes for these shipments is a big money-saver for teams.
💨 Air: F1 relies on cargo planes, each carrying around 100 tons of freight. For races close together on the calendar, air freight is essential to ensure everything arrives on time.
⛵Sea: Some equipment, especially less urgent items, might be shipped by sea for races spaced further apart or when the next race is far away.
🚚 Land: Trucks play a crucial role, especially in Europe, where races might be just a few hundred miles apart.
On-site Setup: Once the equipment arrives, a flurry of activity ensues to set up everything from the pit garages to the hospitality tents. Timing is crucial, as teams have a few days to get everything race-ready.
How Do F1 Teams Prepare for the Race?
Before the Sunday GP even finishes, teams are already getting a head start on packing for the next race.
In fact, some parts, like engines, get packed up as early as Saturday since there’s just no time to swap them out before the big race.
The big breakdown plan kicks off on the Thursday before the race. Believe it or not, these teams work so efficiently that they can leave no trace of their presence just eight hours after a race ends.
If there are two weeks between races, teams have just ten days to move and set up. But if races are back-to-back, a mere three days to prepare everything at the next spot.
Everyone on the F1 team chips in to help pack up. From taking apart garage walls to packing up tons of tech gear (and so many cables), it’s all hands on deck. After the race, cars are taken apart – but only after the official F1 folks give them the thumbs up.
DHL: F1’s key logistics player
DHL is like the pit crew for Formula 1’s logistics. They’ve been with F1 for nearly 40 years, handling everything from team gear and tires to food and fun stuff. They use trucks, planes, and boats to ensure everything gets where it needs to be on time.
Quick DHL Stats:
💰Annually, each team moves 50 tons of cargo, costing over $8 million.
✈️DHL planes travel 130,000km each season with up to seven Boeing 747s per event.
🚚 300 trucks race-to-race would stretch over 5km!
📮Teams send 660 tons by air and 500 tons by sea annually.
📦 DHL’s cargo boxes are tailor-made for efficient airplane storage.
👭🧑🤝🧑 Around 100 people handle logistics, including DHL staff, team members, and local aides.
🔝Teams’ top-priority gear fills three pallets.
What is F1’s Impact on the Environment?
Formula 1 aims to achieve Net Zero by 2030, and DHL, its key partner, is instrumental in this mission.
DHL introduced 18 biofuel-powered trucks for the European F1 season, which will result in significant carbon savings compared to diesel trucks. These trucks use HVO100 hydrotreated vegetable oil as fuel, aligning with European directives to ensure no competition with food production.
The switch to these trucks aims for a carbon saving of at least 60%. Ellen Jones, F1’s Head of Sustainability, highlighted that while racing accounts for less than 1% of their carbon footprint, two-thirds is from travel and logistics.
When we look at net zero by 2030, what does that mean? That means we are cutting our emissions by 50%, it means we are delivering on sustainable fuels by 2026, and it also means we are engaging our wider sport on the direct action that they can take in terms of reducing their carbon foot print.
F1’s remote broadcasting initiative since 2020 has also helped reduce carbon emissions. Activities once performed at the track now occur in the UK, reducing travel and its associated carbon footprint.
Formula 1 emphasizes the importance of collaboration in achieving sustainability goals and views each action, whether big or small, as a step toward a more sustainable future.