Amidst all the autograph sessions, press conferences and blistering lap times the fact that Formula One is a team sport must not be forgotten or overlooked. In Singapore, just like at all F1 races, before the drivers have even entered the paddock their engineers and team personnel will have already been hard at work. As well as being the initial group of people to arrive at the paddock, this group of committed individuals were also the last to leave it the previous night.
This morning, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing mechanics wheeled Max Verstappen’s number 33 beast down to scrutineering whilst the other half of the garage worked on dismantling Alex Albon’s charger, as shown in this feature’s photograph. Meanwhile, the Renault F1 Team was busy running practice pit stops and the mechanics of Sport Pesa Racing Point F1 Team were also being put through their paces with an intense pit stop drill. All of this whilst the Ferrari Challenge was commencing on track showing how when the F1 circus comes to town – so does a lot more than simply Formula One.
The Red Bull mechanics were heading to scrutineering to do a ‘pre MOT’ as they called it, to ensure that their car is legal whether scrutineering comes calling or not. Ten minutes later they were happy with their measurements and recordings and back to their garage they returned. However, that was just one of the many tasks ahead of them and they busily set to assessing and evaluating the next. All this was undertaken in front of near empty grandstands, the very same which will be filled several hours later when the much adored racers take to the track.
Formula One drivers ae truly gifted individuals but they cannot do any of this without their committed team members. It is no wonder that Charles Leclerc visited Maranello to thank the 1300 staff members following his back to back victories, in the same way that Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas would return to Brackley to pay tribute to all associated with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
The Formula One teams are certainly quick to praise those behind the scenes as any scrolling through Twitter would show. Each team highlights the journeys made by their ardent workers and the thousands of miles covered over the course of the season. The most recent being McLaren’s feature on packing up their gargantuan motorhome as the European part of the F1 season drew to a close.
Netflix’s Drive to Survive has done a remarkable job growing Formula 1 and showing the stories behind the teams but spare a thought for the personnel unloading crates three days prior to any car on track as well as the drivers of the articulated lorries ready to move into the paddock after Sunday’s chequered flag.
When free practice commences later on today, whoever may be at the top at the timing screen is only there thanks to the many hours beforehand which has contributed to generating such a performance in the first place.