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"Our Heart Beats for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS” - Formula 1 Logistics

The engines roar and the smell of gas is in the air. The race in Melbourne on March 20 opened the new Formula 1 season. This year, eleven teams, each with two drivers, will compete.

One of them: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS with its drivers Nico Rosberg and world champion Lewis Hamilton. 

Always at the track: DB SCHENKERsportsevents – logistics partner of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS  © Matthias Aletsee, DB Schenker

DB Schenker continues to take over the logistics for the Formula 1 team based in Brackley, UK at the 8 European races in 2016. Even aside from business, the sports logisticians have established a relation to the racing team, Soeren Hell reveals. We talked to DB SCHENKERsportsevents' project manager about the planning, his tasks, and the challenges of logistics for a formula 1 team.

logistik aktuell: Mister Hell, you as logistician are almost part of the team. Are you a fan of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and do you follow the races before they come to Europe?

SOEREN HELL: Yes, of course, my heart beats for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS! The team is in a class of its own and the racing fever is of course infectious. All of us keep our fingers crossed for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, so that the 2016 season will be just as successful as the previous one. I personally follow all races as well.

Made his hobby to his profession: Soeren Hell, project manage rat DB SCHENKERsportsevents for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS ©DB Schenker, DB Schenker

Made his hobby to his profession: Soeren Hell, project manage rat DB SCHENKERsportsevents for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS © DB Schenker

The first European race of this season is in May. When do the preparations start for you and your team?

We logisticians were already on duty for the first tests in Barcelona at the end of February. The planning obviously starts a lot earlier. You could actually say that as soon as the previous year's season has ended, we're already starting to think about the start of the season in the next year, planning cars and staff.

When the drivers climb the podium, the work of the logisticians has been worth it. © MAMG, DB Schenker

When the drivers climb the podium, the work of the logisticians has been worth it. © MAMG

What has to be done in the run-up?

Planning – planning – planning. All processes have to be as clear as possible beforehand. That applies for example to the required cars and staff for the coming season. Both already have to be correctly allotted beforehand so that everything is immediately right for the start of the season.

When does the critical stage begin for your team and what does that mean for you as a logistician?

The critical phase for us begins with the first European race mid-May in Barcelona. This year there is something special about it. Several European races take place on consecutive weekends, for example Spielberg (Austria) and Silverstone (UK), Hungaroring (Hungary) and Hockenheim (Germany), Spa (Belgium) and Monza (Italy). That is an enormous challenge and time-wise a very demanding job. It can only be mastered with a lot of precision and a good advance planning of all processes.

Near the action: The staff of DB SCHENKERsportsevents at the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS pit © MAMG, DB Schenker

Near the action: The staff of DB SCHENKERsportsevents at the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS pit © MAMG

How many DB Schenker employees are on duty for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and what are their tasks?

Our task entails all logistics demands for the formula 1 team at all European races, tests, and promotional events. This implies the transportation of the motorhome, the cars, the corresponding engineers offices, the complete pit equipment, and the replacement parts. In addition, the groceries for the catering are on board. When everything is on site, we finally handle the setting up and taking down of garages, engineer offices, as well as the motorhome, which serves the entertainment of VIP guests.

Five DB Schenker trailer trucks are used to bring Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's “Silver Arrows“ alone to the racing tracks of Europe. More DB Schenker vehicles with corresponding trailers are in charge of the overall transportation logistics of the racing team. Therefore, 30 of our employees assist MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS with full commitment. 

Two victories out of two races: The new car of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS © MAMG, DB Schenker

Two victories out of two races: The new car of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS © MAMG

What distinguishes the work for a formula 1 team from that for other customers?

In the sector of sporting events, we have to deal with special requirements time and again, no matter if we work for the Olympic Games, soccer world cups, or the formula 1. Every client expects absolute precision, reliability, and at the same time a high amount of flexibility from us. Contrary to the conventional business with industrial clients, at an event not everything can always be planned down to the last detail. The customer demands are more particular and the goods that we transport, from the sail boat and the race car to the vaulting pole, often have special requirements for transportation.

The same applies to the factor of security. The event business has always been about safety first and it can be expected that this will become even more important in the next years. That is something we also have to consider in our arrangements.

It is now possible to do research on the engines for the entire season. Do the rule changes have any implications for the logistics?

We are of course also responsible for the replenishment of supplies from Brackley. Maybe there will be a few more transports of replacement parts this season.

Enlarge imageAlways at the track: DB SCHENKERsportsevents – logistics partner of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS  © Matthias Aletsee, DB Schenker

Always at the track: DB SCHENKERsportsevents – logistics partner of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS  © Matthias Aletsee

What is your role as project manager on the race weekends?

For me personally, all the pieces come together. I am responsible for the general coordination. My task is to make sure that all logistics services are implemented correctly, precisely, and punctually at all times – even if the circumstances are changing. I ensure that we react flexibly and quickly to everything.

What prevails: the effort or the fun?

Both (laughs). But seriously, the job is of course very intense and entails a lot of responsibility – but at the same time a lot of fun. For me, it is a d

Last modified: 25.04.2016

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