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How F1's planning of "everything to death" has come undone

How F1's planning of "everything to death" has come undone

F1 News

How F1's planning of "everything to death" has come undone

How F1's planning of "everything to death" has come undone

F1 sporting director Steve Nielsen has explained how the sport's meticulous attention to detail with regard to its operational planning has been severely tested over the past two years.

While 'the show' across a grand prix weekend is what a fan and a television viewer simply get to see, behind the scenes the logistics in ensuring all the freight arrives on time, followed by the setting-up process can prove to be complex and fraught with difficulties.

Such normal challenges have taken on another difficult dimension since the onset of the pandemic which has pushed Nielsen and his team, along with partners DHL, to their limits, particularly with numerous changes and delays to the calendar over the past two years.

"Your horizons for planning are just entirely different," said Nielsen. "At Formula 1, we plan everything to death because when you plan, you've a better chance of success, so you plan every detail, months and months in advance.

"In this environment, you can't work like that. Your horizons are much, much shorter.

"So experience, trust in partners becomes hugely important because you don't have the time to go through all the detail that you would in a normal environment.

"You have to take a view on something, go with your experience, go with the advice of your specialist partners, and hope that it's correct, and it has been.

"It changes the way you plan because you don't have the luxury of time."

F1 has managed to stage a remarkable 39 races in the past 17 and a half months as it has fought a battle in the face of Covid-19.

The equipment for each race involves 120 containers on up to seven aircraft, with each plane handling 100,000 kilos. Occasionally, sea freight is also required.

Explaining further the logistical challenges, Nielsen added: "This season has been a continuation of last season in as much as the pandemic has kind of eked its way into every aspect of what we do, it seems, particularly on the logistical side.

"We continue to work with ever shorter deadlines. In a normal pre-pandemic year, we would take 12-18 months to plan an event. Sometimes this year, we've done it in just a matter of a few weeks because the calendar has required it.

"It's required lots of short changes at short notice, races that were originally planned, we weren't able to get to.

"It was really, I suppose, when we got halfway through this year, that we could be certain we would complete the calendar.

"We're optimistic it will have less and less of an impact, and we can get back to a more normal way of working, which would be to plan, as I say, many, many months in advance.

"But this year hasn't been like that, and it's been quite testing for everybody involved."

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