Panasonic Toyota Racing's General Manager F1
Operations Richard Cregan explains the intricacies of Monaco
logistics, and how the team prepares this season's three back-to-back
What is the biggest logistical challenge
is the biggest enemy that all teams have in Monaco. Upon arrival,
it takes basically a full day to manoeuvre the trucks into
the Monaco paddock. Formula One Management (FOM) makes a plan
and drawing for every paddock, where everything should go,
so the Monaco paddock is no more precise than anywhere else,
it is just the space limitation. FOM's planning is highly
valuable because without it, there would be chaos. The main
issues are the lack of space and that every truck has to be
crammed in much tighter.
What are the biggest advantages of the new
main difference between Monaco 2003 and this year has been
the excellent new pit facilities and the pitlane itself. The
pitlane before was very narrow and we only had just enough
space to do a pitstop. The fast lane was passing dangerously
close to the mechanics. This year, we have a pit building
that is about the same size as somewhere like Imola. We have
two spare cars at Monaco, one for Olivier and one for Cristiano,
because the possibility of damaging a car is much greater,
so there is now plenty of space for all four cars. We also
have an area upstairs for the engineers to work and to store
equipment. At the back of the garage, there is also space
for the Michelin tyres and the pitwalls. The difference is
enormous and a transformation from one of the most difficult
tracks to work at to actually better than some existing facilities.
Why was it so much better compared to previous
In the past, without these new facilities, most of the teams
were located in a car park at the top of a hill about 20 minutes
walk from the pitlane. We had to transport the cars from the
car park to the pitlane before each session and then back
again after the session. Only the top 4 teams in the championship
could work from the paddock area, and that was still ten minutes
from where the cars needed to be for a session. Now all teams
have their technical trucks in the paddock and their car equipment
directly in the pitlane. Now, it is possible to leave everything
in one place, rather than continuously moving between the
The European Grand Prix weekend begins just
three days after Panasonic Toyota Racing's four-point success
in Monaco. How does the team cope with the demands of back-to-back
Planning for the Monaco and European Grands Prix began months
ago to ensure a smooth transition between the two races in
the short space of time that we have. We have to meticulously
prepare the transportation of all team vehicles, technical
trucks, support trucks and motorhomes from the confines of
Monaco to the Nürburgring in only a couple of days.
What are the biggest issues that a team
faces when departing Monaco?
The biggest issue is to get all the trucks out of Monaco by
Sunday night, which is when we have our deadline to leave.
The trucks will all go to a parking place in Nice on Sunday
night and will then be picked up by the drivers on Monday
morning to come back to Germany. The actual departure from
the track is out of our hands. Everything has to leave in
a strict order, which is determined by the way the paddock
is laid out. The other issue is the traffic around Monaco,
but by the time the equipment is packed into the units, the
traffic is much reduced. FOM organise a police convoy, so
it normally runs problem-free.
Toyota's factory is not far from Nürburgring,
so would the trucks return there before the race?
any back-to-back race, we obviously have to strip down and
rebuild the cars in a shorter period of time. On this occasion,
we have chosen to rebuild them on site at the Nürburgring.
Bringing them back to the factory in Cologne, even though
it is only 90 minutes drive away from the track, does not
make sense. By the time, we bring them back, offload them,
rebuild the cars and put them back on the truck again, we
would actually save time by going directly to the Nürburgring.
We have a rebuild kit ready and waiting at the track for each
car, so work can begin as soon as the trucks arrive.
Monaco-Nürburgring is only the first
of three back-to-back situations this season. At the beginning
of June there is Canada and the USA, so how would your approach
differ for those races?
It would be the same situation for all back-to-back races
of the season, whether it is Canada and Indianapolis or Magny-Cours
and Silverstone. It is simply a question of working out the
movements carefully. Basically what we will do between Canada
and the US races is to keep everybody together. We will fly
personnel on a charter flight from Montreal to Indy on Monday.
The freight will be transported for arrival on Tuesday and
then we would do exactly the same procedure as we do for the
Nürburgring. We would build up the garage as soon as
possible and then rebuild the cars from Wednesday.
What benefits will you have for back-to-back
The real benefit we have for this first back-to-back of the
season is the proximity of the track to the factory in Cologne.
At the Nürburgring race, it is easy to get spare parts
down from Cologne, but at overseas events, we do not have
that luxury. The most important difference for overseas races
is to make absolutely sure you have everything we need. The
same as the first intercontinental races in Australia, Malaysia
and Bahrain, just that the turnover time is much tighter.
I actually like the back-to-backs, because it keeps everybody
in the team on their toes and busy. One thing that I repeat
to the team at each race is attention to detail - these races
ensure that everybody is concentrated on the small details.
- source: Toyota -