The Heart of Toyota Formula One Racing

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Formula One racing is not just about drivers' skills to maneuver cars and employing accurate strategies - it is blended with a considerable amount of team preparation to attain its goals. It is at heart, a diverse kind of race which is anchored on the workings of all teams.

So how does each team exude the fundamentals? For the Toyota team's logistics department, there is a steady race against time to get the cars, spare parts and equipment, to the track on time.

And the challenge does not stop there. Once on location, the team considers around 90 members who will need food, hotels, transport and suitable working conditions. Simply, formula One is no simple task. At Toyota's headquarters in Cologne, Germany, team manager Richard Cregan and his staff work ceaselessly to make sure everything runs efficiently.

A Grand Prix starts when the red lights go out and the thrill of the race will be unstoppable even by the most-efficient . One thing that is also non-stop is the work of the logistics department.

"I believe the groundwork that people have to have to achieve good logistics is experience of the business of motorsport, not necessarily in Formula One," Cregan said. "You have to set very clear targets for yourselves. We have our plans for the year because we make plans at the start of every season. Once the calendar is finalized from the FIA we sit down with the different departments, look at the dates of the trucks leaving, when we want the equipment there and basically we go away and arrange that."

To ensure everything is in working order and loaded on to the trucks, two days are spent to prepare and check. "We take about 38-39 tonnes of equipment to each Grand Prix, even a bit more for European races because then of course you have all the equipment loaded in the trucks themselves, like work benches and all sorts of extras for offices that are completely kitted out," explained Markus Burger, the team leader in charge of pit equipment and trucks.

This is essential work as any troubles in the infrastructure of the pits could have serious aftermaths when the action begins on track. As such, all the spare parts are prepared to be called upon at a moment's notice. Basically, in a Formula One garage there is plainly a car waiting to be built.

"You normally have enough parts in the truck to build another car. So effectively you have four complete cars, one in spare parts and three complete. That's more difficult at the beginning of the season because you have a new car and new specification but that's the target we have," Cregan revealed.

But not every eventuality can be prepared for. For Cregan, the challenge of Formula One logistics is not in making the car itself perform to its best, but ensuring the Toyota team behind the car is given everything they need to work to the maximum of their ability.

"We can't influence so much the performance of the car from the logistics department itself but certainly in terms of creating the atmosphere for people to do there job and perform, that is something we can do," Cregan said. "Quite often you have very, very long days, people working late into the evening. It is a very important to make sure those people have the right environment to work in and that's our challenge."

Experts behind a team's success attest to the fact that there is always an overwhelming challenge in every race. Challenge is the accurate word, for nothing in Formula One racing is simple!

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