F1 teams race against time in Monaco - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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F1 teams race against time in Monaco

BBC's Sarah Holt has a pretty cool blog: BBC - Sarah Holt's Blog: F1 teams race against time in Monaco

Sarah Holt | 15:23 UK time, Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Monaco, where is your magic? What has happened to your sense of poise and sleek elegance?

The media had to rub their eyes as they arrived in Monte Carlo expecting to find a well-turned-out paddock ready for its VIP guests.

Instead, they found fork-lift trucks trundling along the harbour and ladders propped unceremoniously outside Ferrari, normally the epitome of impeccable.

For the first time in its history, which dates back to 1929, Monaco Grand Prix weekend kicked off just three days after another race.

The result is a sense of dazzle and disarray, summed up perfectly when a member of the BBC team was almost taken out in style by a fork-lift carrying crates of champagne.

A McLaren team member takes a break from building their extravagant motorhome in the Monaco paddock

Mark Webber, winner of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, manoeuvred much more serenely through the chaos while carrying a large, red carrier bag on his way to Red Bull's floating headquarters. (He was probably practising his obstacle negotiation ahead of qualifying on Monaco's mean streets).

Since Sunday night, Formula 1's dozen teams have been racing against time to dismantle their garages and motorhomes, transport them 420 miles down the coast from Barcelona to Monaco and put the pieces of the jigsaw back together again just three days later.

"As you can see, it is chaos," said Lotus team manager Graham Watson, looking out of his window at the worker bees busily constructing McLaren's mammoth motorhome.

"The large motorhomes are presenting quite big issues this week in the amount of time it takes to put together.

"Having back-to-back races and coming to Monaco, with the cars running on Thursday instead of Friday, is a tall order for everybody.

"We packed down our main garage by 11pm on Sunday night in Barcelona and the trucks drove straight to Monaco."

At least Lotus had finished constructing their base - 15m long, 5.5m and two stories high - in time to serve a bowl of spaghetti on Wednesday lunchtime.

Fellow newcomers Virgin were still assembling their similarly-sized motorhome despite working through the night and employing extra staff to get the job done.

In fact, two workers who stopped for a chat were swiftly called back to get on with the job.

While McLaren co-opted tyre suppliers Bridgestone's headquarters as a chill-out space for drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, Ferrari feverishly added the finishing touches to their home and flowers were arranged in the background at Red Bull as Webber conducted his interviews, it was business as usual at Mercedes.

The German team, who had used their German touring car championship motorhome in Barcelona, had waited until Monaco's grand environs to take the wraps off their new home - a gigantic, gleaming silver cube spread over three floors.

The Mercedes motorhome was designed and built in just two months, took two days to assemble and cost just under 2m euros - the team say it's a bargain compared to the 10m euros McLaren spent on their 'Brand Centre'.

But even Mercedes will have to call upon all their resources for the season-closing back-to-back races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, a schlep of 7,600 miles.

"It's going to be a huge issue getting out of Brazil and on to Abu Dhabi," said Watson with a rueful smile.

"That's going to make this look like a walk in the park."
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