F1 hits the beach
Summer Break 2014
JA on F1 readers enjoy behind the scenes tour of Mercedes F1 factory
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Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Oct 2013   |  6:05 pm GMT  |  34 comments

Today 10 lucky JA on F1 readers got the chance to go around the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team headquarters in Brackley and saw where the cars are made.

In the latest initiative aimed at bringing the fans closer to the sport, we were able to show them the “behind the scenes” of how a top F1 team operates and they were able to get a sense of what 2014 holds in store.


The group also got a flavour of the process of making an F1 car, from the drawing office, to the fabrication, composites and testing processes through to assembly in the race bays. They got a chance to handle and pose for photos with Lewis Hamilton’s Hungary GP winner’s trophy and Nico Rosberg’s British GP winners trophy.

We also took the opportunity to survey the group on attitudes to a range of current topics in F1 such as the fast degrading Pirelli tyres, 2014 technology, DRS, the image of Sebastian Vettel. We will publish the results of that mini-survey soon.


And as luck would have it the three Brawn chassis from the title winning season 2009, made at the same Brackley base, were on display prior to two of them being shipped out, one to Jenson Button and one to Ross Brawn. Normally a team builds five chassis a year, but that year with budgets being tight, they built three, of which one was mainly moved around as a spare monocoque, not built up. It is rare to see all three cars together.

The guests all received a Mercedes goody bag and a limited edition JA on F1 T shirt.

Huge thanks to our partners UBS for making it happen and to Mercedes for welcoming the group.

We will have an even more exciting competition soon, so keep an eye on the site for details.

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34 Comments
  1. Owen says:

    Interesting about the Brawn chassis – I had heard that one of the reasons Button went to McLaren was that he felt he had a contract agreement that gave him the chassis if he won the championship, and Brawn/Mercedes went back on that.

    1. Clear View says:

      Button took court proceedings against Mercedes who had bought the team soon after season end. They tried to say that it wasn’t available and they would make him 1 during summer break but button wanted the one he crossed the line in to win the championship with. They eventually settled out if court with Jenson getting his wish (and contracted right)

      1. Random 79 says:

        Now I have this image of Jenson spending his free time sitting in his old F1 car at home, turning the wheel and making broom broom noises :)

      2. Clear View says:

        Lmao, that could be an episode of ‘Tooned’ they could call it ‘jenson’s day off’ lol

      3. Richard D says:

        Perhaps he could use it to race with and beat the useless McLaren he has been driving this year!

      4. KRB says:

        Yeah, I heard that too … but that was way back that he won. Surprising to hear that he hasn’t even received it yet.

        Does he still have his place in Guernsey? Wiki says he lives in Monaco now. Maybe they’ll ship it to his mom and dad’s place? “Yeah, just put it in the basement please”.

      5. Clear View says:

        They could have just fitted a set of idicators and some inters and driven it down to him lol

        Yes think he does live Guernsey still, Wiki is a bit unreliable sometimes (massive understatment)

  2. Sebee says:

    Btw…is this where they keep that exploded F1 car?
    Any helmets go missing during tour? Lewis’ this time perhaps? :-)

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes the exploded car is very cool – in a glass case like a Damien Hirst shark!

  3. Really cool to see the three Brawns together . . . I guess Jenson is finally getting his car back?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes that’s why they were together for the last time before they go off

      1. Mark Sinclair says:

        That was 2009 that Jenson won the WCC. Has it taken all that time for the case to be resolved so that he could finally get the chassis?

        I did not know that Ross also got a chassis too.

      2. Simmo says:

        *such

  4. DB says:

    I think it is surreal that those Brawn cars almost never raced.

    I feel a little sorry for Honda too.

    1. Random 79 says:

      The Brawn story is one I’d call a modern fairy tale.

      As for Honda…let’s just say that I hope this time around they do a little better in the decision making department :)

    2. Clear View says:

      Why feel sorry for Honda? They were short-sighted, it’s the same with all the big name manufacturers, if no glory comes within a given time frame, they pull out and don’t care about the lively hoods of the people who make the team, so Honda deserves to have their nose rubbed in it a bit.

      1. Elie says:

        When you spend half a billion dollars a year to go racing I don’t think there’s an infinite amount of time you can do it. We should thank companies like Honda who gave the 600 odd people their job in the first place – not just scream blue murder when they are forced to close down.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Generally I agree.

        The only concession I make to Honda is that they made the call at the start of the GEC and they didn’t sit on the fence; it was either in or out and they chose out.

        Yes in hindsight that was the wrong decision, but you could also say they made a better decision than Toyota who continued for an extra year, spent millions more and still came out with squat.

        Still, a small part of me would have loved to have seen the look on some of the Honda executives at the beginning of 2009: Priceless :)

    3. Javier Marcelo says:

      All that episode Honda-Brawn was a bit wird.

      Its supose that Honda would have stayed if they new the real potential of the car and doble and triple diffusers and all Brawn’s inventions of 2008.

      Big business for Brawn at the end.

      I have read that Brawn and Schu had (or it was said they had) a secret agreement to do the same with merc, and that was the reason they took Lauda, Toto, Paddy and all new staf to the team.

      1. Javier Marcelo says:

        Brawn inventions made whith Honda’s money

      2. Random 79 says:

        “I have read that Brawn and Schu had a secret agreement to do the same with merc”

        So secret that not even Brawn and Schumi knew about it ;)

      3. Javier Marcelo says:

        hehe
        Well, something hapened to bring all the army arround him.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Yep it’s called money :)

      5. Javier Marcelo says:

        Here it is. A news from end of 2009. Translate the page to english if you have any interest
        http://motor.as.com/motor/2012/09/20/mas_motor/1348156220_850215.html

      6. Javier Marcelo says:

        September 2012, sorry

  5. Curro says:

    Really cool, congrats to all the visitors and kudos to JAonF1 for arranging it.

  6. Elie says:

    Wow how lucky to see the winning chassis together. Fantastic story behind Jensons winning car- I didn’t know that.- Good on him for taking that home.

    You didn’t happen to see any blown up engines from he mid 2000′s by any chance ?

  7. Richard says:

    Yes this is one team I really hope will do well, and while they need to sort out their top heavy management structure, I hope they will have the wherewithal in the aero department as I feel that will still be the key area next year. I wait with baited breath on attitudes regarding high degadation tyres which I believe are an anathema, and Sebastion Vettel is made by design just like all other winning drivers. As to his sportsmanship I feel it is an area he needs to work on.

  8. Darren says:

    We’ll done jaonf1
    This experience as a competition. WOW
    Wonderful, just wonderful.
    This site gives me more insight , knowledge & perspective than any F1 info stream. Then you provide access to Mercedes AMG for your readers.
    Really amazing. My favourite site for F1
    Great job, really like the Mark Gillan technical input this year. When does this years book get released? Need to tell my mum, the one present I’m always waiting to unwrap.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that! Book will be available to pre-order next month and will be published about a week after the last race

  9. Howard P says:

    Haha, what an awkward smile I’m putting on!

    Thank you James and all the guys and girls at Mercedes for doing this. It was such a memorable day, to get so close to the heart of operations and seeing everything work – what a buzz! Seeing the Brawns together for one last time, can’t get that feeling anywhere else. Also I’m sure that was Ross himself behind us in the office early on in the tour… bit of a surreal moment because no-one else seemed to notice…

  10. Edward Ratcliff says:

    Who’s the handsome fellow with the trophy? ;)
    A great day indeed, thank you James and Mercedes. The envy of many and rightly so, I would have been too!
    Yes Howard, Ross was there in his office opposite mission control, I looked back and saw him as we left the corridor, was in a meeting with someone. The master at work :) hope he doesn’t leave, I’d miss him as a fan.

    Lastly, those Brawn cars parked up (just for us, of course ;) ) was fantastic, such good looking cars.
    It was because of the engine as to why Jenson didn’t get the car yet, apparently. Now coming to the end of the current engine regs, they’re happy to let the car go out to the “public”. Jenson could sell it of course…

  11. Dennis Kwok says:

    Looking at the pics reminds me when I visited the factory back in 2006 when it was Honda. I watched the opening race at Bahraine with team members on their huge projector and got a little tour afterwards.

    It was really interesting looking at the carbon body parts area above the prep bays, as stuff like nosecones and complete floors were strewn around as though the team left in a real hurry!

    The best bit was seeing the 2005 Bonneville 400 car without bodywork just left standing in one of the bays and I was allowed a good poke around it. Looking at the engineering and detail that went into the parts was incredible and the Bonneville car had some unique features, such as super small sidepods and a very different floor. Oh, it also had a full fat 950bhp 3.0l V10 engine too. Non of that 2.4l V8 nonsense!

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