Today ten lucky JA on F1 competition winners got the chance to see how the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team designs, builds and modifies its F1 cars on a unique behind the scenes tour of the factory in Brackley.
Standing next to the very chassis in which Nico Rosberg suffered his huge accident in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, they reflected that they were getting closer to the sport than they ever could have dreamed. While in the race bays, they also had a close look at Michael Schumacher’s car and the pit stop equipment which gives Mercedes some of the fastest stops in F1.
And they were given a comprehensive explanation of Schumacher’s steering wheel by Evan, one of the team’s leading electronics experts.
The group was given a tour of the engineers drawing office and were given a 45 minute briefing by veteran race engineer Jock Clear, who has been working with Michael Schumacher for the past season and a half.
They then saw the machine shop and the pattern shop, where the technicians are hard at work on parts for the 2013 challenger which will be raced by Lewis Hamilton. They had a briefing from a composites expert on how to make carbon fibre components like wishbones and nose boxes and went into the non-destructive testing area, where parts from the cars which have just returned from Abu Dhabi were being checked for stress and wear.
The tour, which was laid on by our partners UBS, ended with lunch with Communications Director Bradley Lord, who gave some broader insights into Mercedes in Formula 1.
“It was amazing!” said Alex Manning. “I wasn’t expecting to actually be standing next to the cars from Abu Dhabi and speak to so many staff – the highlight was deinitely the 49 mins with Jock Clear, absolutely fascinating insight into the world of F1. Brilliant experience.”
While Andrew Belson said, “I feel very fortunate to have had such a wonderful insight into a Formula One team. It’s incredible the amount of work and resource that goes into running two cars for a season. The non destructive testing process stood out for me, how they strip down every part of the car, test it then put it all back together between races is just astounding. Also seeing Rosberg’s car complete with Abu Dubai crash damage.”
Paul Cockram said, “All the employees we met were welcoming and keen to talk to us. Listening to Jock Clear was fascinating, he is clearly a very driven sports man just like the drivers he works with.
“The best bit for me was seeing close up on Micheal’s car, just the combination of incredible detail and clean aero dynamic lines. The most surprising bit was looking down on the machine room floor and not seeing a single person because it is all automated.”
* Our thanks to UBS, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and especially Rachel Laenen for making it happen