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Peugeot F1 Logistics

Have you ever wondered how whole garages are transported around the world to service and maintain the cars so that they keep going for two hundred odd miles a fortnight? Speed Motorsport News finds out from Jacques Ievacher Logistics Manager of Peugeot Sport.

Can you tell us about the logistics needed for the Peugeot Sport F1 team for the races in Australia and the double-header in Brazil and Argentina?

"There are two distinct parts on the Job: the people and the equipment Moving around people involves a variety of things the most obvious of which is the hooking of hotel These must be arranged more than a year in advance and confirmed three weeks before the Grand Prix in question. The choice of hotel is dictated by the desire, if it is possible, to have the entire team in the same hotel. On average Peugeot Sport has 20 people at a Grand Prix Including all the technical staff, the support personnel, the press officer and the kitchen staff. There are actually two fewer people at the 'fly-away' races than there are in Europe as the driver of the truck and the- mo do not travel outside Europe.

In addition you have to book all the air tickets. These are done four or five months in advance The 20 or so people roughly divide into two groups the first group are those who are involved in setting up Before a race. These are the mechanics, the electronics specialists, the software engineers(who look after the telemetry) the kitchen staff and the logistics manager. The idea is for our arrival to coincide with the delivery of the equipment. Two or three days later the engineers and the Peugeot people who work in liaison with Jordan will arrive "

Apart from people what else does a Formula 1 engine supplier nave to take to a Grand Prix?

Peugeot is a little bit different to other engine manufacturers as we do not only supply the engine to Jordan we are also involved in all the electronics and the telemetry for the team. This means that we have to transport much heavier equipment than most of our rivals. In general terms, we send eight engines to each Grand Prix race. Three others are mounted in the cars and, consequently leave from the Jordan headquarters. In total we have about eight tonnes of equipment divided up into 50 tailormade travelling containers "

What makes up all the weight - apart from the engines?

"With the eight engines there are all the ancillaries. Then there are telemetry computers which fit into special lightweight, made-to-measure containers which the airline companies ask to be built so as to be fitted easily into the space available in the holds of the aeroplanes. It is logical to make life easier for everybody.

The mechanics tools are transported in their workbenches on wheels, so that they can he used as soon as the units are taken out of their boxes. All the radios are sent attached to the stand which is erected in the pit garage. We also take three boxes for the kitchen staff, which include basic ingredients, although all fresh produce is bought on site. I have one box specifically for all the bits and pieces one needs. It is a bit like a hardware store filled with rows of different plugs and adaptors so that we can cope with the different electrical supplies in each country. Every year we improve the kit!".

How long does it take to got all the equipment ready before an event?

"Putting everything In the traveling boxes takes a total of four days. Every box has a check list. Each department manager has his own dedicated boxes which are then passed on to me, so they fill their boxes and I check them in order to prepare the necessary documentation for the customs authorities. Then we have to weigh the boxes so we can check that we have the weight for which FOCA (the team organisation which oversees the transportation of F1 freight) charges us. The last thing to be boxed-up are the engines on which our engineers are working up to the last minute. Then a FOCA truck comes to Peugeot Sport headquarters In Velizy and takes all our equipment to Milan where it is Joined by the freight from Ferrari, Sauber Minardi and Prost."

What exactly does FOCA do with the freight?

"They take it first of all, from our factory to Milan. They then look after all the customs formalities to get the equipment out of Europe, sign the papers which Peugeot's own transport company Gefco has filled in. This is a pretty big dossier. Once the freight arrives in Melbourne, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Osaka or Tokyo, FOCA looks after the formalities of temporary importation into the countries concerned and then ensures the transportation to the racing circuits and, finally, the delivery of the equipment the right garages.

How long does it take to got the freight from Velizy to the garage at a race?

"For the Brazilian GP as an example, the freight left Velizy at 10 am on Friday morning and arrived in the garage at Interlagos on the Monday.

For the two South American races is it a problem that the equipment stays out between races?

"It is true that the freight stays in South America, although this changes from year to year. For Brazil this year we sent three engines home to Paris on Saturday night before the race. We arrange through FOCA and its local handling agent to have space cooked on certain flights so as to be prepared for any eventuality. On Sunday night we sent out another three engines - two of them being the race engines. This is not a problem because we had space booked for six engines to fly out from Paris to Argentina in the middle of the following week. "

With such an organisation is there any room to improvise?

"Sure. It is always possible to get an individual part sent out to you, either as freight or as hand luggage. The difficulty in Formula 1 is to prepare for unexpected problems. That is the only way to cut down delays. That means that often we reserve space on aeroplanes bu end up not needing to use it. It is a safety measure that we cannot be without ."

How many tonnes of freight does FOCA transport at reduced rates?

"FOCA has special arrangements for the teams to transport cars and equipment within certain guidelines. These apply only for the teams - and not for the engine manufacturers. The cost is considerably higher for us, it is one of F 1's bad habits.

On the evening after a race, the freight is packed up again and sets off for new adventures. Can you tell us about the flight home?

"In general terms, the freight must be ready to be loaded onto trucks at the end of Sunday. It is about six o'clock for the cars and eight o'clock for all the boxes of equipment. Returning from Argentina, the equipment will be available at Velizy by the following Wednesday evening or at the latest on Thursday.

Transporting all that equipment around must be a risky business?

"The biggest risks are in Brazil and Argentina. The classic accident in the freight business is that a fork lift truck will stick one of the forks through the side of a box. The worst thing is if a box is not balanced properly and falls. FOCA takes no rosponsibility for damage and so Peugeot insures its own equipment. All our boxes are sealed and the contents and value carefully recorded. We have had boxes which were broken open, but so far we have never lost anything nor had anything stolen.

What else does a a logistics manager have to look after?

"Prlncipally once everything is in place one helps everyone in the team to lead their lives; making sure that the local Peugeot company or the Importer in a country lays on cars for the team. Organising that everyone gets fed, sorting out the kind of problems that occur, minor Illnesses, parking tickets, problems with the local police, changes of flights and hotels, the relationships with circuit authorities settling the accounts with hotels and local suppliers, in fact the job of logistics manager is to allow the team to concentrate completely on the technical Job in hand by taking care of all the little things in life that get in the way.

In the army they say that if the Service Corps does not follow the troops, things will go badly. In this game the service corps must be AHEAD of the troops anticipating the problems.

Chris Richardson

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