Logistics, the biggest challenge

Logistics, the biggest challenge

From transporting 350 tonnes of cargo to smooth running of the race

What 65 Elephants amount to is roughly around 350 tonnes, and that is exactly how much will fly into India on the eve of Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.

Logistics, as Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) President Vicky Chandhok had mentioned earlier this year, will be the biggest challenge for the organisers ahead of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

Why? You need to transport a part of the cargo from South Korea and from several other venues after what may seem like weeks of planning and packing. Then, the task of moving all of this from the Indira Gandhi International Airport to the track which is roughly 70-km away.

For millions of viewers, it all begins when the five red lights go off on a Sunday afternoon, but for each of the 12 logistics’ departments, it all actually begins much before the start of the season.

When FIA release the official calendar at the start of the year, the logistics team gets to work with booking flights, hotels, and more importantly, how to move the cars.

For races away from Europe, the cars, spare parts and equipment are transported by air but for European races everything is transported by truck. The cars are mounted on pallets for overseas races so they fit on top of each other in the hold of the plane.

There are also six or seven engines so the team is equipped for any eventuality, with a huge number of tools and spare parts. To add to that, every spare part has unique serial number so that replacements can be brought in from the factory in quick time.

The basic equipment includes 16 computers and 28 laptops plus 100 radios for quick communication. Not to forget, four thousand bottles of mineral water for the team and its guests.

It takes an army of people from F1 logistics partner DHL, a fleet of five Boeing-747s, 35 container units, a ship to get them from A to B, multiple trucks and even an helicopter in case of late arrivals.

The real work, however, begins when all the trucks roll onto the track and unloading begins. Once unloaded and placed then its time to race. Intense driving and champagne showers may follow but in about two hours from the start, it’s back to square one for the men cheering from the background.

As far the Indian GP in concerned, the Boeings will come to a halt at the T2 terminal and the organisers, with the help of logistics partner RE Rogers, will move the material to the circuit.

This will be in addition to the tonnes of cargo -- including 30,000 litres of high-octane petrol and furnishings -- that have already started arriving by sea. Items being sourced from within the country include 40,000 litres of diesel.

JPSI has set a standard of four hours to unload the entire cargo and get it going to the track. The time taken to get the cargo from tarmac to tarmac has been pegged at no less than 10 hours.

“The FIA is very professional about everything related to the operational part of an F1 race. I see this is as a good challenge for the people involved and an opportunity to show our efficiency to the world,” said Chandhok.

Opportunity or not, this is perhaps the biggest logistics drill to have ever been conducted in India.

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