Last-minute rescue mission prevents F1 freight crisis

Jamie Woodhouse
The Formula 1 paddock pre-race weekend. Australia, April 2022.

The scene in the Formula 1 paddock prior to the Australian Grand Prix. April 2022.

DHL stepped in to save multiple F1 teams that were facing the prospect of their equipment not arriving in Melbourne in time.

As reported by Motorsport.com, a ship which had been transporting the freight of three teams to Australia for the 2022 Australian Grand Prix, which originally had a timetable of 42 days to complete the trip, would instead encounter a week-plus delay.

This came as a result of delays to freight transport globally, since transport costs have been driven up by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

But, to avoid taking the risk of this equipment not making it to Albert Park in time, its journey by ship came to an end and continued by flight.

DHL, Formula 1’s logistics partner, removed the freight from the ship when it reached Singapore, then placing it on two Boeing 777s and a 767-300 for a direct flight to Melbourne, meaning that all equipment reached Australia on Monday morning.

Albert Park track taking shape pre-Australian Grand Prix. April 2022.
The Albert Park track taking shape ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. April 2022.

Commenting on the issue of teams now facing a big increase in shipment costs, DHL’s vice president of motorsport logistics Paul Fowler, who travelled to Singapore to oversee the efforts, said: “There is almost a bidding war now. Rates from Europe to Asia to Europe that were pitching at about $900 (USD) a container are now about $20,000.

Teams are able to address the costs somewhat by having different equipment sets, rather than shifting that same equipment around the calendar to each race.

“All teams have five sets of kit, and that is stretching to six, because of the extra races,” said Fowler.

“So the stuff you see in the garages, on the walls, the pitlane gantries, the perches that the team personnel sit on, is all sea freighted in.”

 

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc heads into the Australian Grand Prix atop the Drivers’ Championship, boasting a 12-point lead over Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz.

The Scuderia meanwhile are also sitting pretty atop the Constructors’ Championship two races in, 40 points clear of Mercedes.

Formula 1 last visited Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix back in 2020, but since the race weekend was cancelled shortly before FP1 due to the global pandemic, this will be the first Formula 1 action at the venue since 2019.

 

Last-minute rescue mission prevents F1 freight crisis

F1's official freight partner DHL saved the day last weekend by rescuing the shipments of three teams that were doomed to not make it to Australia in time for the GP.