F1 engineers create unique design to revolutionise the sports off-track logistics

Formula 1 has always led the way in technical engineering, with the work of some of the industry’s most advanced minds on show for the world to see across a race weekend, but there is just as much innovation going on behind the scenes, in the way of the sport’s logistics.

Being a global sport, F1 continues to work tirelessly to find new ways to improve its operation as it looks to create a better carbon footprint, and with so much travel involved this can be bettered even by changing the type of containers it uses.

For 13 years, the mechanical engineering and design team have worked on a product that doubles up as a container casing for the sport’s broadcasting equipment in transit, before being reused at the circuit, creating the outer walls to the on-site broadcast centre.

The unique design, made of a composite polypropylene honeycomb material, was the first of its kind when the F1 team initially created it, with the developments reducing the weight load by 60%, as well as having astronomical financial savings.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Img-52-edited-scaled.jpg

The project came about when F1 wanted to transport equipment more efficiently, having previously used panels made from glass fibre with a foam interior, in a process that incurred unnecessary weight and provided health and safety risks. Working with a supplier, the team took an existing component and used their extensive knowledge to design something more advanced completely from scratch.

In the earlier days of the product’s creation the panels were a more straightforward 3m x 2m structure, but quickly turned in to a design that featured windows too, to allow light into the office areas within the broadcast centre. This was then developed even further with doors and fire exits being incorporated into the design as more requirements were demanded.

Given the warm climates the sport often operates in, the team had to develop a special UV-resistant skin coating on the panels to keep them from fading in the sunlight. There was also the introduction of anti-crush tubes within the structure to prevent damage from overtightening fixing buttons, given the heavy wear and dual purpose of the panels.

The product is now so advanced, and the process is orchestrated in such a way, it means the panels can be considered a consumable for the organisation.

The mechanical engineering and design team build everything within the business and have incorporated a similar technique to create desks within the business. They are also working on an updated freight container for the future, which will allow the sport to transport its equipment on a Boeing 777, rather than a 747, again contributing to the overall carbon footprint.