Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi, Formula One records longest logistical exercise in history

The entire equipment for all the 10 teams, including the race cars, was brought to Abu Dhabi on seven Boeing 777 chartered flights

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Ashwani Kumar

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DHL’s motorsport team of 75 international specialists has transported up to 1,400 tonnes of freight. — Supplied photos
DHL’s motorsport team of 75 international specialists has transported up to 1,400 tonnes of freight. — Supplied photos

Published: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 9:40 PM

From the Las Vegas Grand Prix to Abu Dhabi, Formula One has undertaken the longest-ever logistical exercise in its history, officials involved in the process said.

Since the checkered flag at Las Vegas Street Circuit on Sunday, wrapping things for take-off till landing the critical team equipment at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi by Tuesday, has been one of the biggest achievements, said F1 senior logistics coordinator Christian Pollhammer.

“This has been the longest-ever back-to-back logistics in 48 hours. You need to consider the 12-hour time difference as well, which was not to our advantage. So yeah, it was a tough call,” Pollhammer told Khaleej Times as a select group of media was given a behind-the-scenes tour of the logistics happening at the circuit.

The entire equipment for all the 10 teams, including the multi-million-dollar race cars, was brought to Abu Dhabi on seven Boeing 777 chartered flights.

“That was certainly the longest. No aircraft could do it in one go. So, we had to stop to refuel at the airport. The biggest delay from Las Vegas to here was 20 minutes. This has been one of our biggest achievements in the last few years,” Pollhammer noted.

However, contrary to popular belief, race cars are not shifted as one piece, but stripped down and components moved into special boxes, which get reassembled by team mechanics at their garages in the next race circuit. The teams got the first freight access in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday morning. And there are 1,000 staff onsite to get things ready for the big race weekend.

1,400 tonnes of freight

DHL’s motorsport team of 75 international specialists has transported up to 1,400 tonnes of freight – comprising broadcast equipment, automobiles, team members, hospitality, fuel, and tyres – from Las Vegas to the UAE Capital.

“The delivery of the freight service from Las Vegas to here has been exceptional. It was a huge operation. It was planned to full precision. It’s an amazing achievement,” John Williams, head of DHL Motorsports UK at DHL Global Forwarding, said in an interview.

“We usually go from the Middle East to Australia, which is kind of manageable,” Williams underlined and pointed out that he was excited to land at the new terminal of the airport.

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As the official logistics partner of F1 since 2004, DHL has once again delivered a successful Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. DHL is working closely with the sporting series to reduce the event’s ecological footprint while simultaneously achieving its own ambitious sustainability goals. Upon the Grand Prix’s completion in Abu Dhabi, DHL’s motorsports team will have covered a total of 150,000km through 22 races and across five continents, including six double-headers, two triple-headers.

“We’re proud to have delivered yet another thrilling year, and this race holds special significance as we navigate a world where the call for a greener future is increasingly urgent. In line with F1’s commitment to sustainability, we are delighted to be a partner actively contributing to the green agenda through the provision of efficient and sustainable logistics,” Williams underlined.

Race cars are shifted after stripping down and components moved into special boxes, which get reassembled by team mechanics at their garages.
Race cars are shifted after stripping down and components moved into special boxes, which get reassembled by team mechanics at their garages.

Reducing carbon footprints

Through multi-modal transport solutions, including overland and ocean freight, DHL is strategically minimising the environmental impact of F1 logistics. A big green milestone achieved this season is DHL purchasing 18 new trucks running on HVO100 drop-in fuel (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil). These reduce carbon emissions by an average of 83 per cent when compared to conventional fuels such as diesel, without compromising on performance loss as these trucks can cover the same distances and carry the same loads. DHL has over the years introduced the transport of F1 freight with its new Boeing 777s, which is being used to transport deliverables to and from Abu Dhabi while boasting fuel-efficient technology that reduces carbon emissions by 17 per cent over legacy aircraft.

Pollhammer added: “After announcing our new sustainability strategy in 2019, to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, DHL has played a key role in inching us closer to this goal. As one of the biggest entertainment platforms in the world, and the first motorsport series to commit to measurable sustainability goals, the importance of having a competent logistics partner and industry leader in green logistics such as DHL cannot be overstated.”


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