How are F1 cars transported by plane?

F1 is one of the most viewed sports events across the world, with a fanbase of over 70 million people watching every Grand Prix in the 2021 season. But how do these large cars and their drivers and teams get transported across the world in the space of just a few days?

Whilst air transport is the most expensive option for transport, it is the one most often used due to the need to be in many places in such a short time. With a new race taking place every week, it would be super expensive for every team to hire their cargo plane to transport the cars, so that’s why they often share a plane and split the costs between them.

Certain parts and mechanical equipment get transported first because the garage has to be functional before the car arrives. This means that not all the equipment is transported in just one plane. F1 has a partnership with DHL, so this is the company that is used when transporting. When the teams are racing in Europe however, the shipping is done by road, seen as all the teams have their headquarter there.


Sorting Items and parts

When shipping across long distances, the parts are sorted into critical and non-critical items, such as the main parts of the car like the chassis or the tires, whilst small tools are sorted into the non-critical selection. Most of the non-critical items are sent to their destination and then later sent back to the headquarters, whilst some travel from their destination to a different race track. In the critical parts selection, the cars need to be stripped to their last remains due to the lack of space and the lack of damage that is wanted. The cars are stripped of parts like the front wings and the engine, to ensure that they aren’t damaged during transportation.

F1 cars are transported using DHL planes

Parts leaving from headquarters in Europe before races abroad are usually flown out of London and Munich using DHL freighter planes. This is because the UK and Central Europe contain most of the headquarters of the teams. It’s not just the parts that are transported by plane, things like meals for the team are transported too. So, next time you see a DHL plane flying above your head, you never know, it might just contain a Formula 1 car.


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