The British Grand Prix this weekend sees the introduction of a new “Motorhome” in the F1 paddock. Named the McLaren Brand Centre, this new “Motorhome” conforms to the FIA’s height and width requirements for “Motorhomes”, but any comparison to a real Motorhome should stop right there.
If people in the US think Motorhome, the NASCAR version immediately pops to mind, some sort of driven vehicle, or more precisely, a palace on wheels, where drivers or other team people can seek refuge form the outside world. These Motorhomes are usually all decked out with the latest in cool technology and gadgets, and are a home away form home. When talking about Motorhomes in F1 terms, we are no longer talking about anything that can be driven, we are talking about full on portable building structures, really, multi level buildings that are moved from race to race, and seen usually only at the European events due to the transportation costs.
McLaren set the standard in 2002 with the introduction with the “Communications Centre”, but it seems that the state of the art structure has now been superseeded by this newer, bigger (maybe even faster) version. Below are some of the specs of the new McLaren Brand Center, pretty impressive for a “Motorhome”.
The Brand Centre:
- will appear at all the European Formula 1 races.
- will take approximately 20 people two days to erect.
- is three stories high and within the parameters set by Formula 1 Management.was designed and built by Bischoff+Scheck based in Baden Baden in Germany.
- has a 13.5 metres environmentally friendly solar glass façade at the front.
- has nine 63 inch plasma screens to ensure optimum presentation of images and data.
- has a total of four meeting rooms – one with video conferencing facilities and eight offices.has separate rooms for Fernando and Lewis to relax in with state-of-the-art wireless games consoles linked between rooms, MP3-docking stations and showers etc.
- cost has been covered by the three main parties in the team; Vodafone, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz and its cost will be absorbed over five years.
- has 20 office spaces for marketing and media workers, in addition to wireless network throughout the facility.
The French Grand Prix last weekend was the last appearance of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Communications Centre in the Formula 1 paddock The Communications Centre made its debut at the 2002 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola and at the time, a three-year lifespan was targeted. However after 53 race weekends it’s now time to move on.
During its operation the Communications Centre:
- at the European Formula 1 races it hosted 53 editions of the “Meet the Team” press briefing where drivers and team management answered approximately 636 questions.
- in its five and half seasons, it provided a base for the team’s drivers’ David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Pedro de la Rosa, Alexander Wurz, Gary Paffett, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton.
- provided approximately 5000 breakfasts, lunches and dinners – causing the average journalist to gain 1.5 kgs in weight per season!!!
- has travelled 86,731 kilometres.