[F1 pushes British government to end Brexit logistical nightmares
Earlier this week, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and the seven team principals from British teams visited Downing Street for a summit meeting with the Secretary of State for DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), as well as advisers to the Prime Minister.
While the primary aim from F1’s perspective was to ensure the government was aware of the importance of grand prix racing to the economy, with it bringing in more than £10 billion in each year, other issues were also on the agenda.
And one of the most critical has been the downside that F1 teams have experienced from the impact of Brexit in travel and logistics around Europe.
Speaking at the British Grand Prix, Williams team principal James Vowles said that red tape that F1 faced in transporting equipment around Europe had consequences both for competitors and organisers when it came to finalising the calendar.
“We’re doing a couple of hundred carnets at the moment to move items in and out,” he explained.
“One of the restrictions that imposes is, for example, that should we go to Imola, which is what we did, and items gets damaged, you still have to return everything back to the UK.
“Furthermore, in terms of calendar construct, you can’t go UK, Imola, Canada, for example. You have to go UK, Imola, and back to the UK to clear items under carnet, and then on to other countries.
“So, there’s a movement of componentry that isn’t helpful at the moment to the sport, including optimising the calendar.
“Plus, there’s movement of people as well, which is difficult. So, there’s elements of more latency, and more lost time getting through airports on both sides than there were previously.”
Mercedes AMG F1 truck
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
It is understood that F1 teams have pushed the government to consider putting in place similar exemptions that have been allowed for musicians when it comes to them transporting their instruments on tours.
“Now, there are exemptions in place,” added Vowles. “It was a very good conversation and I think it’s certainly, from what I understand, the first time we’ve engaged really well with government, and government were very receptive to where we are.
“They understand where British motorsport is. They are supportive of it. And there are various items in place, for example, for musicians. I know it is one musical instrument and there is a little bit more freedom around that, but there’s discussions on whether that can apply to motorsport as well.”
McLaren boss Zak Brown believes any assistance that the government could make in helping F1 would be welcomed by everybody.
“I think it was great that Stefano pulled it all together,” said Brown.
“The government’s very supportive of F1 and recognises how much it contributes to the economy and the entertainment in the country.
“I think it’s more around the logistics and supply chain: that if we can work together to free up, it will make everyone’s life a little bit easier.”