Working in Dubai, it’s almost inescapable to start hearing murmurings of Formula 1. Always with my nose in a book, I hardly even know what’s going on in American football, maybe a tiny bit of baseball, and certainly not car racing – and I’m sure that’s probably not even the right way to classify Formula 1. What I do like is knowing when the next election is in Turkey, what is happening to Venezuela’s oil production or why so many major countries are investing in Dijibouti right now.
When my husband proposed that we experience Formula 1 in Bahrain, I was reluctant. It seemed a high price to pay to see something that I was not entirely interested in; however, Bahrain is one of the least expensive places to go to Formula 1 for us, so we went. Also, my husband actually founded Formula SAE at his university, so it was very fair to say his interest in Formula 1 were rather passionate and not flippant.
The first day or so of watching cars zoom by, I tried to understand who was who and how the competition played out. Without detailed comprehension, I could see how minor altercations could give or take a millisecond here or there and wind up in a victory. (I am still more impressed with the speed and precision at which Wall Street trades are made, re: Flash Boys by Michael Lewis). I was impressed by the ability of some people there to stand over a car hood and understand the complexity of one engine versus another – although I’m sure some were just better pretenders than I. There were even career artists who focused specifically on the portrayal of sculptures or paintings from Formula 1 – artists! The event contained so much excitement, and so many people that could take about all things Formula 1 for days on end.
My light bulb of appreciation for the event did not go off until about 3/4 of the way through the final race. I started flipping through the brochure and found the list of events for the year. Yes, amazing list of countries, etc, etc. However, I checked the dates and realized after the event in Bahrain, they only had 21 days to get all of the material, all of the people, all of the equipment that was currently in Bahrain to Spain.
First everything has to be packed up in Bahrain, then shipped out, then go through customs in Spain, then transported to the final location, and then finally set up in Catalunya, Spain. Now, this impressed me. To be able to move an event of this magnitude so quickly through international boarders, it must like a well oiled machine. Even let’s say they prepared ahead of time different sets of equipment in each location, that still means someone has to either locally source or import it to be available. Plus, Formula 1 is not like a concert or European football match – there are not generic sound systems or stadiums from which the Formula 1 teams can operate. They need their specific parts, for their specific vehicle. In any case, it made me think that a look at their supply chain and logistics would be an interesting read. Granted, Formula 1 is an expensive event with large revenues; however, they are likely just as challenged in bringing together an audience as any established event these days. So what I’m saying is the event has to either bring in enough money to pay for an insufficient system or…they probably have a supply chain worth taking a look at. And that is where I am impressed. 🙂