Earlier this week, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and the seven team principals representing British teams convened at Downing Street for a summit meeting with the Secretary of State for DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and advisors to the Prime Minister.
While F1’s primary objective was to emphasize the significance of grand prix racing to the economy, generating over £10 billion annually, other pressing issues were also on the agenda.
One of the most critical concerns raised was the adverse impact of Brexit on F1 teams’ travel and logistics across Europe.
Speaking at the British Grand Prix, James Vowles, the team principal of Williams, highlighted the bureaucratic obstacles faced by F1 in transporting equipment throughout Europe, which had repercussions for both competitors and organizers in finalizing the calendar.
“At present, we are dealing with numerous carnets to facilitate the movement of items,” Vowles explained.
“One of the restrictions is that, for instance, if we go to Imola and encounter any damage to the equipment, we still have to return everything back to the UK.
“Moreover, in terms of constructing the calendar, we cannot have a sequence like UK, Imola, Canada. We must go from the UK to Imola, return to the UK to clear items under carnet, and then proceed to other countries.
“Hence, there is a movement of componentry that is currently detrimental to the sport, including calendar optimization.
“Furthermore, the movement of personnel is also challenging, resulting in increased delays and lost time at airports on both ends compared to the pre-Brexit era.”
It is understood that F1 teams have urged the government to consider implementing similar exemptions granted to musicians for transporting their instruments during tours.
“Now, there are already exemptions in place,” added Vowles. “The conversation was very productive, and I believe it was the first time we engaged effectively with the government, who were receptive to our concerns.
“They understand the importance of British motorsport and provide support. Exemptions exist for musicians, although it is limited to one musical instrument. However, there are ongoing discussions on whether this can be extended to motorsport as well.”
Zak Brown, the McLaren boss, expressed his belief that any assistance from the government in resolving F1’s challenges would be greatly appreciated by all parties involved.
“I think it was fantastic that Stefano orchestrated this meeting,” said Brown.
“The government is highly supportive of F1 and acknowledges its substantial contribution to the economy and entertainment in the country.
“I think the focus should be on improving logistics and the supply chain, as working together to address these issues would alleviate some of the burdens for everyone involved.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Brexit logistics challenges
What were the main concerns raised by F1 teams during their meeting with the British government?
The main concerns raised by F1 teams during their meeting with the British government revolved around the logistical challenges caused by Brexit. They highlighted issues related to travel and transporting equipment across Europe, which affected both competitors and organizers in finalizing the calendar. The red tape and restrictions imposed on F1 teams resulted in difficulties optimizing the calendar and added delays in the movement of personnel.