Austin | Dallas | Houston
Formula One
In the pits

Behind the garage doors at Marussia racing: Assembling a technological marvel

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_glock car

Grands Prix are won or lost in the garages that make up pit row, and the technology being implemented is the stuff of science fiction.

CultureMap got a rare tour behind the scenes in the Marussia Racing team garage as they assembled Timo Glock's Formula 1 race car.

Practice begins on Friday, and the cars must be assembled and inspected by F1 officials before hitting the track for the first time at 9 a.m.

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_pit row

Pit row.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_glock car assembly

In the garage with the Marussia crew.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_driver cockpit

The crew assembles the driver's cockpit.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_glock garage

The Marussia garage on pit row.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_pit marking

Marking the pit. Note the line that says "Front axle." The pit stop is so exacting, the crew and driver can hit that mark every time, even as fast as the cars are speeding in.

Marussia's best pit stop is 2.6 seconds to change four tyres (spelled tyres in Formula 1 language).

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_pit marking inches

Each pit stop is videotaped. The crew marks the pit tape by centimeters. If the driver misses the front axel mark, this tape tells the crew by how much. Centimeters matter.

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_assembly wide

Inside the Marussia garage as mechanics assemble Timo Glock's Formula 1 race car.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_steering wheel

The steering wheels for Formula 1 race cars are complex. Drivers can adjust their gear ratios, clutch, wings, drink water, check for malfunctioning parts and more — all while driving at 200 miles per hour.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_gearbox assembly

An F1 car is modular and is built in four sections. This is the gearbox and rear axle. There are three and only eight bolts hold it to the engine compartment.

If there's a wreck, the crew can change out these modules quickly. Marussia keeps three extras, and each is kept hot during the race using hogh tech heaters.

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_floor panel

The floor panels for wach race care are made of Carbon fiber, like most everything on the car. These panels fit to the bottom of the car and actually scrape the surface of the track.

Engineers measure the perfomance of each panel and adjust the car depending on how much it's scraping the track and how much downdraft is measured.

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_inspection

Timo Glock's race car now put together, is rolled to the FIA garage for inspection.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_control room

The control room for Marussia.

Each car contains over 150 monitors for everything, from how much fuel the car has left (measured in thousandths of a kilogram) to the air pressure at the bottom of the car. The information is fed live to these engineers throughout the race.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_pirelli

The Pirelli tyre garage. Pirelli measured the track and chose to deliver hard tyres (with the white stripes) and medium tyres (with the gray stripes) for each team. Hard tyres last longer but have less traction than a medium or soft tyre. Each team must use both types of tyres in the race.

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_paddock

In the paddock behind pit row are tyres, hundreds of tyres. The buildings to the right house each team's office.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_tires

Each tyre for every team is balanced by the same Pirelli tyre crew.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_tire warmer

During the race, tyres are wrapped in heating blankets. Race cars cannot run on cold tires, so tires are kept hot.

 

 

 

Photo by Kevin Benz
Austin Photo: Kevin_Marussia garage Formula 1_November 2012_vettel red bull pit

The Red Bull racing pit of Sebastian Vettel. Red Bull has all but locked up their thrid staright constructor's world championship while Vettel carries a tenuous 10 point lead in the driver's championship with just two races left.