As our boys finally start to arrive home after the Chinese Grand Prix, we asked team principal Christian Horner how you get a Formula One team home from the Far East…
Q: Christian, how did you get back to the UK after the Chinese Grand Prix?
CH: It was a five-stop strategy. Mark Webber and I left the hotel in Shanghai at 0430hrs on Monday morning. We got a 0715hrs flight from Shanghai to Dubai on Monday, then went from Dubai to Rome, arriving 2030hrs local time. We got a flight from the other Rome airport to Nice, had a night there, then got a flight early on Tuesday morning to Glasgow. I think we were one of the first aeroplanes to go over British airspace. We landed in Glasgow at 1205hrs on Tuesday, only to find out that Mark had forgotten his passport! After enjoying some local hospitality, we managed to get a helicopter transfer from Glasgow to Oxfordshire; arriving in Oxfordshire at 1600hrs on Tuesday.
Q: And how did Sebastian Vettel get home?
CH: He was lucky and managed to get a lift with Bernie Ecclestone, who I understand went to Istanbul. Sebastian got another flight from there to Nice and drove home from there – so he got home before all of us early on Tuesday morning. Predictably Bernie beat all of us back. I phoned him from Glasgow, very proud that we’d landed on British soil, only for him to say that he’d already been in the office for three hours!
Q: And what was the team’s return journey?
CH: The majority of the team stuck together. We managed to get them on a direct flight today (Thursday), which arrives in the UK later this afternoon. The cars and freight will also arrive back today, probably beating the team home by an hour or two.
Q: What impact will the delayed return have on preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix?
CH: Thankfully, the way the calendar is with the extra week between the Chinese and Spanish grands prix, it has a very limited impact. There’s still over a week to turn the cars around and a lot of the components for the next race are produced here in the factory. The factory hasn’t been affected – obviously the turnaround components are a little bit out of sync now coming back two or three days late, but with the additional week, we’re confident it won’t cause us any major issues.