Visit to Sahara Force India and BRDC Clubhouse
On September 11th a very successful visit was paid to the Sahara Force India HQ close to the Silverstone circuit.
After welcoming everyone at 11.00, Nicola Howard of Force India explained how the company had evolved from its beginnings as Jordan F1 and then ,accompanied by Mike from the commercial side of the operation,led the party through all the operations in the factory that are needed to ensure cars are on the grid in 100% condition.
Chassis,suspension,gearbox,electronics were carefully described and there was freedom to take photos at all stages with the exception of the engines.
These are Mercedes units and are looked after by the Mercedes Benz High Perfomance operation at Brixworth.The engine wrapped and in a container ready for transport back to Brixworth had just completed a Grand Prix and the covers were removed as a special favour …but anyone who took photos of it were advised they would be court-martialled and summarily shot.
The tour then moved on to the in-house autoclave where resins are bonded and treated prior to forming a part of the car.
The issue of weight is vital and it was interesting to note that the sponsor names on the car are part of the paint process,not stickers and as there are individual requirements for circuits…as an example certain Middle East GPs will not allow alcohol to be advertised on the car…so for these circuits entire new panels replace those carying unsuitable logos.
Finally,as the party left at 12.45 Nicola gave everyone driver booklets,transfers of the cars and a small bottle of White and Mackay whisky ,one of the sponsors.
Sahara Force India operates on an annual budget considerably lower then most teams but notwithstanding,they are currently 7th in the Constructors Championship and Paul de Resta finished 6th in the Italian Grand Prix.
The group then drove a short distance to the Silverstone circuit entrance for a visit,kindly arranged at short notice by Stuart Pringle,Secretary of the British Racing Drivers’ Club .
The BRDC Clubhouse was the destination .This home of motorracing legends holds memorabilia from the BRDC founding in 1928 by Dr Patrick Benjafield through the years until now,with trophies,photographs and model cars that chart the history of the club .
It is normally extremely difficult to visit ,unless one is a member,and was a superb conclusion to a fascinating time.
Renewed thanks are due to Sahara Force India and the BRDC.