Paddock Life – F2 Brands Hatch

Last weekend saw the second UK round of the FIA F2 championship at Brands Hatch, Kent. I was a little apprehensive in the run up to this event because this was the first time that I was left in control with my boss heading up another event at Snetterton.

I arrived at a rain soddened Brands late on Tuesday evening. The F2 trucks had already arrived in the outer paddock and had already started to build their units. After a rain interrupted nights sleep, I was thankful to see bright blue skies in the morning, my delight however, was short-lived.

Although the F2 units were being built-in a nice straight line, they were being built to no lines that we use in the paddock. For the larger events we do, we have specific markers we use. This meant I was in for a very busy morning.

To put you in the picture a little more in this process, there are some key numbers you have to work to when designing a paddock. Firstly, the maximum length of an articulated lorry, including the cab is seventeen and a half metres. The second is 8 metres which is the width of the roads around the paddock.

Since the F2 trucks were already there, I started to mark out the middle of the paddock where the truck sit ‘nose to nose’. For the trucks to have enough room and to leave a small gap to walk between them, the middle block has to be 36 metres wide. Once this is in place, you can mark put the roads, which also denotes the area around the edge of the paddock. This whole process took around 4 hours, luckily for me, the only people to turn up in that time was the Dunlop tyre trucks.

Even though the positioning of the F1 trucks put a good couple of hours on to my day, their presence in the paddock did have its upsides. During the week, all circuits run general test days in which you can get a whole host of machinery turn up. The majority of the teams book a pit garage for the day, others prefer to set up in the paddock.

This in itself is fine, they’ve paid to be there and have every right use the facilities as they see fit. The issues arise when teams turn up for a test day, that are also competing that weekend and need to park in the correct place on the test day. Normally we have to ask they guys who are just there for the test to set up right down the far end of the paddock.

When these testers turn up and see the very impressive F2 hospitality  unit being built, 99% of them don’t even bother to used the paddock at all, opting instead to use the sloping car park for the day.

Friday was my last night for this meet and it was finished off with an evening with some great friends on the circuit camp site to see in Paul Havell’s birthday, happy birthday mate 🙂

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