Ever wondered what it is like inside an F1 team’s motorhome?
I was lucky enough to attend a tour of the Williams Martini Racing motorhome at the Autosports Show at Birmingham NEC, when it was constructed for the first time ever away from a race circuit.
Williams were making every effort to engage with fans at the show, offering tours to competition winners, and we were taken round on an interactive tour, and encouraged to ask questions and take photos along the way.
We were given a VIP pass to wear and entered up the ramp to the ground floor, where there were tables and chairs laid out, and a bar at the back with full Martini accessories – as you would expect!
During the weekend, this had been full of media taking part in interviews, meetings etc, but is also where the team would eat together on a race weekend. The 8 metre tall, 6000 square foot motorhome is in attendance at all European races, and takes 14 trucks to transport and the team two days to erect in the paddock.
To the right we were shown Frank and Claire’s offices, and I took a seat and checked out the view from behind Frank’s desk.
Frank always has a copy of the Financial Times on his desk, and both Frank and Claire have a photo of them together in their respective offices, which was lovely to see, as if there is one thing that comes across with Williams it is that they are a family business.
Claire also had one of Graeme Lowdon’s drawings that we’ve seen him tweet about doing on his travels last season. A framed sketch of Ayrton Senna was on the cupboard alongside her desk.
We then ascended the staircase to the left to access the middle floor, past a set of beautiful black and white photos of all of Williams world champion drivers. It was noticeable around the motorhome that there were many photos on the wall and that gave it a warm and welcoming feeling.
The middle floor also had a bar, and was notably a little more luxurious in its seating, and we took a moment to peruse the days menu for guests at the show, no doubt put together by their chef Michael Caines. It all sounded amazingly appetising!
There were two meeting rooms on this floor with very appropriate graphics on the wall. These were calls Top Gun and Gladiator, which we were told were two of Frank’s favourite films.
We were also lucky enough to be allowed to see inside the drivers private rooms.
Felipe Massa had a Barcelona football in his, for when his son is with him. This is where a driver gets to have a little time in their own space and prepare between the sessions over a race weekend, and each room even had its own shower cubicle.
Valtteri Bottas’s room was similar – his helmet and race suit laid out ready for him, as well as the cooling vest that he might wear at some of the hotter races to regulate his body temperature before driving.
Also, his Hans device was on a chair in the room. I picked this up to feel its weight, and, even though I knew the material of its composition, was shocked at how surprisingly light it felt.
As we progressed along the front balcony on the middle level to go up again, it afforded some great views of the cars below us and the crowds at the show.
The top open deck of the Motorhome houses a Martini bar, and I couldn’t help but wish that they sold the branded cushions at the merchandise stand!
The views really were fantastic from there, and there was time to pose for the obligatory photo at the Martini bar itself. We could also see Ted Kravitz below us looking around the cars on display with Dickie Stanford.
Many thanks to Williams Martini racing for taking every opportunity to share the paddock experience with fans at the show, and let’s hope other teams take inspiration from their efforts!