By Red Bull Racing
April 19 2006
Last year new boys Red Bull stunned the paddock with the "Energy Station" which quickly became renowned as the place to party in the paddock. This year Red Bull and Toro Rosso have joined forces to present the largest motorhome ever seen in F1 - The New Energy Centre...
Immediately after Red Bull took a second F1 team under its wing, the planning began to incorporate both Scuderia Toro Rosso’s and Red Bull Racing’s paddock space allocation under a single roof. It was decided to build one big facility once we had clearance from the Formula 1 authorities. The structure was put together by Austrian firm, Kitz Exklusiv, the same company that built the old one.
Above: The old 2005 Energy Station, Below: The 2006 Version mid Construction
Design work began in November 2005, with the actual construction of the components starting two months later. The work was carried out close to Red Bull’s headquarters in Fuschl. The main structure took about one month to build. It uses approximately 30 to 40% of the old Energy Station. All the facilities had been thoroughly tested on its predecessor and as the equipment and functionality has not changed that significantly, everything on board is pretty much a known quantity and the build team had a good idea of how it all went together.
At the moment, prior to its first appearance, it’s hard to say what was the most difficult aspect of its build, but no doubt we will find out in Imola. The larger roof terrace was certainly a challenge and generally it was a tricky task. The construction had to meet Austrian Health and Safety regulationsut don’t ask how long it takes to put together, because at the time of writing we have yet to assemble the entire unit! Five days have been allowed to build it up for the first time in the Imola paddock, but we are hoping this should leave at least one whole day in reserve.
At the moment it requires 24 large soft side trucks to transport and 40 riggers to put it together. The biggest challenge will be the first back-to-back races, which happens when the unit has to be moved from the Nurburgring to Barcelona and built in a matter of a couple of days. An additional base unit has been constructed, as was the case last year and this will be ready and waiting in Spain, for when the bulk of the Energy Station arrives, with drivers taking turns at the wheel through the night to deliver it in one non-stop journey. It is planned that the unit will make it for all the European back-to-back races, while last year, the only exception was the inability to get it from Monaco to the Nurburgring, as the former location involved floating the entire Energy Station on a pontoon.
The ground floor of the unit is where most of the action happens with kitchens and dining areas. At the moment, these are flexible offering the Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing crews the chance to eat together or separately – presumably depending on their mood and on what’s happened at the race track on any particular day.
Last year, our waiters racked up more kilometres running up and down the stairs of the Energy Station than our drivers did on the race track, so to save their legs, the new unit boasts its own Dumb Waiter to whiz meals from the ground floor kitchens to the guest areas upstairs. Catering for them and the team personnel is a veritable army of chefs so one has to hope they make a lie of the old saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth.”
The ground floor also houses offices for the two team principals, the communications departments and the marketing crew; the latter are under strict instructions not to look out their window in the morning, otherwise what on earth would they find to do in the afternoon?
Where are the engineers? Well, if you care to glance across the paddock to the team transporters, you will see they have been cunningly tidied away in what we call our “Tree Houses.” Although given the skill levels required to climb up into the offices which straddle the trucks, perhaps “Monkey House” would be a more appropriate name. Engineers, monkeys? Hang on, we might be onto something here!