Never one to turn down a free lunch, I took one for the team and headed to Melbourne to talk Formula One with Epson and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.
This weekend Melbourne, once again, plays host to the season’s inaugural Formula One World Championship event. Over the weekend ten constructors will embark on a journey to see which of them will dominate the world’s most glamorous motorsport competition.
Since their return to Formula One in 2010 Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport has collected an impressive amount of silverware. With four Constructors’ Championship wins under their belt, all eyes are on them again this year to see if they can continue their winning streak.
Watching the immaculately attired (and extraordinarily polite) Mercedes-AMG Petronas mechanics assemble both Valtteri Bottas’s and Lewis Hamilton’s F1 cars was a nice treat. But, our hosts, Epson also gave me a unique insight into the impressive logistical operation that goes on behind the scenes.
Speaking with Team Principle and CEO of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Toto Wolff, the racing team’s partnership with Epson is far more than just a name on the side of the cars. “We have Epson products everywhere, we have printers everywhere in the factory, more than one hundred. We use them to print everything from documents to the big displays on the trucks.”
Whilst their European races are catered for using a fleet of trucks, Mercedes send equipment by sea for events further afield. At any one time, up to six shipments of equipment are at sea, en route to the various races.
Wolff continued, “We ship Epson printers with our overseas freight, so they need to be pretty robust. We put them in a container and they are out at sea for a few months. You need to make sure that you can unpack them and they can still deliver what needs to be delivered. If they fail, it costs us performance. So, with Epson, as well as the marketing relationship that we have with them, they also provide us with products that are vital and necessary for the race team in all kinds of areas.”
It’s pretty clear the value that Toto Wolff places in his team’s partnership with Epson. It’s a technology partnership that also includes testing innovative new Epson products like their Moverio AR glasses.
Before concluding our discussion, Wolff added, “Five years ago we made the decision that we wanted to consolidate the number of partners that we had. We wanted to keep it to a small selective group that fit the brand and had more purpose than a sticker on the car. Epson is a fantastic example of this. They are aligned with our other partners such as Petronas and IWC- top brands that had bought an added value to the team.”
The Mercedes team certainly puts their money where their mouth is. Whilst the mechanics readied their cutting-edge racing cars, between the two bays of the garage, next to the bank of hi-tech engineering stations that will be used to monitor the cars, sat an Epson printer, ready to print anything from a technical report to the latest directions from the team back in the UK.