The Formula 1 Race Fans Don’t Get to See

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — By late Sunday night in Baku, a few hours after Sergio Pérez of Red Bull had won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, much of the equipment necessary to stage a Formula 1 race had been methodically packed, wrapped and hoisted onto pallets, ready to fly halfway across the world.

Chartered cargo planes did the heavy lifting from there, hauling disassembled 1,700-pound racecars — and almost anything else imaginable — to Miami International Airport, where, by Monday, the shipment had been offloaded onto trucks and delivered to the pop-up racetrack around Hard Rock Stadium, which will host the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.

Getting from the starting grid to the finish line is not, it turns out, the only high-stakes race against the clock in Formula 1.

For the top tier of international open-wheel racing, putting on premier competitions on back-to-back weekends is a complicated logistical symphony. Behind the scenes, 1,400 tons of stuff travels by air, sea and land from track to track, and continent to continent, for 23 races in 20 countries, a perpetual cycle of packing, unpacking and repacking that this year will cover more than 93,000 miles. The lights’ flicking off at the start of each race are contingent on everything, somehow, arriving on time, every time.

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