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As a reward for their success in the Whilton Mill Kart Club Championship last year, eight lucky drivers were given the chance to tour the Haas F1 factory with UK workshop manager, Alan Maybin.
The drivers were, Luke Whitehead, Brandon Abraham, Aaron Drury, Callum Bradshaw, Marcus Pett, Riley Phillips and Tom Smith. They were the club champions in their respective classes last year bar Brandon Abraham who won the ‘Perseverance’ award after his fantastic performances in the Mini Max class on novice plates.
Alan Maybin gave the drivers and guests a two hour tour of the factory where they were able to see the experience of working in F1 first hand along with some cars.
For some drivers on the tour, F1 will of course be a dream for the future whether it be a drive or work in the sport, so to get given such access was a real eye opener. Like all the teams, Haas were preparing for a two week factory shut down and had just come off the back of the German Grand Prix.
I asked Brandon Abraham what he thought of the experience and he told me: “Touring Haas was a great learning experience and it’s made me change the way I look at F1. I was blown away by the amount of work the that goes into finding one tenth of a second. The team had just come back from Hockenheim and they were already working on finding more time whilst others were preparing for the shut down. The facility itself was very nice and I was amazed by the vast amount of space needed for the amount of trucks needed to carry just two cars. One of the most interesting parts was learning how they’ll go through loads of people to find who is quickest at taking off or putting on tyres in a pit stop for example. It was also interesting to hear about the race weekends and how organised everyone needs to be. It’s an experience I’ll certainly always remember.”
From a parent’s point of view Simon Whitehead certainly took a very keen interest and told me: “What a fantastic experience it was to participate in the tour of the Haas F1 factory. I think everyone was amazed away by the weight and costs involved in individual parts of the car and the different approach Haas has taken. Credit to Alan Maybin who was the perfect guide and kept everyone intrigued throughout the tour. It was a nice touch at the end when the drivers were given some Haas memorabilia to take home. Well done to Whilton Mill for organising a Freya prize!”
Away from the drivers and parents Club chairman Darren Clarke was also present along with photographer Stu Stretton. Stu commented: “It was eye opening to see the amount of equipment and expense to run just two cars. The stresses on the team to perform are great and the tolerances on the engineers to work to are incredible! It’s so far from the karting world but similar in so many ways to top level karting.”
It’s fantastic to see Whilton Mill are giving more than trophies and an experience I’m sure they’ll never forget.
Written by Chris McCarthy
Images courtesy of Stu Stretton