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DATE News (chronologically)
05/13/10
f1
McLaren men complete herculean task  
This hardly resembles anything we would call a "motor home"
It has taken a feat of Herculean proportions over a period of 72 hours, involving more than 500 individual components, 25 men and a distance of just over 400 miles.

They are some of the unsung heroes of McLaren's team, the ones you do not see or hear about, but who play a vital role in the smooth running of the team over a European grand prix weekend.

What those men do is also a thankless task, but the dismantling and re-erecting this week of the leviathan of a building that is the McLaren brand centre - otherwise known as the paddock motor home - has been no mean feat.

Sure, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are the focus of attention for their adoring fans, they always will be, and rightly so.

But credit where it is due, because the brand centre is an integral hub of McLaren's operations, where the drivers can relax and where sponsors and key players are wined and dined.

It stands 40 feet tall, with its facade entirely glass fronted and cost an eye-watering £10million.

It is the most impressive building in the paddock, and has been since it made its debut in 2007. But then this is McLaren - it has to be.

But for Alan Field, the technical manager of the brand centre, the period a few hours after the Spanish Grand Prix concluded on Sunday afternoon through to Wednesday evening has been the most difficult he has had to endure.

Field is an 18-year veteran with the team, a man who started out when McLaren's motor home was nothing more than a bus and an awning.

But as times change, so has that motor home into the bespoke ultra-modern facility that somehow made its way from Barcelona to Monaco in 72 hours.

And bear in mind Monaco is unique on the calendar as it always starts a day earlier in the week, on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday, giving Field and his team 24 hours less to work.

"The intensity of it has been far greater this time. We've done back-to-back races from Monaco, but never to Monaco," Field told Press Association Sport.

"For a grand prix I would normally spend five days preparing the unit, but we've had to condense that into two.

"We started at 6pm on Sunday afternoon after the race finished, and we didn't stop until 5pm on Monday afternoon. My guys worked all the way through.

"Unfortunately we missed our flight from Barcelona to Nice, so we had a coach held back, and the guys got their heads down for as much as they could on that.

"When we got to Monaco, it was 3am on Tuesday morning the first component went down."

Standing interviewing Field in front of the brand centre on Wednesday just before 6pm, work was almost complete.

"Somebody apparently said on television they would eat their hat if they saw the brand centre in Monaco," added Field.

"I used that in a little speech to the guys because I want somebody to eat their hat, so I said 'Come on guys, help me out here'.

"They've dug deep. They had to, but our catering department has plied us with food and drink all the time, and we just kept going."

But do McLaren's top brass in Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh fully appreciate the efforts of Field and his team?

"I'm sure they do," said Field with a smile.

"I always used to think if Ron didn't say anything that was praise in itself.

"I kept people informed back at base so everybody would know when we would be ready, and I'm really pleased with the guys

"From Barcelona to Monaco in 72 hours - we've done well."

For Field and his crew, never has a post-construction beer tasted so good.

**************

Mark Webber embarked on his own journey post-Barcelona, forsaking a celebratory knees-up to commemorate his first victory of the season and third of his career.

After his lights-to-flag triumph around the Circuit de Catalunya, Webber sprayed champagne on the podium and was drenched in the stuff in the paddock as his team savoured the triumph in front of a posse of photographers.But not a drop of bubbly passed the 33-year-old Australian's lips as chose not to hang around in Barcelona, and instead drove to Monaco with partner Ann Neal.

"I'm not the most patient guy in the world when it comes to moving around," said Webber.

"Ann wasn't too keen on driving so I did the whole trip myself. I did 900km on Sunday - 300km in the grand prix and 600km on the road - and not a drop of champagne."

You can bet your bottom Aussie dollar, if Webber wins in Monaco on Sunday he will party long and hard. Sportinglife.com

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