It’s 6 July 2014, and the British Grand Prix is set to begin in 90 minutes on the legendary Silverstone Circuit. Mark Wilson, Automotive/Rail Business Development Manager at ebm-papst Automotive & Drives (UK), is there to watch the race with two customers. And of course he’s especially interested in how ebm-papst’s partner, the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, will perform because of his pre-season work supporting the development of on-car cooling solutions such as the side pod and roll hoop fans.
Just as the three arrive in the team’s Paddock Club suite, Wilson’s smartphone beeps and displays a text message from his managing director, Gareth Jones: “Please call me immediately”. Wilson returns the call and is told by Jones to “immediately report to the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS garage as they urgently need your technical advice.” Wilson smiles, thinking the instruction is a joke – until he and his guests are actually escorted into the garage. He thinks to himself, “Wow, this is really happening!”
Fast-track technical discussion
In the garage, Wilson’s customers are taken on a guided tour whilst he is immediately surrounded by a group of engineers led by the team’s Chief Track Engineer Simon Cole; they have a lot of technical questions about the cooling challenge. In Formula One that’s nothing unusual; they work until the last second on refinements to the cars. Having Mark Wilson, an automotive fan specialist, available on this day turns out to be a real stroke of luck for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. Though still somewhat stunned by the speed of events, he manages to provide quick and pointed advice – while stealing a few glances at the two awe-inspiring Silver Arrows racing cars. Wilson suggests a few possible solutions.
Silence follows as the engineers think things over, then they appear satisfied. “Do you have another quarter of an hour?” asks one of them and asks Wilson to come with him to the Engineering trucks behind the garage. Wilson’s customers are thrilled to have a few more minutes to check out the activity in the garage whilst he is gone.
Ready for take-off
As the electric door to the engineering office opens, Wilson has to catch his breath. The place looks like Mission Control at NASA. But that’s not all. Sitting there at the table where Wilson takes a seat are Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg! The two MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS stars are making final preparations for the race. By now Wilson is asking himself, “Am I dreaming?” He discusses his proposed solutions with the engineers – all the while feeling as if he’s in a film. Afterwards, the engineers get up to go and make more adjustments to the car, and Wilson returns to the real world of the hospitality suite.
The thank you mail from MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS arrives promptly before the race, leaving Wilson with a proud grin that lasts until well after he is seated in the spectator area. All that makes following the race all the more exciting. And it’s a successful day for the team as well, with Lewis Hamilton winning his home Grand Prix. For a long time, Mark Wilson will remember how he did his part to help the team on course to its first ever FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championship title as well as the Drivers’ Championship.
Chief Track Engineer Simon Cole of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team reports on the fast-track technical discussion with Business Development Manager Mark Wilson from ebm-papst Automotive & Drives (UK) Ltd om his point of view.