This weekend, three Formula One teams will go to battle not on the race track but at Blenheim Palace in Oxford at the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Blenheim Palace Triathlon.
Fitness is of highest importance not just for drivers, but also the crew, and triathlon has proven to be great cardiovascular training. 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button is a keen triathlete, and is always positive about this particular type of competition.
At this weekend’s event will be teams representing Mercedes AMG Petronas, Red Bull Racing and Force India. Each will have three relay teams featuring all kinds of staff from engineers to accountants.
A number of the Mercedes entrants are training for both half and full distance ironmans later this year, and three have entered the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Blenheim Palace Triathlon before.
“I’ve always been interested in triathlons but my main interest in this event is the venue – I actually had my wedding reception in the Orangery of the Palace back in 2006!” commented Matthew Storry, Senior Systems Engineer for Mercedes AMG Petronas. “My individual aim for the weekend is to have a competitive swim and to be the first MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS swimmer out of the water, I’d love to beat all the other F1 teams and have a Mercedes 1-2-3 triathlon win.”
All of Red Bull’s team members have had the previous experience of at least one triathlon.
Red Bull’s Chris Finister, a Senior Design Engineer, is very enthusiastic for the weekend ahead: “I got into triathlon when I convinced my nine year-old son to take part in one at a local pool which he did without hesitation, I immediately thought if he can…I can! We have a great group of runners and cyclists at Red Bull Racing and usually we compete against each other in races – this event will give us a great opportunity to compete in a team with colleagues instead. My aim is to win and destroy the other F1 teams – that’s why everyone else is entered right?”
Force India have the youngest crew, with an average age of 32, and whilst none of their team has entered this particular event before, many have a lot of triathlon and marathon experience under their belts. Paul McEvoy is captain of Force India’s C team:
“I got into endurance events after recovering from cancer in 2012 – I’ve been all clear since and have had a real drive to keep fitter. Fortunately my interest in multi-sport events is shared by my colleagues and we motivate each other to keep pushing. We are a competitive bunch and all share a passion, or perhaps obsession, for fitness.”
The triathlon takes place on June 13/14. Will Mercedes be as dominant as they are on the race track, or will the experience of the other teams play to their advantage?