The original building was home to a Formula 1 team long before Scuderia Toro Rosso inherited it and you can get an idea of how much the sport has grown in complexity by the fact that the factory has now expanded to three buildings with a fourth on the way. There are also various other sites on the industrial estate, mainly used for storage.
The fourth building has replaced the oldest part of the facility and will provide a home to our very own simulator department. The reason why so much space is needed is that even if modern technology has replaced manpower in many areas, more and more people are needed to deal with all the specialist fields that go into a modern F1 car. In the old days, manufacturing and assembly employed the most staff, but today, our facility is packed with engineers, computer experts and specialists.
A large number work in the Drawing Office with staff focusing on composites, suspension, hydraulics, transmission and system designs. In addition there are groups specializing in Aero Performance, Vehicle Dynamics, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Stress Analysis. One thing modern technology has not erased is the need for face to face communication between everyone as all aspects of a Formula 1 car are linked together, which is why the designers of all components all work in the same space.
Our main building is home to the Machine Shop and the Assembly Area, the workshop where the cars are actually built up prior to being sent off to races and this is where to come to find our hydraulics, electronics and gearbox departments. Under the same roof we also have our Research and Development department and Quality Control where parts are tested under load, often to breaking point. We might only produce a handful of cars each year, but we still need a Stores to keep all the parts and, although each component is extremely valuable this area still looks like a sophisticated Parts department that you would find in any car company. Typical of the sort of work that just didn't exist when the factory was first built is the Operations Room, also housed in the brand new building.
In simple terms it replicates the pit wall at the track and for every practice and qualifying session, as well as the race itself, a team of engineers sits in the Operations Room seeing exactly the same data as their colleagues at the race track, in real time. With the number of team members allowed at the track limited by the regulations, this is an effective way of boosting the brain power available to the team, with the guys at the factory working in ideal conditions to suggest ways of improving the car's performance at the track.
Carbon fibre is the biggest single element used in the construction of Formula 1 cars and parts, which is why the Toro Rosso composites department takes up much of our newest building 3, along with the autoclaves, or giant ovens that 'cook' the parts once the layers of carbon fibre have been put together.