A Marussia F1 steering wheel

// Behind the Scenes at Marussia

Thursday morning we were invited for a tour of the Marussia F1 Team garage, and without hesitation we responded yes, looking forward to our first behind the scenes glimpse at the grand prix team.

Our guide for the morning was Marussia F1 Team member Mike Scudamore, who works with sponsor acquisitions. He started off by a Marussia team member who was enthusiastic about showing us the inner workings of the team. We met outside the garage and discussed the challenges of moving the team from Abu Dhabi to Austin, and then about the rapid learning curve of the new facility.

From the paddock, the garage seem quiet, calm and collected, but once inside, the character is dynamic, fast, and cramped. Behind the livery covered shroud, the heart of the action is pumping.

The aerodynamic department is busy removing hairline thin shavings from the front wing with a set of tools from what looks like an artist's carving kit. To the side, Timo Glock's rear wing sits, featuring some new aero tricks to be seen in the 2013 car.

The mechanic working on the rear wing pulls out a small aluminum cylinder, the DRS actuator. He handles it careful, showing how it assembles into the recessed pocket in the top section.  At the same time, Mark picks up the DRS wing and hands it to us. As expected, it's no heavier than race program fans carry with them around the track, amazing.

Across the aisle sits the Cosworth engines, wrapped and ready to be fitted to the car.  No photos of this part unfortunately, the engine and transmission are top secret, hidden behind cloak from any clever photographers. Mark pulls out a steering wheel next, explaining the buttons and the steps driver must go through to make changes to the car.

Suddenly, the engine's fired up. Standing just under 10 feet from unconcealed motor is impressive.  It's loud, but not deafening.  What's most amazing is the size.  Exposed with only its exhaust attached, the profile of the engine is much smaller in real life than in photos. Such a vast amount of power emerges from its pipes as it revs, going through a testing procedure administered by the four engineers sitting behind a large rack of computers. Without them, Mark explains, there's now way to steal this multi-million dollar machine.

Like the technical departments in the back, the front of the garage is busy with mechanics moving around. Components of the car are neatly stacked, waiting to be fitted to the car.  With just 24 hours to go until the track opens up, the pressure is mounting to put together the car and make it race ready.

Deep inside the chaos, it's fascinating to see as an entire crew of mechanics and engineers work hard behind the scenes to make everything come together. Their efforts, concealed from photographers and TV Cameras, define what makes Formula 1 so unique.

// Images from the Marussia F1 Team Garage