Truckie Jim’s life on the road in F1

Jim Cheshire working for Marussia Virgin Racing at Silverstone
Jim Cheshire working for Marussia Virgin Racing at Silverstone

FOR seven months of the year, Jim Cheshire swaps Worksop for glamour destinations like Monaco, Montreal and Shanghai.

The 54-year-old is a ‘truckie’ with Dinnington Formula One team Virgin Racing, and for 11 of the last 13 years his job has taken him all over the world.

“I’ve been with Virgin Racing since the start, this is our second year in Formula One,” he said.

“But I worked with John Booth (Virgin team boss) at Manor Motorsport from 1998, and had a couple of years off in the middle.”

Working for Manor, Jim was a useful guy to have around.

His jobs included driving the truck, fuelling cars and managing tyres. At Virgin Racing, although the team is bigger, he still fulfils multiple roles.

“With Manor being a small team, you did as much as possible.”

“Here I’m a ‘truckie’ but we don’t drive the trucks very often. We arrive to circuits two to three days earlier than everyone else, set up the garage and make sure everything we need is here.”

“Once everyone is here I fuel Timo’s (Glock, F1 driver) car, and I’m in charge of his rear left wheel for pit stops.”

For a petrol head, it’s the perfect job.

The Worksop man went on: “I’ve always loved motorsport, and with this I get to travel a lot and sometimes get to see a little bit of the places we go to.”

“Last year I thoroughly enjoyed China when we got marooned there because of the ash cloud.”

And while he’s hard at work in the Virgin Racing garage, Jim often bumps into famous faces, interested in seeing what goes on around the cars of Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio.

“I turned round from what I was doing once to see Rick Parfitt (Status Quo) leaning on a tool box and having a look around.”

“A few races ago we had Rihanna in the garage.”

“You just get used to it. Some of them are real petrol heads and they take a keen interest. Some of them are just walking up and down the pit lane having their photo taken.”

But it’s not all rock stars and glamour.

He conceded: “At the beginning of the week when we’re setting up we’re hard at it, doing 18 hours a day.”

“Normally it’s airports, hotels and circuits.”

Although the former haulage driver is working for a team at the slower end of the grid, he says everyone in the red and black of Virgin Racing is doing their utmost to succeed in Formula One.

“Sunday is a thrill when it comes to the race, but you’ve got to be serious, otherwise it’s a waste of time doing this.”

“With the pit stops, we’ve all got to do everything right, and do it at the same time.”

“And here at Silverstone, it’s our home Grand Prix, so we want to do well in it.”