As we all know, motor racing is becoming more and more money-controlled within the big branded motor racing championships. It is now almost impossible to run a team without a multinational organisation holding the purse strings. With this comes the politics of being part of a big corporation and some of the decision-making is filtered out to the powers that be.
When milliseconds can win or lose a race and can make the difference to big sponsorships or even survival of the teams every eventuality needs to be planned for within a racing weekend. Of course some eventualities cannot be foreseen directly, this is where the motor racing teams that can think on their feet at a seconds notice can really make a difference.Take for example a racing accident; a pit stop when the safety car is deployed could make up minutes lost through racing.
But there is another independent team of people who can make a difference to the race and that consist of race marshals, stewards and the racing car recovery teams.Every decision these guys make throughout a race can decide where a racing team can finish. They decide when the safety car is deployed, when and where to deploy the relevant flags and even if a race should be stopped or not.But there is also another consideration to make.
The time it takes for the car recovery teams to remove damaged racing cars off the track, can and has decided race positions. It is critical that any car that is in the path of the traffics even at speeds slowed down by the safety car be removed as quickly and safely as possible. And as many cars now are made with carbon fibre that shatters and can cut though racing tyres, the relevant debris too.Remember every extra lap that the cars have to go around again allows the back markers to catch up.Granted they are not allowed to pass whilst the safety car is out, but much time is often lost.These marshals and Car Recovery teams also have to put themselves in danger, standing on the track, putting out fires and even dealing with angry drivers.
Ironically most do this as a volunteer, just for the love of the sport in rain wind cold and scorching heat.My point really is, that as motor racing teams spend multi million dollars or pounds to gain a second on their competition, how much should the car recovery teams receive by removing a car 30 seconds quicker?.Of course safety should always come first, but one mans safety is another mans thrill. Relevant race procedures that are controlled by the stewards, allow for the strictest car recovery procedures.As the sponsors and race teams grit their teeth as they see their race positions diminish, the recovery teams still need to get it right first time first time and in the quickest time.Would I do it? You bet I would, give me the training the uniform and I will be there!..Mark is wbmaster for Motor Racing Day and Norwich Union Direct.
By: Mark Flanighan