1st: I wish to express my gratitude to my buddy Joey in Singapore for designing the Marshal Cam patches which I have recently re-ordered to distribute to marshals that participate in my interviews about their volunteering experiences.
2nd: I will have both versions of the patch with me at the following events to distribute to marshals that wish to participate in my interviews:
WEC 6h of the Americas at COTA in September
Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October
Sepang 12h – Malaysia in December
Bathurst 12h – Australia in February
Auckland Car Club – New Zealand in February
3rd: If I am not at an event near you and you’d really like to get a patch for your collection, you are welcome to buy one or many. Just get in touch about pricing and shipping charges and we could set up a package for you in no time.
The patches cost me $400 USD for 400 pieces. My break even point is to sell 100 patches at $4 USD apiece (or more at a cheaper price). Plus shipping and handling charges which killed me the last time I mailed out a ton of the original Marshal Cam patches, paying for everything out of my own pocket.
I am going through serious withdrawal right now, my last event was NASCAR at Watkins Glen in early August and it’s been a month without any volunteering whatsoever. So I’m eager to get back to the race track. I’m also very much looking forward to traveling again. Especially to my trip back to Southeast Asia!
For any of you on the list of stops above I’ll be sure to have patches with me if you’d like to meet over lunch or dinner and catch up about marshaling in your neck of the woods. I’m sure that besides my right hand drive Miata exploits in Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur I’ll be hanging out with some marshal friends too.
Again, huge thanks to Joey in Singapore for designing these awesome patches, they look fantastic!
The original Red, White and Blue design resembles the American Interstate system sign. While the Green and Yellow design resembles the Australian Interstate system sign. They were designed specifically for my trip to Bathurst in February of next year, and I’m very much looking forward to that journey.
Stay tuned for more, and get in touch if you want one, or a bunch!
Singapore GP does not need my help recruiting marshals, in a sense that sharing this news on this blog will not result in a spike of exposure for their recruiting efforts. They do an excellent job of recruiting themselves, and specifically by posting this message on the “official” Singapore Grand Prix facebook page:
The official page has just over 100k Like’s and about 1.5k visits /check-in’s. That’s a pretty significant pool of candidates of which historically over 3,000 candidates would submit their applications to fill approximately 1,200 spots. All volunteer in various capacities though some are highly specialized, just look at the poster above: the people in Green have to have a medical background whether doctors or nurses, and the people in red have to be Firefighters. They have to show a certificate of proof to be assigned that role.
This post was made on March 8:
And as of March 18 it has received 260 likes, 29 comments and 128 shares. One of those shares was me contemplating this blog post with my facebook friends, I don’t know what the other 127 shares discussed but obviously they were interested in some capacity of volunteering for the 2015 Singapore GP. The hashtag SGP created for this campaign is #SGPMARSHAL and was used along with other hashtags like #F1, #SingaporeGP and #F1NighRace, all relatively trending topics. Singapore GP organization has way more marshals that it knows what to do with and yet they are continuing to recruit to keep existing marshals on their best behavior and have a supply of reserves to keep the numbers up year after year.
So the real reason for this blog post isn’t Singapore, it is to ask the question: why doesn’t the United States Grand Prix or COTA – Circuit of the Americas do a similar marketing/recruiting exercise for it’s own marshaling force?
Circuit of the Americas www.facebook.com/CircuitofTheAmericas in comparison has 292k Like’s or almost three times as many as Singapore GP, and 45k visits/check-in’s or thirty (30!!!) times as many visits… That’s a ridiculously higher number of exposure in both categories. Not to mention instead of a single Night Race, COTA hosts a full calendar of high profile events from the Pirelli World Challenge sports car event to WEC – World Endurance Championship / IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship double header. From MotoGP to F1! And a number of smaller events and track rentals that could seriously benefit from a larger pool of volunteers (or even paid workers for that matter).
So why don’t they do it?
I think… and I could be completely wrong… but I really think that at all levels of management starting from the big wigs running COTA to the smaller wigs running the marshaling services, and the hired wigs that help with the recruiting for individual events like MotoGP, WEC or F1 have way too much “ego!” at play when it comes to the advertising aspect of the volunteer positions. There are too many assumptions that advertising requires too much time, money or effort… or basically resources they don’t have. Or are short on, or don’t really care too much about. There seems to be some foolish reliance on making due with what little they have… the richest country in the world, with the newest and most expensive circuit in the land is willing to cut corners in the safety department by running skeleton marshal crews, because they don’t have enough budget (time, money, effort). There’s the presumption that the volunteers must be experienced instead of assembling eager amateurs/ Motorsport enthusiasts and training them to the standards that the FIA requires for WEC or F1, or FIM requires for MotoGP… Oh no, we must only rely on trusted and experienced SCCA marshals because they’re the best… So much ego! So much wrong with this picture!
Why not take a page out of the SGP playbook/ best practices/ success stories? Why not advertise to the audience COTA already has? 300,000 fans is an incredible pool of people, many of whom would probably love to plan a trip to volunteer a weekend in Austin, Texas whether for F1 in October/November, or WEC in September, MotoGP in April or PWC in March… there are so many people that could potentially pick this hobby up and continue volunteering throughout the year closer to where they actually live. Be it within the US or internationally. Plenty of Mexican visitors to the USGP and they’re about to host their own GP again. Plenty of Aussies willing to travel to America to volunteer in Austin. Why not recruit them? I really hope that the 2015 United States Grand Prix marshal recruiting process doesn’t start too close to the event date. I hope everyone that is interested in participating in the event is given the information they need to start making their plans early instead of waiting until the last minute just for an opportunity to apply.
I should point out that COTA has created a facebook page just for their marshals: www.facebook.com/cotatrackmarshals and while it is certainly a plus to have something so specific, at 411 Like’s and 55 visits/check-in’s (at the time of the writing of this post) it doesn’t really compare to the audience of 300,000 facebookers on the main COTA page. That should be used for recruiting volunteers more than anything else. It could be done in conjunction with the official page on the COTA web site:
I will also acknowledge that writing this post can be construed as criticism of both the United States F1 Grand Prix as an event and Cicrcuit of the Americas – the race track that hosts it… and while that is not my intention I know there are ego’s at play and I can’t prevent them from thinking the worst. I have already experienced what people told me was punishment while volunteering for the US GP last year where I was assigned a position where I couldn’t see anything. I wrote a post complaining about that experience and all kinds of people got all bent out of shape about how dare I criticize such a wonderful event. I certainly didn’t see the need to paint a rosy picture which I’m sure would have been very welcomed when the reality didn’t correspond to it. The same people that got ridiculously offended were also the ones that promised to prevent me from marshaling ever again, so I don’t know how much stock I would put into that promise. I know for a fact though that I wouldn’t volunteer my time, spend a bunch of money on travel and accommodation, just to be “punished” , for whatever reason. I’d rather stay home. But I would get over my own ego and support all of COTA’s recruitment efforts because I know it would improve the sport and the marshaling situation in the US which is dismal, we are very short on people. The more new marshals that volunteer, the more training there would be offered for all of us, the more we all benefit. Much like what Singapore GP has been experiencing for years. My fingers are crossed with the hopes of improvement, and that improvement starts with better advertising. Use your facebook page for good Circuit of the Americas! Please advertise all the available volunteer opportunities and continue doing it often…
I have taken the liberty of creating some useful hashtags for such a campaign, feel free to use them: #USGPmarshal, #USF1marshal, #COTAmarshal, #WECmarshalCOTA, #MotoGPmarshalCOTA, #PWCmarshalCOTA, #F1marshalCOTA etc. the possibilities are endless!
Interested in marshaling the 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix? Of course you are… why wouldn’t you be?
So the recruitment process is now underway. It goes in stages. About a week ago returning officials were notified to log into the system and express their interest in returning. Soon after there will be the referral process where a unique referral key will be available for first timers provided by returning officials to sign up ahead of the general public. And finally the registration process will be open to everyone interested in the event by filling out an online application.
Want to beat the rest of the crowd and fast track your application with a referral code? Check out the Flag Marshals of the World facebook group as there are a ton of Singaporean and SGP visiting marshals (many of them from Australia, Europe and the Emirates) that will certainly be happy to share with you their digits. My last SGP was back in 2013 and since I stopped coming back they have stopped inviting me, so don’t ask me for a referral. In the same breath it’s worth say that Singapore GP organizers certainly don’t need my help in promoting the event, they are always way oversubscribed as I have talked about in this blog for years now. But, for those of you interested, and I’m sure many still are, this is an amazing event to be involved with. Besides the exotic setting and incredible appeal of Singapore as a city, the event itself oozes with discipline and professionalism displaying how F1 events should be run. And since I started my marshaling adventures in Singapore I will always feel a sentimental connection to the place even when I no longer live there.
As volunteer marshals it’s part of our job to help people in an emergency. We see a driver get injured, we call it in and seek medical assistance. But what happens when we as marshals get hurt?
I’ve had the misfortune of getting injured on several occasions now, and wanted to share my story to hopefully help out a fellow marshal in a similar situation, should it occur.
My most recent experience was during the WEC race at the Circuit of the Americas. Through a variety of circumstances I felt nauseous, some shooting pains in my stomach and in short order I managed to get a ride to the Medical Center to get help. Now saying the description above would likely get it dismissed as a minor incident. But consider the facts. Leading up to the race weekend I caught a bug. Something gave me food poisoning, not sure what… I was being especially careful knowing full well I will be away from home for a week, camping at a track with long hours on my feet and I knew I couldn’t afford to get sick. I got sick nonetheless. If you have never dealt with food poisoning it will be hard to understand the consequences. But with only one day rest before my flight, my entire rib cage hurt from puking every so often for over 24 hours. Needless to say I was not 100% when I arrived in Texas. And that’s important to consider when dealing with worker well-being on station. Sure our activities may not be all that strenuous to you, as a turn captain or a post chief, but you never know what your colleagues have gone through. Once at the Medical Center it was discovered I was battling high fever and was dehydrated. Despite my best efforts to keep my fluids up during the day, drinking lots of water, soft drinks and Poweraid, I still managed to get dehydrated. The treatment I received at COTA, with a bunch of pills to deal with fever and an IV drip for the dehydration worked wonders immediately. But had I not gone to seek help I would have been rather miserable the next day, because let’s face it: it’s not like I would have “slept it off.”
I had a similar experience at Silverstone a few years back while volunteering for the British Grand Prix. The outcome was completely different to what I experienced at COTA, mainly because I didn’t know what to do or ask for once I reached the Medical Centre. I twisted my foot getting out of the tent on Friday morning, hours before any track activity had started, and essentially my weekend was ruined. The pain was excruciating. I hopped on one foot to get to the bathroom which shot sharp shooting pains throughout my body. Sitting, standing or even laying down caused pain, sharp pain. There was no position I could be in so it didn’t hurt. So naturally I made a trip to the Medical Centre where they poked my swollen foot, looked in my eyes and with a smile said “it will hurt a lot more tomorrow!” And like an idiot I walked away cringing from the news, and hurting from the pain that terrorized my body. Sure it was a simple sprain, but at the moment it was the most ridiculous pain I had ever experienced. Nothing was broken but it might as well have been. And it wasn’t until the last day, Sunday when I found my way back to the Medical Centre with the help of a media person on a golf cart, and started demanding pain killers because I couldn’t take it anymore. Incredibly, as soon as I took the simple pill of Ibuprofen I felt immediate relief and it made me wonder 1). Why didn’t I ask for this sooner? and 2). Why wasn’t it offered in the first place? Since then I’ve started carrying a simple first aid kit that has basic pain killers, but by the same token they wouldn’t have done much for my nausea example from the COTA incident. So it pays to utilize the Medical Centre’s at each track if need be… considering they’re designed to treat everyone from spectators to the drivers, it’s an invaluable resource to rely on. At Silverstone I spend the three day weekend hidden in a shed on station, with a pack of ice over my injured foot.
I’ve had other incidents with minor injuries that didn’t require a trip to the medical center, though it helped having medical staff around. During my second Singapore Grand Prix I cut my finger climbing a fence to remove some signage that was blocking our view. One of the nurses on our station washed the wound with peroxide and insisted I get a tetanus shot once I get home, wherever that home may be. In New Zealand I followed another marshal to get to the station through the spectator area which required climbing a wire fence. It was raining, I was wearing several layers including a fairly restricting rain suit, and while the jump over the fence was fine, the landing wasn’t. I felt immediate shooting pain from my knee up throughout the body. And it only got worse thru the day. The night after I spent tossing and turning, almost hallucinating from the fever and pain, but the next morning I could whobble out to the street to catch my ride to Hampton Downs. There, my flag chief who’s a former nurse, gave me her knee brace and I felt sufficiently better to finish up the weekend.
So moral of the story, if you are going to volunteer it’s likely that you may get hurt doing so. Be prepared, but if you’re not please don’t hesitate to take advantage of the available help. You are not being a pest, you must look out for your own best interests first before helping others. You also don’t want to become a liability should something happen and you cannot perform 100% because you are suppressing a pain that should have been addressed. Use the available resources and please be careful out there!
Great news for marshals interested in volunteering the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix. Important registration dates have been released, and in true Singapore fashion there are different deadlines for different candidates which I’ll list below.
If you have done the GP last year, you are first on the list for consideration. Registration for returning officials starts February 17th. Friends and family of returning officials wishing to participate get a special referral code which may be used on February 24th. And general public is open to apply last starting March 10th.
The deadline to apply is March 31st. So if interested do it as quickly as possible. Singapore has one of the largest marshalling bodies in the world with over 1,200 members but they receive many more thousands applicants so it pays to be first in line. I love Singapore and their event because my marshalling career started there, it will always be home in that respect.
Greetings from Thailand. Left Singapore early this morning for another small island is SE Asia: Phuket, one of my favorite destinations.
My team and I went partying until well into the night at Clarke Quay, a much deserved de-stress. Shame however my trip started on the wrong foot with the post chief, and the weekend never recovered. I hate being treated like an outsider at a place I considered home.
It was one of the better GP’s I had in a while. I started out as track marshal on Friday. Moved to being a flag marshal on Saturday and finished the race on Sunday as a light panel operator.
No major incidents happened requiring my team to act, though Webber’s smoky engine blow up started by our turn. Got a nice video of him hitching a ride with Alonso.
I will post a longer write up later, right now Amazing Thailand awaits.
Finally we managed to sneak some decent local food in to replace the awful stuff that is served by the organizers.
It’s amazing the logistics involved in getting over a thousand marshals together for an event… nevermind the weekend, just the group photo takes a ton of effort.
Greetings from the little red dot in Southeast Asia.
I’m having an interesting time here so far. Some elements of the marshals management have been unusually cold and unwelcoming, but my fellow marshals have been incredible!
I am a flaggie at turn 22, opposite pit entry and one turn ahead of the last turn. High speed turn that may see some action. So far only showers of sparks have kept us entertained from cars bottoming out.
Its nice to reconnect with marshals from Australia, New Zealand, India, UAE, UK, Malaysia and of course Singapore. The weather is perfect. Food is awesome. Looking forward to the race.
On my way home from the Phillipines earlier this year Raziff and Russell surprised me at Changi Airport by taking me out to a quick dinner I organized. And after sharing my experiences from the seven back to back races in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, Raziff asked for a little write up… which he just published to the 1,200 Singapore GP marshals volunteering for the 2013 season. Massive thanks to Raziff for the shout-out!
Looking forward to the Singapore trip this September… not just for the GP, but for the amazing food of Southeast Asia and another R&R visit to Malaysia and Thailand.
Great news from Asia this week. The place where it all started for me wants me back 🙂 Got my acceptance e-mail for the 2013 Singapore F1 Grand Prix. Thrilled? Indeed I am. I’ve already booked some flights, and have started thinking about where I’ll go for my birthday in Thailand and Malaysia. This will be my third SGP to date, and I can’t wait.
As I’ve posted about before I managed to use some Virgin America miles to snag a one way on the Singapore Airlines A380 again. On the way home, I’m even more excited to try the newest A380 service in the Thai Airways fleet. It will be a new airline and a new experience.
Another perk of working SGP that I’m really looking forward to is all the delicious food. Whatever it is, from Malay to Indian, Chinese to Thai, I can’t wait to taste all of it again.
PS. now waiting for good news from the other major event I have pre-booked flights for this year: the 24 hours of Le Mans… fingers crossed!
Motorsport Marshal, Miata Driver, Hot Wheels Collector