Category Archives: Silverstone Circuit

Silverstone Circuit, England, UK

Thank You Doctor!

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.”

COTA Medical Center

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.

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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!

Remember to thank your Doctor 🙂

Application Process: CAMS (Australian GP) & MSA (British GP)

Dear friends,

This is a general call for volunteers should you wish to participate in the Australian GP in Melbourne, March 2015 or the British GP at Silverstone, July 2015. For the American readers, you may not be accustomed to the idea of applying to an event taking place next year when our home USGP is still recruiting people a month before the race, but that’s how the world works. Don’t think for a minute to go on a whim to the UK or to Australia last minute and expect to be welcomed as a marshal. Please follow this application process for a better chance of actually getting accepted.

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To apply for the Australian GP you should visit the CAMS web site and fill out your online application here:  www.camsvms.com/SignUp/Signup.aspx Once you’ve done this step don’t forget that you may need a visa to visit Australia and an electronic permit is easy to obtain at a cost of about $20 from the Australian Department of Immigration.

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The British GP application can be downloaded on the MSA web site and e-mailed to the appropriate party:  www.msaevents.co.uk/bgpmarshals.php The application process for the GP at Silverstone consists of getting nominated, then your name is voted upon and if you’re accepted you will receive a notification e-mail. Unlike Australia, no visa is required for Americans visiting the country.

Remember to submit your applications early because unlike other events that are desperate for people, Australia and United Kingdom get oversubscribed and many applicants are turned down.

Good luck!

British GP photo book ordered for the collection

A photo book to capture my 11th Formula 1 Grand Prix participation has just been completed and will soon be sent to the printers 🙂 Excited the way it came out.

Below is the growing collection thus far:

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Formula 1 Participation in 2012:

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Formula 1 Participation in 2011:

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British F1 Grand Prix debrief

Its not easy to volunteer major international events like the Formula One World Championship. Like many others, in order to be selected for the British GP I had to fill out forms, provide letters of recommendation, wait for a decision, etc. And when the time came to get dressed and perform at the top of my game, I fell flat on my face!

So when does a good intending marshal with an injury become a liability? I feel my presence at the British GP came close if not crossed that line. Was I useful? Not at all. Despite my best intentions, I feel I was getting in the way of other marshals doing their job, and that sort of distraction shouldn’t happen when dangerous tasks are performed at a racing circuit (especially at professional events, when there are cameras everywhere).

Am I thankful for the powers that be to allow me to remain there? Of course I am. I had come a long way to marshal in the UK, and to be asked to leave would have been devastating. But standing there cringing with excruciating pain, wasn’t a much better alternative. This experience reminds me to remember to carry a first aid kit, the one item I had left out from my luggage this time. Of course being more careful is the plan for all future racing, including ALMS and World Challenge at Lime Rock this weekend.

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Injured at the British F1 Grand Prix

Guess it was bound to happen, sadly my injury came early Friday morning, before the start of BGP. I twisted my foot and the weekend was ruined. Went to the Medical Centre twice, as the pain became excruciating. But I made the best of it. Luckily the IO allowed me to flag instead of working incident response as I was required to, it was interesting.

Definitely have some unfinished business in the UK.

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Fanatic: Motor Sport, Formula One, Grand Prix

I’m mere hours away from my first marshalling trip to Europe. Its after 3 o’clock, of course I can’t sleep. Probably shouldn’t have had that Red Bull energy drink a few hours ago, but at this point it doesn’t really matter. So I’m reading stuff on the Internets… F1 Fanatic blog to be precise, and I’m quite happy to find all the “how to become a marshal?” posts by Keith Collantine over the years. Why couldn’t I have searched for his web site back in 2005, I could have been doing this much longer, eh?! Why not 2010… Damn, I’m behind the times!

Check out these reader submitted articles:

Direct links:

It is good to read other people’s experiences volunteering. At least to me it’s more interesting than reading the many recent articles by professionals describing how important our contribution is to the sport… These stories have the power to inspire enthusiasts to get involved, or similarly discourage those that are probably better off buying a spectator ticket.

So that brings me to the next random thought of the night. As is illustrated above over the years of F1 fanatic’s coverage, most vocal marshal recruiters are those with few years experience under their belt… if that. Some have only completed a race or two on a “major” pro-scale. Others started marshalling when they were still in their mother’s bellies. heh! It begs the question, how come the veterans don’t blog about their experiences? Is it dangerous to air your thoughts to the public in fear of getting excluded from future pro events? I hope not.

And to close the ramblings, I’m fascinated with what I’m about to do!

Organized automobile racing has it’s roots in France. Folks used to race from city to city for a big prize – “Grand Prix?” A piece of history I had a chance to experience first hand when I visited my family in Clermont-Ferrand, the home of Michelin. They were kind enough to take me to a museum in Vichy which was a pretty special experience. But back to the history lesson. One of the first Grand Prix motor racing events took place in the early 1900 in Le Mans. The first World Championship of post-war Formula One took place at Silverstone in the UK.

Mind blown!

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Prix_motor_racing  &  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Formula_One

Perhaps the true reason I can’t sleep is the fact my TGV/Eurostar tickets still haven’t arrived and at this point it looks like they are well and truly lost. Wouldn’t be the first time my trip to Europe went completely sideways. Of course last time this happened, I ended up having the time of my life… showing up at a bus station and purchasing a ticket to any destination for the soonest departure – that trip took me to amazing Valencia for the first time. From there I flew to France… unplanned! Came back, went to Morocco for a few days, and then when there was no more shuttle buses left, I hired this little jem… a Smart fortwo with 8km on the clock, glass sunroof, and an adventure around Costa Blanca from Alicante to Benidorm and around Murcia, Spain. Whatever awaits in Le Mans and London will be another adventure!

If you happen to find other marshal written articles, please share in the comments below! I love to read them and share with other potential candidates to recruit into this hobby 😉

Accepted to the 2013 British F1 Grand Prix

“We would like to invite you to attend this year’s Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix in the capacity of Course/Incident Marshal” says the letter from the MSA – Motor Sport Association.

How wonderful?

So far the application process for British GP has been one of the most interesting ones I’ve taken part in. First you fill out a form to submit your candidacy. Then they publish a list of nominee’s that is made available to the public. After a decision is made who’s in and who’s out, they send the invitation  letters to which I’m to respond with my acceptance. Seems very British 🙂

But I’m looking forward to this event for sure. (especially if I can piggy back Le Mans onto the trip) This will be my first event in the UK, and first event at Silverstone.

http://www.msaevents.co.uk/

British F1 Grand Prix nomination

With all the bitching and moaning about how terribly the marshals are treated by the organizers at the British Grand Prix on the ten-tenths forum, I put my name forward to be considered. In the application process I ticked off both flag and track disciplines, and put forward both my SCCA membership and that I am part of the Singapore GP team. In fact Singapore GP is the one that provided the recommendation letter as is often accustomed to be considered for such an event.

So what happened?

British GP organizers, the MSA (Motor Sports Association United Kingdom) released the names of the nominations in PDF format on their web site:  http://www.msaevents.co.uk/bgpmarshals.php where I appear to be the only SCCA member to be listed as a nominee. Cool! Furthermore, it seems I’ve been assigned the incident/course role nomination which is the second of the two options that I ticked, since they’re often short on flag marshals I was hoping for that role; but it wasn’t meant to be.

According to the latest bitching and moaning on the forum there appears to be an abundance of track marshals and still a shortage of flag personnel. So it will be interesting to see if I get selected or not after all. Maybe powers that be dismiss my application altogether after reading this rant, though I was truly hoping to be a flag marshal at BGP especially if I could make a trip to Europe to do Le Mans and F1 back to back.

The decision will be made in late January.

2013 British F1 Grand Prix registration open

For anyone interested in marshalling the 2013 British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone, the registration process have just been opened. Unlike some other events this one seems pretty strict with the number of days one must satisfy on track to qualify as well as stringent licensing rules for marshals. But I’m sure it will be a fantastic venue and my application has just been lodged as a visiting international marshal.

More details about BGP marshals can be found on www.ten-tenths.com marshal forum.
Check out also the official Silverstone Circuit web site: www.silverstone.co.uk