International Marshals at the Australian GP

Thanks to the dedicated work by our friend Lynne Hunting during Australian GP we could all read the same newsletter that the local marshals get at the mustering tent in Melbourne each morning. And in the Thursday issue of the newsletter I came across an interesting statistic that Lynne is a part of herself:

source: Australian GP/CAMS/Lynne Hunting
source: Australian GP/CAMS/Lynne Huntting

Of the 930+ marshals participating in Melbourne over the four day weekend that we call the Australian F1 Grand Prix, 78 are visiting marshals from countries far and wide (and when it comes to Australia, pretty much everything is far and wide).

Granted, that when compared with the overall number of the marshals that figure isn’t even 10% but when you consider that in 2014 US F1 Grand Prix had only 200+ marshals, having an influx of 78 more people would give the struggling organizer a much needed boost! If only they could get their act together and actively recruit those visiting international marshals… hmm!

Who are the International visiting marshals in Australia? For the most part they are Singaporeans, just a little less than half of them in fact, and there’s a reason for that. CAMS trainers play an important role during the Singapore GP, historically providing senior marshals for guidance to the local post chiefs and sector marshals during the event. The Australian GP serves as a training ground for those Singaporean marshals wishing to take the next step in their careers to become “senior marshals” themselves in order to act as “post chiefs” or “sector marshals” back home in September. So that’s understandable.

The rest of the numbers are quite interesting.

Personally, I would be very curious to learn who that single Ukranian marshal is. And in what capacity do they participate back home in Ukraine? Or perhaps it’s an Ozzie marshal of Ukrainian background (much like people refer to me as an American marshal born and raised in Ukraine) that simply choose to identify themselves as Ukrainian even though for all practical purposes they’re Aussie.

It’s nice to see the number of Americans participating growing. A few years ago when I was volunteering there: Lynne, James and I were the only three “Americans” at the event. I’m glad more are taking the time to experience Australia and their F1 season opening event in Melbourne.

I am also quite surprised with some of the stats on the chart Lynne published. For example, only four (4) Kiwis. Now I could assure you that out of the 930+ marshals there are a lot more than 4 New Zealanders present, but with special work and travel visa arrangements between the two Commonwealth nations, many Kiwis call Australia home and therefore are not represented as visiting marshals from NZ. But with only 4 flying across the ditch to participate in the event, those numbers seem very low.

Similarly, there are 2 people from the UAE and none from Canada. I am surprised by that because I know many expats living in the UAE are avid F1 fans and marshal around the world including US, Singapore and Australia. So I wonder whether one of those UAE residents is actually a Canadian citizen, but the AGP considers them a visiting marshal from the UAE.

At any rate, it’s great to read all the important work Lynne Huntting publishes because it obviously provokes thought and sheds some light on the scores of marshals that love the sport so much they would travel half way around the world just to participate in this wonderful experience. Cheers to them!

Also kudos to CAMS: Confederation of Australian Motor Sport the organizer of volunteers for Australian GP, for this:

australian gp 2015 cams awesome marshalsNot only is the number of volunteers in the picture very impressive, and as I compared with the US version, it’s about five times the size of the volunteer base. (And yes I’m aware that a street circuit requires more personnel than a permanent circuit, the same scenario can be seen in Singapore GP (1,200 marshals) vs. Malaysian GP (330 marshals)). The organization went ahead and shared their appreciation on their social media page giving recognition and thanks to all those participants whether domestic or international visiting marshals. And that act is very respectable. In my three years of membership with the SCCA I have not once seen them do a similar act for a non-club event. And maybe they should? Of course they should!