The FIA has moved to avoid a repeat of the kind of accident that led to the death of Formula 1 marshal Mark Robinson at the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix.
F1 safety delegate Charlie Whiting, speaking while giving the annual Watkins Lecture run by the Motorsport Safety Fund, revealed that advice will be given to race organisers to improve marshal safety.
Robinson died after tripping and falling under the wheels of a mobile crane while the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez was recovered after the finish of the 2013 Canadian GP, with Quebec’s commission for the healthy and safety of workers blaming a series of safety errors. Key to the accident was the fact that Robinson and a colleague were moving directly in front of the mobile crane holding tethers that were stabilising the car while it was being craned back to the pits.
“The accident in Canada was dreadfully unfortunate,” said Whiting. “Things will change in that respect.
“Since that accident, we have briefed everyone to, if you are using one of those JCB-like vehicles to lift a car, you should never walk in front of it. It kind of stands to reason.
“The Brazilian ASN has a system which will attach two ropes to the car to hold it level [while being recovered] and it stops it twisting so you don’t need people to stabilize it. We are trying to make everyone aware of this sort of system in order to minimize the amount of people needed to recover a car. That is the key to it.”
Whiting highlighted the fact that Canada is not unique in having had marshals moving in front of a mobile crane, citing the 2013 Korean GP as just one example of such circumstances.
It is hoped that as a result of Robinson’s death, race officials take steps to avoiding putting marshals in the position where they could have a similar accident.
“When you look at Korea when they recovered Mark Webber’s car [after it caught fire after being collected by Adrian Sutil’s Force India], you can see the tractor coming and there are four marshals in front of it. And they are running, which is ridiculous really.”