I’ve finally made it through my countdown and at the number one slot, and you’re probably scratching your head as to what could feature as the Race of Remembrance was in at number 2. I will admit it was hard to put that in second place, but the one that sits on the top of the pile was a great balance for what every marshal wants.
Every marshal wants the racing to be good, the event to be grand, the locations to be right, but above all else they want to be busy and my weekend marshalling the Formula-e in London was all of the above. To start with the location, how many times will you get to marshal a city circuit or marshal in London?
Well even though it was around Battersea Park I have managed to tick both off the list and it is a surreal, brilliant experience. Being in the city provides great post race entertainment, as you can wander off and find something to do, a bit different to the standard evenings of sitting at home playing The Sims (it’s a video game, don’t ask).
Back to the racing though, and close racing it was too. The entire Formula-e championship was decided on just a single point and even that was for the fastest lap. The racing was close and fast, and not just to the other competitors. Sam Bird got up close and personal with one of the concrete barriers in my section, but it didn’t stop him from setting a quick lap time.
Sometimes the racing got a little bit too close. I remember someone saying quite distinctly that the London e-prix had never had a multi-car crash, and yet there I was stood amongst the carnage of Antonio Felix da Costa and Simona de Silvestro’s crash. That was just the start of it; in the three days of racing we had three, yes three, multi-car collisions at just my post.
One of the crashes was a big one however, and one that everyone saw coming. The two drivers going for the championship and level on points, Lucas Di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi were lying astern on the grid and if neither finished, Di Grassi would be champion on count back. Naturally we all knew what was coming next, almost a carbon copy of Senna and Prost’s crash, but both somehow managed to carry on the race.
The debris that both cars left had us all scrambling around on post trying to pick up as much carbon fibre whilst the pack of cars was controlled under safety car conditions. The size of the crash was clear when I returned with a piece of debris, which was actually Buemi’s entire re-wing which I had retrieved from the straight between my post and the next.
A factor on post that makes an event very memorable is the people that you share the weekend with. Most times at marshalling you know everyone you’re on post with because you’re at your regular circuit, but Formula-e brings marshals together who have traveled from different tracks far and wide to be at this one event, so it makes the diversity huge and the stories and laughs you can share with each other ever lasting.
So what made the event even more special and even more grand? Well the location was certain the kick start for it, and then the fact that it is the fastest growing form of Motorsport around, a Formula which is attracting that many big names and teams that it will be one of the worlds leading Formula’s in the next few years.
Yet, I think it was the fact that there was an air of uncertainty as to whether or not the race would return to London for the next season, which made the event go out with a bit of a bang. One way or another the Formula-e event is certainly going to stick in my memory as one of the best events that I have been to as a marshal.
Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Twitter/Instagram)
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