It’s an eight-month journey that takes you through different levels of emotion. The 2017 marshalling season hadn’t even finished, yet I was scrambling around counting the number of days marshalling I had completed and filling out forms to get my nomination submitted.
Job one was completed in November and my nomination accepted was in December. Now I had an agonising two month wait till February to see if I was given an invitation. By the end of January all kind of thoughts are going through my head; “Am I not good enough?”, “Maybe they have forgotten me?”, “Wait, did I forget to submit the form!”.
February comes and an email pings into my inbox and what can only be described as an explosion of excitement happened. British Grand Prix. Here. I. Come!
Whilst the wait to find out what post you’ve been allocated to is also a long one. You really tend not to care as all you know is that you are going to the Formula One. No graduation this year, like what happened last year when University conveniently placed on the Wednesday last year and certainly no lack of experience to be turned down, like in years of me being a white badge (Trainee marshal), as you have to be at least a green badge (track marshal) to apply.
Post 24: Becketts Outside – My post for the weekend!
As briefing commences you realise that this is actually happening. You are about to start four days of marshalling the F1. Your Incident Officer is talking about wearing ERS (Energy Recovery System) (Link to F1 site) for when you are dealing with the highly complex F1 cars and what to do when recovering one of the cars in the support races comes off whether that be an F2, GP3, Historic F1 or Porsche Super Cup car.
Here comes the sun
I’m not about to break into a rendition of The Beatles hit. I may leave that to Daniel Ricciardo who sang for everyone on Sunday after the racing.
Bring it back to the sun, the weather was hot. It was unpleasant and I’ll go into that in my ‘Behind the scenes’ article, but when I was out the overalls it was great. It allowed me to enjoy the rest of the experience the Grand Prix weekend has to offer.
The Fan Village had music on in the evenings to help people wind down from the relentless laps that had been put out on circuit. The sun also brought everyone out of their tents and caravans on the campsite meaning people were chatting and laughing sharing tales of old Grand Prix’s and plans for future ones.
And actually, there was a rendition of Here Comes the Sun on guitar by me, thankfully no one recorded it. Speaking of sound.
Sound as a pound
There aren’t many words that can describe the feeling of when you hear the first engines fire up on the Thursday. Even less words can be used when the engines that were fired up were the Historic Formula One cars.
The best mix of cars from the 70s and 80s were about to ring out around Silverstone and burst the ear drums of anyone brave enough to ditch the ear plugs or ear defenders to listen to the unrestricted noise of what F1 cars should sound like.
I say what F1 cars should sound like. The modern-day rocket ships that are piloted by 20 of the finest drivers in the world don’t make a bad noise either. Any marshal will struggle to admit that their inner seven-year-old doesn’t grin ear to ear when a F1 car comes past them at full speed. In fact, forget the inner child, I was grinning like a Cheshire cat from the word go.
For my first time marshalling an F1 race I was blown away by just how big the weekend really is. Yes, there is all the negative stuff that goes with it and there are things that happen behind the scenes that people may not see, which I will discuss in my next blog.
However, for me as a fan of motorsport and for someone who can’t get enough of what racing is all about I loved every minute of it. The race, the battles, the fight back, the history and the support races all made it one of the best weekends of motorsport I have ever had.
Would I do it again? Most definitely!
Now it’s time to go back to the top of the blog and go through the check list again!
Days noted down – Check.
Excitement for British GP 2019 – Loading.
Written By – Robert Lee
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