Mar­shal law

Evo India - - Motor Sport - Words: Kar­tik Chaturvedi

The thrill of be­ing the only In­dian to of­fi­ci­ate at the first mod­ern-day Rus­sian F1 Grand Prix

MAR­SHALLING OR race of­fi­ci­at­ing may come across as an easy job; how­ever that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth, in terms of the level of pre­ci­sion re­quired and the risk in­volved. Mar­shals are in­dis­pens­able at any mo­tor­sport event, re­gard­less of the scale, which per­haps ex­plains why they are called the un­sung he­roes of mo­tor­sport. Thank­less as the job may be, the mar­shals are re­quired to work in uni­son and in per­fect ac­cord like a well-oiled ma­chine. Ev­ery mar­shal has his/her set of op­er­a­tions to per­form. Mar­shals per­form an ar­ray of jobs, rang­ing from pit and grid, pad­dock, scru­ti­n­is­ing, re­cov­ery, fire, flag, med­i­cal and track and they must be pre­pared for any even­tu­al­ity their job may throw at them dur­ing the course of the race.

Hav­ing of­fi­ci­ated at 11 For­mula 1 Grands Prix – span­ning five coun­tries and two con­ti­nents – I was in­vited to be a part of the First Rus­sian GP. Get­ting here though hadn’t been easy, it in­volved a year’s plan­ning (that’s right, of­fi­cials have to plan th­ese things a year in ad­vance). First or­der of business; get­ting in touch with the right peo­ple. This is gen­er­ally the tough­est nut to crack and in­volves a lot of shots in the dark. Even­tu­ally, how­ever, I came across a per­son who was from the “Rus­sian Au­to­mo­bile Fed­er­a­tion”. After a few months of cor­re­spon­dence (which in­volved shar­ing my cre­den­tials and ex­pe­ri­ence de­tails), I re­ceived an email re­quest­ing a fi­nal con­fir­ma­tion as to whether I was still in­ter­ested or not. Nat­u­rally the an­swer was a re­sound­ing “yes”.

Once ev­ery­thing was in or­der, my bags were packed and I was on the first flight out from Delhi to Sochi, to be a part of the first ever Rus­sian GP. The only In­dian of­fi­cial in the Rus­sian GP and the only for­eign race of­fi­cial in the scru­ti­neer­ing depart­ment, the sheer mag­ni­tude of the re­spon­si­bil­ity awarded to me was start­ing to set in. Land­ing in Sochi, I re­alised that it’s more of a re­sort state with beau­ti­ful weather and icy moun­tains in the back­ground (hav­ing pre­vi­ously hosted the Win­ter Olympics).

The fresh smell of a vir­gin track still lin­gered in the air on Wed­nes­day, a nice feel­ing for some­one like me. The track is carved around the ex­ist­ing sta­di­ums of the Olympic Games, mak­ing for a pris­tine back­drop. The start-fin­ish straight along with turn 2 is the long­est in­te­grated straight at Sochi with speeds in ex­cess of 300kmph. Turns 3, 4 and 5 run along the main Olympic sta­dium fol­lowed by a very tight cor­ner with nearly 3-5 lat­eral G-forces, this in­te­grated cor­ner had a re­sem­blance to the BIC’s turns 10, 11 and 12. The rest of the track is a free flow­ing mix of tech­ni­cal sec­tions. Ru­mours in the pad­dock hinted at a pos­si­ble twi­light race in fu­ture. The BIC and the Sochi Au­to­drom are almost in­com­pa­ra­ble as both are tech­ni­cally unique. Where the BIC is more tech­ni­cal with its el­e­va­tion changes; Sochi Au­to­drom is more about hard cor­ner­ing.

One of the big­gest hur­dles was the lan­guage bar­rier; English speak­ers are few and far in be­tween. To counter the deficit, I had brushed up on some be­gin­ner level Rus­sian. Thurs­day

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