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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

What goes on inside Method 1’s race management room

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F1’s race management was thrust into everybody’s front room in 2021, when then-race director Michael Masi determined it was a good suggestion to air his communications to the TV viewers. Following his departure forward of the 2022 season, race management reverted to its {old}, and moderately secretive self.

Courtesy of Method 1’s official companion Rolex, Autosport bought some unique entry on the Miami Grand Prix. Behind a really ordinary-looking door – as we stroll in earlier than Free Apply 1 begins, FIA driver steward Vitantonio Liuzzi is on the cellphone and offers us a cheery wave – lies the hub of the race weekend.

It’s a sizeable windowless room, with over 30 individuals assigned roles, sitting at three rows of desks. These in the direction of the entrance of the room are locals, assigned roles by the FIA’s US car competitors committee ACCUS, who will even carry out the identical roles in Austin’s Circuit of the Americas or on the Las Vegas avenue race.

The very first thing that strikes you as noticeable is that it’s very quiet past some brief chattering into headsets – no person is speaking a lot on to the particular person subsequent to them. The opposite is the excessive variety of girls within the room, in all probability a 50/50 gender cut up.

The vast majority of the FIA workers sit behind the room, with an elevated view above everybody in entrance of them and the large video wall that just about spans the entrance of the room.

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“They’ve the seats which can be furthest again for the perfect view of what all people else is seeing, in order that they’ll form of oversee all the info,” says Roman De Lauw, the FIA’s F1 communications officer, who’s our information to who’s who and what all of them do.

FIA race management screens

Photograph by: Rolex / James Moy

The good blue desks at which they’re sat, that are stacked with electrical communications tools, are transported together with the FIA’s different equipment – comparable to weighbridge scales and the protection vehicles – to every of the races. This ensures the methods are the identical at each race, and every has a myriad choice of buttons and a set of video screens.

On the far finish of the row is the video analyst, and in the direction of the center is the race director, Niels Wittich – who sits subsequent to the native clerk of the course (in Miami that is Paul Waiter) and his deputies. They’re all in direct contact in order that any incidents could be shortly reviewed and any actions – comparable to a referral to the stewards or security automobile choices – could be made.

Our information explains: “When the race director asks for one thing that he hasn’t seen reside on display screen, or that he needs to see a replay or an onboard, or if he needs to see if there is a piece of particles on observe someplace, then he’ll ask the video analyst who will discover that and play it for him.”

Whereas the race director takes care of the sporting aspect, working the race to the FIA rulebook, the clerk of the course is liable for what bodily occurs on the observe.

“The clerk of the course and his assistants are those who know the observe inside out, they have been collaborating when the observe was constructed, in order that they know the exit roads and the place the marshals posts are, etcetera.

“Mainly, the race director is involved with the people who find themselves on the desk right here and the clerk of the course, and they’re those who might be giving out the orders of what to do on the observe.”

Sat to the opposite aspect of the race director is the woman who offers straight with the protection automobile, who offers the ‘standby’ or ‘deploy’ orders – and he or she additionally retains the motive force updated with the place the chief is at. “The security automobile is an FIA property and we’re straight involved with the motive force, so we try this half ourselves straight,” De Lauw explains.

Subsequent to the video analyst is the race management messaging system operator, who works with the usual messaging system that informs groups (by way of web page three of the timing screens) of any actions or evaluations.

Subsequent to her is the sporting director and race management analysts, and their job is to be in direct contact with the groups. He provides: “They’re all involved straight on comms, immediately, to allow them to focus on issues, after which the opposite two individuals with him are those who might be coping with the groups and their requests.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

Photograph by: Erik Junius

“So, if a workforce has made a grievance such as you hear on the published, ‘We expect our driver has been hit by one other driver at this flip – may you take a look at it?’ or ‘We have been impeded throughout qualifying’. Then, mainly, the race director will get these messages via the analyst, after which the video analyst can discover the second, clip it up, and present him.”

We then take a better have a look at the race director’s desk, whereas not attempting to get too near hassle anybody.

“The video analyst’s display screen is replicated right here in order that at any time when the race director asks for one thing, then he can see it straight,” factors out De Lauw. “He can see reside what the man is doing, in order that’s fairly handy.”

Having bought a superb eyeful of the advanced messaging system, which covers the observe’s standing with any flags clearly indicated, from over the shoulder of the particular race director as vehicles start to line up on the finish of the pitlane, we instantly really feel our keep right here has been out welcomed.

“Let’s simply stand to the aspect there, so we do not disturb them now,” suggests De Lauw. “You may have seen that on their desk that they’ll form of dial into anybody actually that they wish to via radio contact. And so they’ve all bought iPads to be sure that they’ll additionally see the reside timing and extra screens if they should double examine one thing on the rules.”

Any order given by the race director comparable to yellow, double yellow, security automobile (or digital) or purple flags are made like this, and actioned by the clerk of the course by way of his people who find themselves involved with the marshals’ posts.

We get an instance of the method, because the clock ticks in the direction of the observe hour, because the clerk of the course’s assistant is busy speaking into his headset whereas urgent a collection of buttons.

Cars line up in the pit lane

Automobiles line up within the pit lane

Photograph by: Rolex / James Moy

“He is at present chatting with marshals and ensuring they’re all in place earlier than the session begins,” says De Lauw. “Additionally, for instance, if we begin a restoration of a car that stopped on the observe and we have to ship a crane, or if we ship marshals on to the observe to gather some particles, then these guys could be those who have been involved with marshals across the observe.”

On one other row of desks is the FIA’s medical crew analysts, who’ve entry to any knowledge that’s despatched out by the drivers’ biometric gloves, which displays their coronary heart charge, or accelerometers to measure g-force of impacts, that are positioned within the drivers’ earplugs.

“Each time there’s a big effect, it’ll mechanically set off an alert on his display screen,” says De Lauw. “And he’ll straight know the way dangerous the impression is and the place on observe it’s.

“We have now an accelerometer within the automobile however having one contained in the helmet is even higher by way of measuring it for medical functions. The measurements are sometimes totally different, as a result of the physique additionally absorbs a few of the impression, moderately than the automobile, which is basically stiff and does not soak up a lot.”

The medical workforce can thus alert the race director if there’s an emergency with a driver, and whether or not the protection automobile and medical automobile have to be deployed.

He provides: “If the medical automobile must be deployed, on a few of the tracks we have got some shortcuts that they’ll take to be there faster, and the medical groups additionally know the place all the ambulances are unfold out on the observe. We even have extrication groups on observe in case a driver is caught in his automobile and he can’t extract himself straight.

“They have groups in place in order that they’ll take away the drivers outdoors of the automobile, they’ll minimize the halo ought to they should.”

Race action at the Miami GP

Race motion on the Miami GP

Photograph by: Rolex / James Moy

In addition to the well being of the drivers, the standing of every automobile’s hybrid system can also be monitored intently right here in case of a mechanical failure that will result in marshals recovering the automobile: “Considered one of them has it on his display screen always, however we even have somebody straight on comes from our technical workforce as a result of we have now cases the place, for instance, if the automobile utterly shuts down then the ERS mild is not seen anymore, so it is nonetheless vital that he is aware of what was the most recent standing of the automobile earlier than it utterly broke down.”

One other row of desks is devoted to the timing of occasions, to make sure that the assembly is working to its preordained schedule, or if it does get delayed that everybody is aware of and is appearing accordingly.

What helps is having the ability to see each millimeter of the observe on the large display screen, so in addition to the TV feed that you simply watch at dwelling, I counted not less than 25 CCTV cameras masking the observe. These are cut up into rows of 5, in order Kevin Magnussen’s Haas leaves the Miami GP pitlane on his set up lap in FP1, you possibly can watch him drive across the observe from many angles. And the timing screens are additionally completely on show right here.

“Up to now, we had loads of small screens,” says De Lauw. “Now we are inclined to have a large display screen divided into small screens the place you possibly can see all the things.

“And when you want one thing particular, the race director asks, ‘I wish to see this flip and this angle’ or ‘I need see drivers’ proper at flip seven to examine for particles’. After which we have got entry to all of the onboard cameras of the drivers and the helicopter digital camera, which all obtainable on the FIA desks.”

Miami GP marshals remove the damaged car of Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, from the circuit

Miami GP marshals take away the broken automobile of Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, from the circuit

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

As we go away race management, De Lauw factors out the race stewards’ room throughout the hallway, which Liuzzi has vanished into now the session has began. Apparently it’s smaller room however with the identical entry to all of the video screens.

There, Liuzzi sits alongside Nish Shetty, the chief FIA steward this weekend, Andrew Mallalieu (president of the Barbados federation) and Dennis Dean (the nationwide steward). That is the place choices are made if the race director has referred an incident on observe.

“The video analyst clips the incident up and sends it to the stewards,” he provides. “That’s all of the digital camera angles, together with onboard and possibly even helicopter, and the telemetry from the vehicles, the radio messages from the groups. They will see all the things to offer a penalty or declare no additional motion, or they’ll determine to talk to the drivers or to the workforce afterwards after the session.”

With the session now in full swing, our time has come to maneuver on and go to the FIA’s personal pit storage, the place we see the weighbridge used to scrutineer all of the F1 vehicles (there may be additionally a second one within the pitlane that’s utilized in reside periods). Subsequent door is the storage for the protection and medical vehicles, and – as Bernd Maylander is in his normal cheery temper – I get him to take my photograph on the wheel of his stationary Mercedes-AMG GT Black Collection!

Bernd Maylander in action in the Safety Car

Bernd Maylander in motion within the Security Automotive

Photograph by: Alexander Trienitz

Having advised him the place we’ve simply been, he regales a narrative of being in race management when a severe accident occurred in free observe – which is his down time, as the protection automobile isn’t required after observe checks have been made.

“It was an enormous crash, very spectacular,” he recollects. “The driving force was completely advantageous however it was a type of massive ones the place you suppose at first, ‘is he OK?’

“The response in race management was wonderful – very calm, zero fuss, simply everybody doing their jobs to react to the state of affairs. It was very spectacular, so skilled.”

And that’s what race management is all about: staying in management and making certain all the things runs because it ought to to the letter of the principles.

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