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Formula One and Volunteers

NEWS STORY
11/06/2013

These events could not exist without these volunteers, and for their time and effort we are all grateful. These (extra)ordinary men and women (above) risk their lives, and sometimes lose them, for the sport they and we love.

For local meetings, amateur events, SCCA races, vintage events, and others offering little or no prize money, not paying marshals is understandable. But for big-time racing, be it World Touring Car, World Endurance Championship, and certainly Formula One, with all of the money involved, not paying these men and women who are indispensable to the event is preposterous. Marshalls go through lengthy training, have to buy all of their own equipment, make their own travel arrangements, pay for their own accommodation, all for no pay.

As with many things, just because we’ve done it this way for a long time, does not make it right. Would it make sense to have Premier League matches refereed by volunteers? The officials for the Super Bowl culled from local amateur leagues? Umpires for the World Series chosen from local Little Leagues? I think most fans, especially those betting on the games, might possibly object.

It is past time for this modest proposal. Each team in Formula One, World Endurance Championship, and World Touring Cars needs to contribute 1% of its annual budget to a fund that will be divided among the marshals at each event, and a separate 1% put in a fund for medical expenses for injured marshals, funeral expense and money for the widows, widowers, and children, of marshals who might be killed in the line of duty.

This is long overdue and should take little time to implement. Various finance companies are involved in sponsorships of all major series, so there is already a company involved that could administer the funds. It would also be good public relations for the sport, showing they give more than lip service to the debt they owe these men and women. I’m sure any driver who has been helped from a crashed, sometimes burning, car would agree, which, at some time or another, is pretty much all of them.

Jim Casey
jim.casey@pitpass.com

To check out previous features from Jim, click here

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