Vettel and fellow F1 drivers lead tributes to dead marshal

10 June, 2013

The yet as unnamed marshal is seen here (right with orange cap) shortly before the tragic incident claimed his life

The yet as unnamed marshal is seen here (right with orange cap) shortly before the tragic incident  that claimed his life

Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel has led other drivers in paying tribute to a Canadian Grand Prix marshal who died after being run over by a mobile crane during Sunday’s race in Montreal.

“The work of marshals is not always seen, but it is vital to our sport and without their commitment, time and dedication, there would be no motorsport,” Red Bull’s race winner said on his website on Monday.

“I am very, very sad to hear this news and my thoughts are with his family and friends,” added the German.

The marshal, as yet unnamed, died in hospital from injuries sustained while removing the Sauber of Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez, who crashed out seven laps from the end of the race.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that the track worker had dropped his radio and attempted to pick it up. In doing so, he stumbled and was hit and run over by the recovery vehicle.

The marshal was the third to die at a grand prix since the turn of the century but the first since Graham Beveridge was killed by a loose tyre that flew through a gap in the safety fence at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.

Esteban Gutierrez retires from the race

Esteban Gutierrez retires from the race

Italian fire marshal Paolo Ghislimberti died when he was hit by a wheel at the 2000 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, prompting a review of safety at race tracks and the introduction of improved measures to protect circuit workers.

Every Formula 1 ticket carries a warning that motorsport is dangerous but the fact that it had been more than a decade since the last fatality, despite marshals performing some of the riskiest roles, is partly as a result of ongoing efforts to improve safety.

The last driver fatality at a race weekend was Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994.

“My dearest condolences to the family of the marshal who lost his life today, our prayers for him & his family. RIP,” Gutierrez wrote on his Twitter account.

“Shocked & saddened by the news that a marshal who is there to keep us safe has lost his life during our race today. Rest in peace my friend,” said McLaren’s Jenson Button, winner at this circuit in 2011.

Esteban Gutierrez's car is craned away as the dying marshal is treated in the background

Esteban Gutierrez’s car is craned away as the dying marshal is treated in the background

“Today there is nothing to celebrate. Terrible news arrive with the death of a marshal this race. Very sad. R.I.P,” added Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, the double world champion who was runner-up to Vettel on Sunday.

While the marshal’s death appeared to be a ‘freak’ accident, there has long been concern about the use of such cranes while the race is still going on – but more from the point of view of driver safety.

FIA president Jean Todt, “I would like to share my profound sadness, and that of the whole FIA community, following the tragic death of the circuit worker, who was working as a volunteer marshal at the Canadian Grand Prix. My thoughts, and those of the FIA members, are with the worker’s family and friends and we all wish to extend our sincerest condolences, as well as our support, in these most tragic of circumstances.”

“This tragedy has affected us deeply, and the whole of motor sport is profoundly touched by it. In volunteering to be a marshal, he had made the choice to give his time, his knowledge and passion in the service of motor sport. All over the world, it is men and women like him who make possible the organisation of motor sport events. Without these thousands of volunteers who give their all selflessly, motor sport would simply not get off the starting line. I and the FIA want to share with each and every one of the pain resulting from this death, a hurt that unites us all today,” added the statement. (Reuters & Apex)

Subbed by AJN.


  • Edwin

    Accident or Not
    Carelessness or Mistake
    As swift as a Lightning
    Darkness and Sorrow fall on a happy family.
    A living person becomes a dead person
    A radio……. a crane……… a life ended suddenly
    I pray to the Almighty God, Jesus Christ and Angels to be
    with the family in grievance.
    Amen

  • Brian

    Noticed some other H&S infringements by marshalls. Did anyone else see the lady marshall with the rad dreadlock weaves just waiting to get caught in a moving piece of machinery? Sad

  • Apex Assassin

    This poor guy made have had the proper experience and training to be a marshall, but a first year apprentice knows better saftey around any heavy machinery.

    Unfortunately, I saw enough of it to say, he was on the wrong side of the machine (crane-boom side) and wasn’t within eye-contact of the operator, which is rule #1 around heavy equipment. He never should have been on that side of the machine in the first place. Sad to have a totally avoidable tragedy and for what? A radio?

    Also, I’m going to say this, because it needs to be said:

    As bad as I feel for the marshall’s friends and family and their loss, that poor operator must feel terrible, even though from what I saw the operator couldn’t see what happened personally. Really shocked there isn’t a designated Saftey Watch (coordinator) for all heavy equipment that is in direct contact with the operator, or if there is one, why the system failed. This SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN!

  • fools

    I agree with Apex…

    Where is the controller? I have worked around very heavy equipment and the first lesson is… if your cant see the driver the driver/operator cannot see you.

    But yes…where was the Safety Coordinator who observes/manages the matter?

  • michaelmacarthurinMaine

    condolences to the family of the marshall.

    Now, will someone please give all of these guys Ground Guide training. If you can’t see the guys (one in front and one in the rear) directing your movements, you stop the vehicle. Learned that along time ago when driving tracked vehicles in the Army.
    Again
    my condolences.

  • michaelmacarthurinMaine

    sorry guys, I just got on here. didn’t mean to repeat your comments on the lack of controllers.

  • shibby

    Brian, YES when is saw that (first thought it w

  • shibby

    was a beanie), I immediately said to my brother that this couldn’t be true! It’s asking for trouble. I hope the FIA at leasts supports the family to give the man a decent funeral, because dying nowadays costs more than living (I experienced it myself when my mom passed away last year from cancer). It’s easy to do the PR shit. I hope they give him an hommage on Raceday and not during one of the previous days (to limit the tv exposure, knowing FIA). I guess seb will honor him via his helmet, if he does he is even a greater personality than he is a sportsman and racing driver. (coming from a ferrari fan who is dissapointed about his contract prolongation at Red Bull)

  • shibby

    Edwin, very nice poetic words. Apex, agree 100%, this should never happen. Still can’t get Martin brundle’s words out of my mind, it feels so awkward like predicted it. All the strenght to the family, R.I.P. Mark

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