Monday 8 July 2013

The Perils of the pit lane.

Right, I've seen now the incident that put a camera man in hospital at the German grand prix ( ). And felt sick. As a marshal who's worked and also filmed in pits, not pleasant. But it does highlight a few things. 

Firstly, always try and keep an eye up the pit lane or have someone else to do it for you (Overdrive nearly always works in teams of 2 for this reason). 

Secondly, wheels are bloody dangerous - and that one was going relatively slowly! imagine what would have happened at race speeds...

As for this article in Autosport ( , Le Mans style helmets and overalls are only part of the answer, The wheel hit the camera man in the back, so some sort of back protection? Where do you stop? You'd end up operating in suits of armour! And even then the wheel would have flattened him with inevitable injuries.

Thinking as a director, I personally think that if shots from the pit lane are nessasary (and they usually are) then you should at least have a spotter with the operator who can double on sound and hoik the guy out of trouble (Someone dressed similar to the operator was seen bouncing away but may have been from the team). But then you've got an extra person in the pits to get hit by something or get in the way so it's not ideal. Do you need an operator at all? Could you rig some sort of remote system - Unlikely really as only a human operator can get right into the thick of the action without impeding the escape for the mechanics (or anyone else for that matter) too much. Come to that, why was the operator there in the first place, he seemed to be standing around the Mercdes (?) mechanics. No doubt he wanted a shot of Webber's car and the Lotus that the team were setting up to recieve leaving at high speeds - could that shot have not been achieved well in towards the working lane, or even from the pit wall? I would think twice about getting so close to the inner lane!

Generally speaking though, do the teams really need that many people in the pits? Sure 2 second pit stops are very exciting part of the action, but if there were a few less people there to change the wheels, visibility up the pit lane would be improved at the expense of fractionaly longer pit stops. In Indycars the cars have air-jacks in them, so by using that system you could lose one of the mechanics at least.

There's so much to think of, but these are my thoughts. Would especially welcome the thoughts from fellow marshals or filming types who may be reading this. 

... As I wrote that - this story appeared :