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Staying off the track under a yellow flag for drivers and marshals

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hcisneros's picture
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June 21, 2014
Staying off the track under a yellow flag for drivers and marshals

And this is why marshals and drivers should not walk the track during a yellow flag until the entire field is behind the safety car! However, if it's a local yellow, when can you exit the vehicle or walk the track? You have to wait for the double yellow and for ALL the cars to be behind the pace car. 

 

racerb's picture
racerb
June 30, 2014

I agree with your statement to a degree, for example a spin in to a gravel trap, but what if there is a serious, potentially life threatening situation....as workers we take our safety very seriously and are trained to examine situations and determine the potential risk involved in a response. The biggest question I ask myself, is there anything I can do to make the situation better? If so, how can I position myself and my partner to minimize our exposure to get the situation under control? It is a very complicated analysis I personally go through in a matter of seconds. If I don't feel comfortable, I don't do it....simple....we also tell race control what we want, I am not afraid to tell them to shut it down and get the field under control. For workers the order of safety is ourselves, the driver thenthe car.

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EddieTheHead
July 10, 2014

Henry, problem is this is the 24 hour of Nurbergring. I suppose they do full course yellows but I doubt it happens often.. most of the incidents are handled under a local. Sometimes I will go on a hot course or cross a hot course due to the situation. You can't say drivers should wait for x.. or do y because the situations on a race course are fluid and can vary greatly if you are doing a regional... or if it's a pro race. What about the driver respecting the big local yellows? I watched day 1 of qualifying and I can you tell you those marshals are good.. those flags are VERY visible. We have to trust drivers will see a waved yellow and not drive like jackasses. This is the reason why more and more tracks are leery about us going out and handling situations... because the drivers just rip through waving yellows.

hcisneros's picture
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July 10, 2014

Yes, I think the Nurburgring is the exception. I think its the exception to everything usually! Its such a monster that rules just cant apply as designed. My point is more focused on 1) a driver that has a crash and is OK, the car is disabled and not in danger of fire etc. These drivers should stay in the car and not get out. In the process of getting out, you are leaving the safety of your roll cage in an uncontrolled environment. You see this example all the time in F1. As soon as F1 drivers crash, they immediately unbuckle and walk out without any regard to the other cars wizzing by. 2) The other was for marshals and safety workers. If the situation is not life threatening for the driver, wait for the other cars to be controlled. You never know.

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EddieTheHead
July 10, 2014

Sometimes we don't know.. I was working turn 7 at Road Atlanta a couple of years for the ARRC. During the Pro-IT practice a Honda Civic ITC car had what I call the twitch of death at turn 6, that's when you turn in.. it twitches and doesn't grab immediately but when it does grab.. it's pointed at the wall. We didn't have anyone over there because it was a Friday and we are a bit light on staffing. This was a hard impact (sure all of 50-60 MPH even in an ITC), drivers corner... I had to go. I found a hole and got across. If a driver is in the middle of nowhere it can be tough to get to the car or see in that he is ok. That's where looking over your situation and determining best course of action comes into play. Am I against a wall or in the middle of a field. Are the conditions crap.. have I just blown my motor, did I slide in someones elses oil who blew their motor, etc. Pro races are a much different story since it's rare to be short marshals at a pro event. I know at turn 5 at Petit I have 2 drivers right in the esses for flagging, 2 drivers left, 2 at 5Alpha at the top of the hill and several with me at the radio box along with safety for gravel trap coverage and workers from 4 who are also across track and can help with an incident in the esses. We won't have this coverage for many club weekends so the drivers have to be flexible enough to adjust, in some cases them climbing out of the car and giving us a thumbs up is the only way we know the situation is squared away.

hcisneros's picture
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August 18, 2014

This discussion is a bit more relevant today unfortunately due to the horrible accident that happened specifically because of exiting a car without the field under control. Lets hope there is widespread reform...

MetalMedic's picture
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August 25, 2014

Works for me.. if you are willing to do away with local yellows and loose time while awaiting the field to get caught up to the safety car on a long road course... and next you will have "pass-around" cars to worry about, and eventually you will get a "lucky-dog"... be careful what you wish for.

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