As human beings we pride ourselves on being more intelligent than the rest of the animal kingdom. We use out intellect to work around or through problems instead of being reactive to a disaster. Of course, there are many examples of man doing just this, but it is Formula One that looks to break that trend.
In the wake of an error in the pit stop of Mark Webber at the German GP 2013, new procedures were brought in to ensure the safety of those who are working in this live environment.
For those who do not recall it well, the Red Bull team sent the Aussie on his way from a pit stop without all the wheels attached properly to his wagon. As a result, the right-rear wheel was sent bouncing down the pit lane after the lap 8 stop. The ensuing impact of a tyre and an unsuspecting cameraman, Paul Allen, further down the road evoked a range of emotions and opinions.
Some said motorsport is dangerous and these kind of problems are just part of the parcel, though their voices were soon muted. Others lamented the lack of protective clothing offered to those working and insisted a solution needed to be found.
The FIA reacted to the events at the Nurburgring by bringing in sudden changes which are detailed in this previous article.
An extract from it reads “everyone must now wear helmets if they are working on the car at anytime they are present in the pit lane and official FOM TV crew must film from afar on the pit wall.”
These extreme measures have since been relaxed and the cameramen are once more, seemingly, in danger.
— Javi Catalá (@JaviCatala) June 7, 2015
As was suggested around Twitter by many who have viewed and digested the tweet, there are many simple measures that could be taken.
The cameraman should not be left exposed without any other ‘eyes and ears’, so a simple buddy system who accompanies the worker recording the images would in many respects suffice. Others have suggested more bright or standout clothing, away from the dull grey which the FOM cameras dress in.
Whatever your opinion is on the matter, one thing is for certain; to make the same mistakes over and over, failing to learn from errors of the past is total madness.
If we wait for the disaster to happen, then the leadership is failing to follow the principals of being the superior species and instead reacting to issues in a knee jerk fashion. As Darwin noted, the theory of evolution works on the survival of the fittest, which adapted to scenarios that arose – so maybe it’s time the sport started to act like the ‘fittest.’