When watching the race in the circuit or on TV, it can confirm the staff wearing an orange coverall who wave the flag at the observation post or removing the stopped racing car at the side of the course. They are called ”Race Officials”, and it is essential to conduct the race safely and fairly.
There are various sections (roles) on race officials as well as course marshall in charge of flags. Each section is an essential to operate the race safely. Race director manages the all sections, and control the race operation safely and fairly.
They are assigned at a hut (observation post) beside the course, and wave flags to the racing cars, monitor the contact between cars and monitor violations such as overtaking in the yellow flag zone.
They are also responsible for waving chequered flag to signal the end of the session. The observation post is connected to the race control via telephone and radio, and they report the various accident and events on the course. Course officials are often called “Course marshals”
Rescues remove stopped cars from the course during the race. If yellow flag is waved for a long time, it affects the deployment of the race. So it is required the quick work. It is a very important role to rescue injured driver and extinguishes vehicle fires.
Pit, Grid, Padock
They monitor the car that exceed the speed limit in the pit lane, and induce the cars to enter the course safely and on schedule before the start of the race. At the start of the race, they monitor the jump start as a start umpire.
Before and after the race, they check that the racing cars are made correctly according to the technical regulations. It does not have enough time to check all items according to the regulations. Therefore, they check only simple items such as measurement of the car weight and minimum ground clearance etc. If it is necessary, they may dismantle the car and check. Technical is also responsible for monitoring violations during pit work and marking tires using during the race.
They are responsible for creating race results. At present, information such as lap time and number of laps are automatically measured by a transponder attached to the racing cars and a measuring device embedded in the course, but in consideration of when the system stopped due to the trouble etc., during the race, they record the information such as the number of laps manually. After the race, they create a race results immediately.
They respond to enrollment applications and inquiries from entrants (teams and drivers), sometimes, be responsible for dealing with the complaints. On the day of the race, they accept participants and distribute transponders for time measurement, and arrange the driver’s briefing before the race. The secretariat also distributes the race results created by the timekeepers.
Race stewards conduct course inspection before the race to operate the race safely. They confirm that the number and location of the course officials and rescue officials located at various places of the course are properly arranged, and flags are waving easy-to-see.
During the course inspection, flags are waved at the observation posts, the course officials are lined up on the side of the course, and thumb up when car of the race steward pass.
Course inspections are often conducted early in the morning, before the first session, so you can see it in the early morning at the circuit.
At Suzuka Circuit during Formula 1 and the Twin Ring Motegi during MotoGP, course marshals are famous for performing during the course inspection.
This is one of the few scenes where the race officials take the lead on the circuit.
Become a Race Official
Race officials are not staff of the circuit, but they are basically volunteers who only work during races. Each has its own main business and gathers when the race is held. Anyone who loves motor racing, has a desire to become a race official and gets a license can start as a race official.
Race officials may watch the racing cars closer on the side of the course where the spectators cannot enter, and sometimes have a conversation with the racing drivers. I cannot stop being a motorsport enthusiast because it can participate deeply in the motorsports.
But it is an activity from early in the morning to late at night and it can hardly take breaks, so it is not physically easy. Obviously, it must do the best the given work responsibly.
If it loves motorsports and it does not have the desire to want to support the motorsports, it cannot continue for a long time. In addition, it welcomes anyone who can participate as a race official on small races such as local championship, so it is not suitable for those who want to participate only big races such as Formula 1 and SUPER GT.
It is thought that the person who live near the circuit are participating as race official, but some people are at a distance of more than 200 to 300 km from the circuit. There are also many people who activities as race official at multiple circuit. In addition, some people travel to circuits around the country. Motorsports is supported by these people.