During this afternoon’s qualifying session for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix, it was noticed on the cameras a marshal leaning over the barriers on the section of track opposite the pit exit. Because of the traffic encountered on the 5.303km Albert Park circuit, the marshal was signaling to drivers approaching the pit exit about oncoming cars on hot laps. Just in the corner of the shot the marshal could be seen giving a thumbs-down or thumbs-up expression.
At the time I noticed the marshal, Bruno Senna was thundering down the main start/finish straight while a Virgin Racing driver (Lucas Di Grassi, I believe) slowed at the pit exit and waited for the Hispania to clear the area before opening the throttle once again and continuing.
At the end of each pitlane used by Formula One, there are a sequence of lights indicating to the driver if the pitlane is open (green), closed (red) and if there is a danger approaching the exit on the racing side of the lane (blue). However, it would appear that either these lights are out of visual range of the drivers as often is the case, or they are not adequate enough and the race officials feel more needs to be done when the circuit is congested.
Giving Lucas Di Grassi the thumbs-down.
Giving Lucas Di Grassi the thumbs-up.
In the hi-tech world of Formula One, where drivers are measured to a thousandth of a second (and even that isn’t enough sometimes), it’s good to see lo-tech solutions still being used. The pit board is still present, as is a marshal’s instruction with his left thumb.
Images © FOM/BBC.