International Rescue

International Rescue

Safety in Formula 1 is a team effort. AUTOSPORT's sister title F1 Racing meets the sport's new medical rescue coordinator, Dr Ian Roberts, and looks at the life-saving equipment aboard the AMG Mercedes medical car

The larger-than-life figure of Professor Sid Watkins casts a long shadow, as perhaps it should. In these more enlightened times it's hard to visualise the world inhabited by the likes of Jackie Stewart, who once awoke on the floor of a circuit medical centre, such as it was, to find it dirty and littered with cigarette ends. Medical coverage was patchy – Stewart took to bringing his own doctor after finding that the local medic at one race was actually a gynaecologist – right up until Bernie Ecclestone recruited Watkins at the end of the 1970s.

Post-Sid, we cling on to the romantic notion of the 'Formula 1 doctor', upon whom anyone in the paddock could call to resolve a medical complaint, but who also stood guard over the drivers in action, riding to the rescue, pausing only to stub out his cigar before rolling up his sleeves and administering life-saving treatment trackside. And yet things have changed; you won't find a humidor in the AMG Mercedes medical car, and its occupant isn't a flamboyant character, as in the past, but a qualified specialist with a specific remit.

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