The post-race celebrations after Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix took a bittersweet turn when it emerged that a trackside marshal had been killed after being struck by a mobile crane in the minutes following the race, which was emphatically won by Sebastian Vettel.
The 38-year-old marshal, whose name was not released at the time the FIA announced his death, was aiding in the return of Esteban Gutiérrez’s damaged Sauber after the chequered flag was flown at the end of the 70-lap race.
The mobile crane was moving the Mexican’s damaged car back to pit lane, and is was near pit exit where the marshal assisting in the recovery tripped while picking up his radio he’d dropped, falling under the wheels of the vehicle, much to the distress of the unsighted crane driver.
The marshal sustained significant injuries, and was quickly moved to the trackside medical centre before being airlifted to Montreal’s Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur. Despite the best efforts of both sites’ medical teams, he succumbed to his injuries later that evening.
His death marks the first fatality of a trackside worker in over 12 years. At the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, trackside marshal Graham Beveridge was killed when he was struck in the chest by a wheel that had parted company with Jacques Villeneuve’s car following a collision with Ralf Schumacher.
Just six months before at the Italian Grand Prix, track marshal Paolo Ghislimberti was killed after he was struck by a wheel from Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s Jordan, which was involved in a multi-car pile-up on the opening lap.
The RichardsF1.com team extends its deepest sympathies to the marshal’s family and colleagues.