Formula 1 will have a new chief medical delegate next year, after the FIA decided it wouldn’t renew the contract of the series’ long-standing chief medico, Dr Gary Harstein.
The American took over from the late Professor Sid Watkins as F1’s chief medical official after the veteran Scot elected to hang up his stethoscope at the end of the 2004 season.
He’s participated at every Grand Prix since, and has also been a leading figure in developing new medical safety procedures for the FIA in his role as the head of the FIA Institute’s Medical Training Working Group.
In announcing the decision not to renew his contract beyond the end of this season, the FIA said that it was yet to decide who will be offered Harstein’s role for next year and beyond. In addition it gave no explanation for the reasons behind Harstein’s sacking.
Harstein – one of the few senior figures who is active on social media – took to Twitter to announce the decision, and was particularly gracious in doing so.
“Have just been informed that president of the FIA and president of FIA medical commission have decided not to renew my Formula 1 contract,” he wrote.
“[I’m] not sure about the ‘whys’ of the decision, but [it’s] not down to me to know. Brazil will therefore be my 247th and last Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“It’s been a life changing experience and something I’ll never forget.”
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