Motorsport

Safety In Formula 1

In 2005, Dr. Ceccarelli, as team doctor of the Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula 1 team, saw that during private Formula 1 tests, many circuits had grave shortcomings in terms of safety. With the support of Jarno Trulli, Dr. Ceccarelli brought the matter to the attention of the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers’ Association) where Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard as well as Jarno Trulli, gave Dr. Ceccarelli’s views serious consideration and urged him to continue his investigations and authorized him to go and investigate the various circuits on their behalf.
A depressing and very worrying picture emerged as it was seen that some circuits were completely inadequate in terms of resources, personnel, and medical equipment. His disquieting report prompted the drivers to express their concerns to their team managers and at the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix Dr. Ceccarelli was invited to attend a meeting of all the Formula 1 team managers. Faced with Dr. Ceccarelli’s disturbing reports describing serious flaws observed during some of the Formula 1 tests, the team managers commissioned Dr. Ceccarelli to organize a medical team to be present at every test on behalf of the teams. The Formula 1 testing at Monza following the Hungarian Grand prix would be a test case and if the teams were satisfied they would consider the possibility of continuing the relationship into the future.

Dr. Ceccarelli attended the Monza test with his colleague, Dr. Dido Zoppi, a specialist in Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, and for three days they examined every detail including the medical center, ambulances, fire vehicles, medical cars, trackside marshals and radio communication systems. At the end of the test all the drivers and team managers were sent a comprehensive report including photos and detailed descriptions of all features relating to safety, giving the team managers new insights into aspects of safety that they had not previously considered. As a result of the positive feedback from the teams and drivers, Formula Medicine was invited to provide a doctor and paramedic for all Formula 1 tests starting from 2006 and continuing to the present day.
This department, called Formula Medicine Safety, is supervised by Dr. Ceccarelli and has been managed since its inception by Dr. Andrea Nicolini, a specialist in Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, and current director of the emergency services in Versilia, Tuscany. Since 2006 Formula Medicine has participated in 88 tests at 15 different circuits, with the participation of 10 doctors and 6 paramedics from Formula Medicine and all highly qualified to deal with emergencies.