July 15, 2014
A former F1 doctor speaks.
Gary Hartstein, the badass, cigar smoking doctor who was Formula One's Medical Delegate from 2005 to 2012, has been very much in the public eye in the first half of this year because of his frank, sometimes brutal, comments about Michael Schumacher's medical outlook after his skiing accident.
His articles on the subject were a respite from the tidal wave of non scientific drivel and misinformation printed about Schumacher and head injuries in both the mainstream media and in the tabloids.
Hartstein eventually got a quite a bit of flack for it, very unfairly in our opinion, mostly from those for whom the grim reality of scientific data did not fit a wish of a happy ending scenario for the German champion.
The Doc finally became fed up of being misquoted and stopped discussing it. But all that needed to be said, was.
This interview, part of the same ShakeFree series as the Derek Warwick clip you saw recently, was shot before that all happened.
Along with remembrances of Professor Watkins and speculations about what led to his dismissal by Jean Todt, there is a section where Hartstein talks about how F1, thanks to the application of scientific method has, since 1994, become very low on the list of dangerous sports.
No small irony ironic that one of its greatest champions, after twenty years in the sport, was so injured in a mundane activity.
Hartstein also makes the point that safety is never perfect and that while top tear single seater racing in now very safe, the greatest dangers lie in the minor formulas, semi pro, amateur and club racing.
We wonder if the doctor might be interested in the work of the Motorsport Safety Foundation, there is much more room for safety improvements and big returns on investments at the bottom end of the sport.
So light up a stogie and listen to this Former F1 Doc
(thanks to Mario Muth and ShakeFree)