For the third time this year, Barbados made motor sport history at the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend (November 9). After staging the first Top Gear Festival in the Americas in May and Bushy Park’s successful bid to become the first permanent circuit to host the Race Of Champions next month, Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) President Andrew Mallalieu became the first FIA Formula 1 Steward from the English-speaking Caribbean.
  Mallalieu’s appointment is the culmination of more than 25 years in motor sport administration; a former member of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Committee of Management and Club Treasurer, he became the FIA delegate for the BRC in 1994 and subsequently founding President of the BMF in 2000.
  He was selected by FIA President Jean Todt to become an FIA Steward in 2010, attending F1 events including the Canadian GP at Montreal, the British GP at Silverstone and the Spanish GP in Valencia as a trainee over the next two years. Elected to the FIA Rallies Commission representing North America and the Caribbean in 2011 - and re-elected every year since – he has also been a Steward at rounds of the World Rally Championship and GP2 Championship.
  Mallalieu said: “This was my first time as an FIA Steward at F1, although I have attended as a trainee, and I am proud to have achieved another ‘first’ for motor sport in Barbados. This work not only furthers the country’s image on the international stage, but has also put me in touch with many people around the world who promote motor sport, which has played its part in us securing Top Gear Festival and Race Of Champions”.
  The Panel of four Stewards at each Grand Prix comprises a Chairman, FIA Steward, National Steward and Driver Steward. At Sao Paulo last weekend, Mallalieu officiated alongside Chairman Garry Connelly of Australia, Spain’s Silvia Bellot and Brazilian former IndyCar racer Felipe Giaffone, who stepped in at short notice as Driver Steward, replacing Emanuele Pirro, who was forced to cancel his trip for personal reasons.
  Brazil did not produce many incidents on which the Stewards needed to deliberate, but a race weekend is nevertheless busy, starting with a track walk on Thursday morning with FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting, his Deputy Herbie Blash and the local Clerk of the Course. Mallalieu, who also now attends the annual meetings of F1 Stewards where rules and conventions are discussed, explains: “We walk with the circuit plan and look at safety points and other areas of interest, including the entry to and exit from the pits. We are primarily concerned with safety.”
  At a further meeting with Whiting on Thursday afternoon, the Stewards deal with any outstanding issues from the previous race and consider any special items for the current venue – Brazil had a new pit entry, for instance, which warranted some discussion. Thursday also includes the Team Managers meeting, chaired by Whiting and attended by the Stewards, after which they sign the entry list – Mallalieu: “As there were two teams short, we had to modify the qualifying procedure to drop from 18 in Q1 to 14 in Q2, then to 10 for final qualifying.”
  On Friday, after an early start, much of the day is spent monitoring F1 practice: “We are always in the Stewards Room when the track is live. On Fridays, the only penalties we normally see would be for speeding in the pit lane, unsafe releases, and impeding on the track . . . but we are fairly loose on Friday, as the teams are just trying to figure out the track. This year Brazil had been completely repaved, so tyre wear was uncertain.”
  The Stewards then attend the Drivers’ Meeting on Friday evening, again chaired by Whiting, to listen to drivers’ views on incidents from the previous race - “There was lots to discuss from Austin”, said Mallalieu – and any safety issues for the current race.
  After Saturday morning’s third practice, it is time for Qualifying. Mallalieu: “Once we get to Q1, it is a lot more busy. Impeding a driver and pit stops are critical. There were no problems this year, although we did look at two releases that were potentially unsafe. We then wait for the technical checks before we sign the grid for the next day. There were some grid place penalties for changing components left over from Austin, but nothing significant, and one driver elected to start from the pits.”
  On Sunday, the Stewards enjoy a more relaxed start, with a grid walk around half-an-hour before the race starts – 2.00pm in Brazil last Sunday – before returning to the Stewards Room, which they will not leave for the duration of the race. The Stewards Room is in direct contact with Race Director Whiting, who reports infractions for investigation and possible penalties.
  The Stewards can see and hear everything that happens during the race, as Mallalieu explains: “On one large screen, we have the world feed, the same as fans are watching on TV at home. A second screen is controlled by an operator from Reidel, the media people from FOM, with a number of options. We generally keep the map of the track with relative positions of each car and the flags that are displayed, also the timing screen with positions and split times.
  “We can follow individual drivers from their cameras and listen in on all comms between pit and driver. We also each have an iPad, with seven different screens that allow us to follow individual drivers, compare any two, look at tyre usage and lap times by tyre by sector, along with all the notes from the Race Director to the teams.
  “Most often, we have nothing to do but, when there is an incident, we can look at it from every angle, from every car, and with all the telemetry from every car. This year we had two speeding offences only, which the fans would have seen as five-second penalties. We did look at one passing area, but took no action. Once the race is over, we await the technical sign-off and then confirm the results.”
Editor’s note: affiliated to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which rules the sport worldwide, the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) is the island’s governing body for motor sport; it also represents the interests of its member Clubs in discussions with Government departments which facilitate the sport in the island, in particular the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, which permits road closures for an agreed number of events each year. Away from motor sport, the BMF affiliate which answers the FIA Mobility remit is the Barbados Automobile Association (BAA), which is an executive committee member of the Government’s Barbados Road Safety Council.
For further information, please contact:
BMF President Andrew Mallalieu: e-mail: