F1 2013

Formula One’s new guardian angel

The FIA today appointed Dr Ian Roberts, a consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, as the chief Formula One medical officer in place of the deposed Gary Hartstein whose contract expired in December without renewal.

Dr Gary Harstein was instrumental in saving Felipe Massa's life after the Brazilian's horrifying 2009 Hungaroring smash.

Dr Gary Harstein was instrumental in saving Felipe Massa’s life after the Brazilian’s horrifying 2009 Hungaroring smash.

Dr Roberts has previously served as Chief Medical Officer for Silverstone during the British Grand Prix and takes the reins of his new job on the eve of the memorial service for former post holder Sid Watkins OBE who passed away in September last year following a heart attack. Watkins, or ‘Prof’ as he was affectionately known, had been in the position for 26 years after his appointment by Bernie Ecclestone to curb the excessive fatality rate in Formula One during the 1970’s.

Dr Roberts duties will include his new role as head of the FIA Safety and Medical delegation, head of the Formula One on-track medical team and first responder in the case of a serious accident.

“I’ve always been a big motorsport fan and I’ve been working at Silverstone for 15 years,” Dr Roberts has been quoted as saying.

“I started out as a trackside doctor and gradually worked my way up to working in the fast medical cars before becoming deputy chief medical officer eight years ago and chief medical officer five years ago…It’s very challenging but also extremely rewarding.”

Dr Ian Roberts will begin his new duties for the first time at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on the 17th March.

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