Guy Martin is hanging up his motorcycle racing leathers (and truck mechanic overalls) this weekend – to don a set of Williams Martini Racing F1 fireproofs and join its pit crew for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Martin has already reportedly visited the Williams F1 HQ in Grove, Oxfordshire, to be drilled on the tasks he’s set to undertake: it seems being in an F1 pit crew is far from just attending to the racers during pit stops.
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The team says Martin’s jobs will start before the race weekend even begins. First, he will help the car crew build up the Williams FW40 racing car from its various disassembled pieces stored in the team’s trucks. Then, he’ll join the team for Friday’s two 90-minute practice sessions, another hour’s practice on Saturday, before the three-stage qualifying session.
Martin will also take part in the race itself, looking after drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll’s cars. It’s not yet clear what Martin’s duties will be during the pitstops, but the team has already underlined the pressure he’ll be under: it currently holds the record for the fastest F1 pitstop of 2017, with an amazing 2.02-second turnaround during the British Grand Prix.
Williams adds that Martin will also have to hang around at the end of the race. Stripping the cars, taking down the garage and packing everything into the trucks takes “at least” 10 hours once the chequered flag has been waved.
“Guy will, of course, stay to the end.”
Martin has had a dramatic racing season so far in 2017, with a nasty crash during the Isle of Man TT leading to his withdrawal from the event and, in turn, him stepping down from the Honda Racing team. It was even suggested he may retire from motorcycle racing completely, but Martin has since clarified that he only meant stepping down from road racing.
“Racing’s been good to me, but I’m bored of it,” he said. Being an F1 mechanic is a new challenge we’re certain to hear more about during this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix…