Sir, I am writing in response to the numerous articles in the Press since the tragic death of Roger Williamson at Zandvoort.
Firstly, praise must be given to David Purley. But it must be pointed out that the current recommendations given to marshals are first to extinguish the fire and then to release the trapped driver under medical supervision if necessary. This is to ensure that the risk to the driver is minimised.
Secondly, the use of fire-proof suits. Whilst it is very desirable for fire marshals to wear fire-proof overalls such as those worn by drivers, these are not really necessary. Covering the body with clothes made from nonflammable fabric such as cotton or wool, wearing gloves and stout shoes and preferably a helmet with visor and face mask, is quite sufficient to get within 10 feet of a large fire, at which range fire extinguishers are effective. As already stated, the first aim is to put out the fire, therefore the personnel who will subsequently release the trapped driver may wear less fire-resistant clothing.
Thirdly, there have been a lot of rumours about proposals to use fast cars and motorcycles with sidecars equipped with fire extinguishers. These seem rather excessive. By using thoroughly trained personnel placed at close intervals around the circuit, the desired speed may be achieved. The use of fire tenders as back-up vehicles is to be recommended. The accidents at the British Grand Prix demonstrated the effectiveness of this method.
Finally, vast sums have been spent on improving circuits and the cars themselves. Surely the time is now right for money to be channelled to marshals for more training.
PRO, British Motor Racing Marshals Club.