There are many people behind the scenes that make sure that we can enjoy some great racing. One of them is Raz Al-Haddad. Raz and I are following each other for many years on social media and I thought it was time to have a chat with him about his work as a scrutineer so I’ve asked him 10 questions and he was kind enough to answer them.
“You’ve got to be a bit of a nerd”
Q1. To drop in, what’s life like as a scrutineer?
Q2. As a scrutineer, you get upclose and personal with different teams and their mechanics. What are a few things that make scrutineer the best job to do during a F1 weekend ?
Q3. Being a scrutineer, is that a volunteer job? And if so, how do you combine it with “normal life”?
Q4. Without mentioning what exactly, have you ever found something that wasn’t according the rules and what happens when you do find something?
Q5. As part of a fia appointed crew, do you work and play as a team throughout the weekend? I mean, are you all in the same hotel? Are the accommodations handled for all or do you have to arrange everything yourself?
Q6. Do you need to study to become a scrutineer? I can imagine you have to have a basic technical understanding of the cars you scrutinize.
Raz – Yes, you’ve got to be a bit of a nerd to know, but mainly it’s about making sure the teams are compliant in accordance to both the technical/sporting regulations. We usually receive a copy a week before as a bit of homework and have the particular session notes to hand during the session. Also we have a morning briefing with the FIA on each of the days, telling us what we should be focusing on.
Q7. Having been on different tracks, is there any difference per track regarding your work as a scrutineer? Workspace, people or otherwise.
“We have a morning briefing with the FIA, telling us what to focus on”
Q8. When your initial work is done and the race is on, what do you do? Are you able or allowed to go wherever you want? Pit lane, paddock, garages….
Raz – If you’re with an F1 team you stay with them in the garage during the race. If you’re doing F2, you can basically mope around, only place that’s off limits are the team hospitality suites as well as paddock club areas, but generally we’ve got free range.
Q9. As a scrutineer, you might think teams don’t always like you. But have you also made friendships with team staff, because some might think you can’t build friendships as it can be seen as becoming biased towards certain teams?
Q10. Final question. If anyone wants to become a scrutineer, where do they need to go to apply for it?
Raz – Apply with their local ASN as a volunteer, they’ll be given training, which they’ll have to attend. You’ll start off on the national smaller events until you’ve got enough competence to qualify for a full license, then you’ll be able to go to the big international events like Formula 1.