April 1st
Buenos Aires Conference Room

Auditorium Pallady

Medicine Outside the Clinic: the Joys and Thrills of the Circuit

Motorsport is a mechanical sport, but it is a human one, too. Motorsport medicine challenges our expectations, as the doctors involved often witness unexpected collisions in real time, a phenomenon that is rarely encountered elsewhere. They face unpredictable environmental challenges, such as cold, water, fire, darkness, entrapment, nearby objects, and the public. They must think fast and they have a duty of care to spectators and staff, as well as the pressure of treating their patients while minimising delays to the race schedule. Doctors take on a high level of personal risk by working on the track. These factors make motorsport medicine different from medicine practiced inside a clinic. 

As Formula 1 aficionados, we are all too familiar with the joys and the dangers that come with the thrill of the sport. As such, it is no surprise that motorsport medicine has become an increasingly evolving subspecialty of medicine. It encompasses a unique body of knowledge and a skill set that is not currently available in other medical subspecialty training. Motorsports physicians have learned the discipline through “on the job” training and years of mentoring from some of the pioneers in motorsports medicine, just like Professor Gary Hartstein learned from his mentor and friend Sid Watkins. During his time as the FIA Formula One Medical Delegate, Professor Hartstein has been key in developing many of the FIA’s new approaches and policies in terms of medical safety.


Gary Hartstein

Professor Gary Hartstein is an anaesthesiologist and emergency physician with a passion for motorsport and combat sports. He is the former FIA Formula One Medical Delegate, Formula One Medical Rescue Coordinator and member of the FIA Institute Medical Faculty Steering Group. 

His career in motorsport began at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the renowned Belgian track, where he was a part of the local medical team attending races. Afterwards, he began working alongside Sid Watkins, who became his friend and mentor. For the next seven years, Hartstein and Watkins rode together in the medical car at most races.

Hartstein was also the chair of the FIA Institute’s Medical Training Working Group, which aims to standardize training and practices of motorsport doctors, based on the most up-to-date trauma training techniques. He was also behind the creation of the FIA Institute Faculty, which seeks to consolidate the expertise of motorsport doctors and medical staff around the world, on the model of professional associations. 

After retiring from Formula One, he went on to work as a Professor of Anaesthesiology and Emergency Medicine at the University Hospital of Liège, Belgium. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of ViaMedica International Healthcare in Abu Dhabi.