BEING responsible for safety in world motorsport is the role of a former Northwich firefighter.

Ian Dunbar is now employed as rescue specialist at the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. Effectively, if something goes wrong in the motorsport sphere, Dunbar is there to help fix it.

“I joined the fire service when I was 17, and I first got posted to Northwich in my early 20s. I actually had two spells at Northwich, one as a firefighter, one as a watch commander,” said Dunbar.

“I loved working at Northwich. I met my wife there, she’s a Barnton girl and now we’ve got two kids, it was great.

“I spent a couple of periods living there, you live on site to do the night cover – so I have fond memories of living and working in Northwich.”

After spells as a firefighter in Warrington and Widnes too, Dunbar started to specialise in special extrication and trauma within the fire service, volunteered and educated in the medical and technical rescue side.

It led to him being offered a job in the industry in Holland, working with emergency services and any organisation that deals with road traffic collisions.

“Initially I said no because no one leaves the fire service but I was doing that for six-and-a-half years. I went to more than 100 countries so that was a pretty cool job,” he said.

“As part of what I did in that job, I was approached by the FIA who were just starting a project on frontal head protection on Formula One cars.

“I did a little bit of work with the FIA then around the removal of the HALO (head protection) in the event of an accident. As a result of that I joined the rescue team who cover the British Car Racing Championship.

“By virtue of getting involved in motorsport in the UK, in 2017, when the FIA started to look for a rescue specialist, I had a look at it and it meant relocating back to the UK from Holland and it means moving to France anyway.

“We decided to just go for it. In 10 years I’ve gone from the fire service to working in motorsports which has been a fantastic journey and no one is more surprised than me.”

How would he reflect on the change?

“It’s incredible really,” he said.

“If there’s an incident in world motorsport, how we deal with it is my responsibility. Whether it’s Formula One, Formula E, World Endurance, World Rally, whatever it is, that’s my role and it’s been quite a 10 years.”