Rob trackside with some friends.

Rob D’Elsini is as passionate as they come about for Formula 1 and motorsport, so when the opportunity to marshal arose in 1992 – he jumped at the chance.

The Melbourne man, originally from the United Kingdom, considers himself a superfan of the sport, attending every Australian race with his son, Jack, but there was a time when he was involved in the show itself.

Rob spoke to the team at Getting a Grip F1 podcast about his experience trackside over many years.

Rob working with the cars.

Before he became a flagbearer, Rob was being wowed by the talents of the drivers who took on a very wet 1988 British Grand Prix.

“Nigel Mansell came second and it was one of those races where Williams had a reactive suspension that was really faulty and the car kept on breaking down, and then they change the car overnight, and Mansell thought he was going to last for three laps and he ended up coming in second. It was from that moment – it was the crowd; it was the atmosphere,” he said.

“Nigel Mansell was a great showman, especially for the British fan. And just even though it poured with rain, it was just that kind of atmosphere and noise and the smells.”


For Rob, his opportunity as a marshal all started from taking trips to Brands Hatch circuit in the UK.

“I started going to Brands Hatch, which is about an hour and a half drive from my house. You see these guys by the side of the track, and you think yeah, I want to be part of that. So suddenly I was actually at Brands Hatch,” he continued.

It wasn’t straight to the side of the track, but it didn’t stop his first event to be any less exciting.

“My first event was the Formula Ford Festival. It was just manic – you will have 50 Formula Fords racing for the prestigious championship. It was so long ago that it was Russell Ingram who was one of the young up and comers in Formula Ford who is now well retired in V8 supercars.”

From there Rob’s career took off, where he started marshalling for one of the biggest circuits in the world.

“Then my career kind of evolved from there and sort of getting into Grand Prix racing and suddenly I was at the Grand Prix at Silverstone. I just absolutely loved it, to be part of the action and be there up close it was just amazing,” he told Getting A Grip F1.

When asked about a career highlight, Rob couldn’t go past the experience within the paddock.

“it was really just the experience of the friends that you make… you know I met one of my best friends there and they are still in England – he’s my best mate and I met him at Silverstone. So that kind of experience, you know, the friendships that you build and stuff like that on there and just doing the Grand Prix and the noise and the cars.” Rob said.

Rob retired from his role as a marshal in 2000 and now spectates with his son Jack.

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