afaqs!

How an adman turned fire marshal for Formula 1

By Nandana Das , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 02, 2011
Samraat Dash, a creative director with Euro RSCG took part in the recently-concluded F1 event in India as a fire marshal, where he was seen dousing the fire of Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

Ad men are known to be a passionate lot, and their passion is not necessarily restricted to advertising. Samraat Dash, creative director, Euro RSCG, was recently spotted at the Formula 1 (F1) event held in India, indulging his passion for fast cars. During his maiden stint as a fire marshal in the race, Dash was seen dousing the fire of F1 racer Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

Talking to afaqs! about his passion, Dash says, "Along with advertising, F1 is one of my abiding passions. Naturally, I have always been very fond of driving fast cars, and not particularly fond of the slower ones."

Of late, he has become a part of the motor racing fraternity. "I finished as second runners-up in the National Autocross Championship 2009, in the open modded class. Apart from this, I intend to take part in the Raid de Himalaya rally to be held in 2012." He even cherishes the memory of how he was a part of history when he went to watch the first F1 night race in Singapore in 2008.

Being familiar with his racing history, the motor racing fraternity invited him to be a part of India's first-ever F1 race. Dash chuckles, "One fine day, I got a call from Raj Kapoor, an official who headed the fire marshal team. As he knew me from before, he asked me whether I would like to be a part of his team as a fire marshal, representing the country. I agreed readily."

Not an easy task

Becoming a fire marshal, that too for the F1 race, was not an easy job. Dash had to go through a lot of rigorous training to become one. He had to attend week-long training programmes in the Buddh International Circuit in September and October.

He continues, "We stayed in the games village during the course of the race. The experience was very fruitful and rewarding. I got the opportunity to meet other fire marshals from across the globe, from various countries like Germany, the UK and Italy."

The D-Day

On the final day of the race, following a clash with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton's car, Massa's car slammed a kerb, which broke his car's front left suspension.

Dash continues, "When I saw smoke emitting from the back of his car as it slid into my Turn 12, I jumped into the race track with my fire extinguisher and pumped out the foam into the fire, extinguishing the flame in seconds, before Massa could actually stop his car."

A proud Dash adds, "Later, when I met Massa, he seemed pleasantly surprised with my reaction time as I was fast enough to put out the fire even before his Ferrari came to a halt."

Thanksgiving

Yes, being in advertising is a demanding job. Because of work pressure, it sometimes gets difficult to manage one's job and passions.

Giving a piece of advice, Dash says, "Juggling one's profession with other passions is not that difficult a job. Work hard -- then go to your boss when he is pleased with you, and ask for leave. Your boss will surely grant you your leave, which in turn, will can then help you follow your other passions."

Dash particularly wants to thank Satbir Singh, managing partner and chief creative officer, and Sushant Panda, managing partner and chief executive officer, Euro RSCG, for letting him pursue his dreams.

As a travel photographer, Dash also goes for photography expeditions across the country. The last such expedition was to Ladakh, he says.

"I will be back in the coming season. And, who knows, maybe I will get to put out the fire in Schumacher's Mercedes," he signs off.

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