26/05/2024

Unsung Heroes of Motorsport: Adrian Figallo

From the series of the Heroes Beyond the Track, we have the privilege of delving deeply into officiating with none other than Adrian Figallo. With a diverse portfolio of roles in motorsport, Adrian’s passion for the sport has propelled him into the heart of the action. From igniting his interest in motorsport to the not-so-easy officiating role, we gain invaluable insights into the challenges, and the dedication required to ensure the smooth execution of racing events.

Can you describe your role and the tasks you undertake in motorsport?

I fulfil a variety of roles within motorsport. Primarily, I serve as a steward, race director, and drifting judge. Additionally, I hold membership in both the officials commission and karting commission.

What sparked your interest in becoming involved in motorsport event management/officiating and how did you transition into your current position?

My passion for motorsport has been a driving force throughout my journey. It was ignited when I played a pivotal role in introducing drifting to the island. From there, my involvement deepened, leading me to transition into various aspects of general motorsport. Over the past decade or more, I have diligently pursued and completed all courses offered by the Malta Motorsport Federation, solidifying my commitment to this dynamic field.

What does a typical day or weekend look like for you when you’re working at a motorsport event, and how does your role contribute to the smooth running of the event?

Each day begins with an early wake-up call. Upon arrival, meticulous preparation is key as I ensure all necessary documents, computers, cameras, and equipment are properly set. Given the diverse nature of motorsport disciplines, specific preparations tailored to each event are imperative. By being thoroughly prepared and primed for action, I strive to facilitate a seamless and efficient operation.

Safety is paramount in motorsport. How do you ensure the safety of both competitors and spectators during races, and what specific protocols do you follow in your role?

Safety stands as the foremost priority in the realm of motorsport. Our commitment to safety begins long before the event day, encompassing site visits and the development of comprehensive safety plans. These plans serve as guiding principles during the event, ensuring strict adherence to safety protocols. A dedicated team of officials plays a crucial role in upholding safety standards, including scrutineers tasked with scrutinizing vehicle and driver safety, alongside other officials who oversee the setup of the track. Through rigorous safety measures, we prioritize the well-being of all participants and spectators alike.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an official, and how do you and your team overcome them while ensuring the event runs smoothly?

We often confront an array of challenges, some of which may be entirely novel and unexpected. In navigating these obstacles, proficiency and a strategic approach are paramount. Effective communication serves as a cornerstone in addressing and resolving these issues as they arise. By fostering open channels of communication among team members and drivers, we can swiftly adapt and implement solutions to ensure the smooth progression of events.

Could you share a memorable or particularly challenging experience you’ve had while working at a motorsport event, and how did you handle it?

Encountering diverse and unique situations is inherent to my role, but one of the most challenging scenarios involves dealing with young competitors who receive penalties and become visibly upset, sometimes even expressing a desire to discontinue racing. In such moments, I find it essential to provide guidance and support. I often invite them to the stewards’ room, where I offer reassurance, sitting with them and explaining the situation calmly. By encouraging them to persevere, stay focused, and learn from the experience, I aim to instil a positive outlook. Witnessing their transformation from distress to renewed determination, often marked by a smile and a high five, is a profoundly rewarding aspect of my role that remains etched in my memory.

What qualities do you believe are essential for someone to succeed as an official, and how do you cultivate and demonstrate these qualities in your role?

To excel as an official, a genuine passion for the sport is paramount. This drive fuels dedication and fosters a deep understanding of the intricacies involved. Equally essential is the commitment to impartiality and loyalty to the sport, as well as to the ASN and the rules it upholds. By embodying these principles, officials can maintain integrity, uphold fairness, and ensure the credibility of the sport they serve.

How do you coordinate with other officials, teams, and drivers to ensure the smooth running of an event, and what strategies do you employ to maintain effective communication and collaboration?

Continuous improvement in communication is a cornerstone of our approach, both among officials and with drivers. Through collaboration with organizations, we actively enhance these channels to ensure the seamless flow of information. Clear and effective communication is vital in conveying accurate messages, mitigating misunderstandings, and preventing mishaps during events. By prioritizing this aspect, we strive to maintain transparency, foster mutual understanding, and optimize the overall experience for all involved.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming a marshal or official, and what steps can they take to pursue a career in this field?

For those who has a genuine passion for motorsport and aspire to be closer to the action, pursuing a role as an official is an enriching opportunity. Taking the initiative to express interest can be a pivotal first step. Prospective officials can approach current officials, Federation, or committee members directly, conveying their eagerness to contribute. These channels serve as conduits through which aspirations are conveyed to entities like the Malta Motorsport Federation, which can then facilitate engagement and provide necessary guidance to interested individuals. By actively seeking involvement and seizing opportunities, aspiring officials can join a rewarding journey within the motorsport community.

In your opinion, what are the most significant changes or advancements in motorsport in recent years, and how have these impacted your role and responsibilities?

The evolution of motorsport events has been marked by significant advancements across various fronts. Notably, there has been a remarkable enhancement in event quality, evidenced by higher standards in organization and execution. Moreover, there has been a substantial elevation in the driving skill level of competitors, underscoring a commitment to excellence within the community. Equally noteworthy is the heightened awareness and understanding of safety protocols among both competitors and officials, contributing to a safer environment for all involved.

Undoubtedly, these advancements have positively impacted the roles of officials, streamlining operations and fostering a more conducive atmosphere for motorsport. However, there remains room for further improvement. Educating competitors about the intricacies of the sport’s rules and regulations, as well as the underlying principles of sportsmanship, is paramount. By enhancing awareness and adherence to sporting rules, we can cultivate a culture of integrity and fair play, thereby enriching the motorsport experience for all participants.

Motorsport events can be intense and high-pressure environments. How do you and your team manage stress and maintain focus during races, and what techniques do you use to keep a clear head under pressure?

Experience plays a crucial role in maintaining focus and managing pressure effectively, particularly in high-stakes environments such as karting events. During these intense moments, where instances and protests arise in rapid succession, the ability to remain composed and decisive becomes paramount. Despite facing constraints in resources, efficiency and keen attention to detail are indispensable qualities that enable officials to navigate challenges swiftly and make informed decisions promptly.

Following the races, the demands on officials persist as they dedicate additional hours to wrap up documentation and address rulings. This post-event process underscores the meticulousness and dedication required to ensure that all aspects of the event are meticulously attended to, even after the last race has concluded. Officials uphold the integrity of the sport and contribute to the seamless execution of events, even in the face of demanding circumstances.

What do you love most about being involved in motorsport as an official, and what motivates you to continue working in this field?

One of the most rewarding aspects of my involvement in motorsport is witnessing the continuous growth and development of the sport itself, as well as the progression of our drivers from a young age. Observing their journey, from early beginnings to achieving notable milestones, both locally and overseas, fills me with immense pride.

Providing our drivers with the best possible experiences at the local level is crucial in preparing them for the challenges they may encounter when competing internationally. By offering them opportunities to improve their skills and gain valuable insights into the dynamics of overseas competitions, we equip them with the tools they need to excel on a global stage. Supporting our drivers in their career is not only fulfilling but also contributes to the overall advancement of motorsport.

How do you see the future of motorsport evolving in the coming years, and what potential innovations or developments do you anticipate in your role?

The dynamic nature of motorsport ensures that it is in a constant state of evolution. As officials, we benefit from the continual advancement of technology, which equips us with an array of new tools and resources to enhance our decision-making processes. With access to a wealth of data and innovative technologies, such as digital information platforms, our investigations become more precise and efficient.

The ongoing evolution of technology empowers us to glean deeper insights and make more informed decisions, ultimately contributing to the integrity and fairness of the sport. By adopting these advancements, we can adapt to the ever-changing landscape of motorsport and uphold the highest standards of professionalism and accuracy in our roles as officials.

Are there any specific regulations or protocols that you think need more attention or improvement in the motorsport industry, and how do you advocate for these changes in your position?

Ensuring alignment with international rules and regulations is paramount for the continued growth and competitiveness of motorsport. Personally, I advocate for the adoption of international standards in their entirety, as this promotes consistency and fairness across all levels of competition. While there may be instances where local realities necessitate slight modifications to regulations, the overarching goal should always be to adhere closely to global standards.

By adopting international rules, we not only provide drivers with the best possible platform for competition but also prepare them for potential opportunities on International basis. It is essential for drivers to understand and comply with these regulations comprehensively, as doing so not only enhances their own competitiveness but also ensures the integrity of the sport as a whole.

While prioritizing the interests of drivers and seeking to minimize costs are important considerations, they should not compromise the adherence to international standards. Ultimately, a commitment to upholding these regulations benefits the motorsport community by fostering a level playing field and opening doors to broader opportunities for drivers in the future.

Can you share any behind-the-scenes insights or anecdotes that fans might find interesting about motorsport, and what aspects of your role do you think are often overlooked or underappreciated?

The intricacies of our work as officials often go unnoticed by many. Before arriving at any decision, we deeply analyze a plethora of details and evidence, often delving into footage from various camera angles and engaging in discussions with technical delegates and scrutineers. Summoning drivers for clarification when necessary is also a crucial part of our process.

All of this unfolds behind the scenes, amidst continuous communication among team members, as we strive to reach fair and just conclusions. It’s only when individuals witness firsthand the depth of our analysis and the thoroughness of our decision-making process that they begin to appreciate the significance of our roles.

By shedding light on the behind-the-scenes efforts and the level of scrutiny applied to every aspect of the sport, we hope to garner greater recognition and respect for the vital contributions made by officials to ensure the integrity and fairness of motorsport competitions.

Lastly, what message would you like to convey to motorsport enthusiasts about the importance of the work done by marshals and officials, and how can fans support and appreciate the efforts of event management teams?

To all motorsport drivers, I extend a heartfelt encouragement to keep pushing the boundaries of your passion. It’s important to remember that without officials and marshals, the thrill of motorsport wouldn’t be possible. Your dedication to the sport inspires us all.

For enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves further into the world of motorsport, I urge you to consider taking the next step and becoming marshals or officials. Your involvement not only brings you closer to the action but also plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth and safe execution of events.

Lastly, to drivers, teams, friends, and families, I want to express that officials and marshals don’t seek grand gestures of appreciation. A genuine show of gratitude for our efforts is all it takes to lift our spirits and reaffirm the value of our contributions to the motorsport community.

Unsung Heroes of Motorsport: Adrian Figallo

Zack Scicluna Off to Zuera in Spain

Unsung Heroes of Motorsport: Adrian Figallo

Ayrton Jon Tonna Competing in the Second

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