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The human side of Formula 1
The human side of Formula 1
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Jun 2010   |  3:16 pm GMT  |  35 comments

Chris Mays died last week. His name probably doesn’t mean much to you, but he was in the pit crew at Williams and more recently Honda. He had an accident a few years ago on a motorbike in Thailand and was in a vegetative state ever since.

But the story of how the F1 community rallied round for him and his family at the time of his accident is a good example of the human side of the sport.

The drivers were very generous; most of them donated a signed item of memorabilia to raise funds. Michael Schumacher gave a set of signed Ferrari overalls which raised £21,000, many gave helmets, race boots and overalls and in total the drivers gear raised £70,000.

Jackie Stewart’s Grand Prix Mechanics Trust, of which I am a trustee, helped to repatriate him and set him up in care, a total spend of around £40,000.

The money gave him a high quality of care and will provide for his children for the future.

Chris’ funeral will take place on Wednesday.

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I knew Chris and shared many happy times through our teenage years hanging out and tinkering on scooters and old cars, he travelled a lot as a young man and was very optimistic and lived life to the full. The most vivid memory of Chris was his huge constant smile, he clearly made an impact on his collegues at F1 also. We miss him and I am honoured to have been his friend, rest peacefully Chris


A good insight…let us thinking how many parts of a pilot’s caracter we don’t know.

Maw Chris rest in peace


R.I.P Chris,

Finally your family can rest knowing you are no longer in pain and are free from your constraints following your accident.

Thoughts to Chris’s family at this time.


Grateful to see the family of F1 being reported on, although in this instance not the best news.

Please keep stories such as Chris’s news and other behind the scenes activity coming. We F1 fans enjoy more than just the racing and politics.



Very sad to hear about Chris, but it’s good to hear that the F1 community takes care of their own and sticks together.

Thank you for reporting this James. The human side should be touched upon more.


James-thanks for letting us know about this. These guys as individuals each bring a part of their genius to making F1 the brilliant sport it is today.


Rest In Peace Chris … I must confess that I did not know about his accident. However, it is very nice to know that, despite the high level of competition within F1 and the competitive nature of F1 race drivers, when something like this happens, all gather together in aid of the needed within the community. And rightly so, that’s how it should be!


Thank you for sharing a brief history of his life, and for providing a small window into the real life of the circus.


Wow, thanks for letting us know about this James. It is always good to see F1 and it’s entourage being touched and helping their own. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.


Really touching story, may his soul rest in peace and thanks James and others for helping the unsung heroes of F1.

I wouldn’t want to belittle the contribution from the drivers, but still I would expect them to at least donate a days earnings each for someone who works so close to them (this was a voluntary standard practice in a factory that I worked in India when there were even non work related tragedies).


How become the drivers gave no money?


Thanks for sharing that James – sad story, but good to hear the positive side of it.


good to show the under the rug stuff and shows schumi is not a hard nosed bstard as people seem to think, shame this has the lowest postings on all your blog. hope his family remember him as a legend


RIP Chris – Thoughts are with family and friends.


Very touching, great to read people being nice to others. Proud to be an F1 fan!!!!


Very very sad news. Thanks for a great insight James.


R.I.P Chris Mays. My sincere condolences to his family.


A nice post, James, no matter it’s sad. My thougts are with Chris’ family. May he rest in peace. Good to know that there’s people of good will inside the Circus.


James thankyou,very sad to hear,often we fail to recognise life outside our own,and even more so in the world of F1,i see people die often, but it never gets easier.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends.


Very sad, but very nice story. Well done to all involved. RIP Chris.


Very sad news, but I’m afraid I do not accept “The drivers were very generous”. In my mind the racing public were generous.

I do not know what the average salery paid to the drivers is, but the top guys reportedly earn millions. In that context, a signed helmet, gloves or whatever is hardly what I would call generous.

The money that was raised appears to have been paid by the public!

I for one am fed-up with hearing how much some celebrities “do” for charity, when they do not “give” in the same proportion as the long-suffering members of the public who give up

their hard earned cash.

In proportion, the £70,000 rasied could have been matched by the drivers without batting an eyelid!


I’ll second that.


R.I.P Chris Mays. My sincere condolences to his family.


Its good to know the human side of the sport. Apart from Senna, which other driver pays some attention to real humanity issues like health, education, poverty and peace in places like South America, Africa, Middle East, Some Centra European countries and Asia?


A poignant reminder of how F1 is not about glitz and glamour the whole time. Thanks for posting this James, I appreciate the brevity of it as well, as it speaks volumes about not wishing to be self indulgent, particularly at a sensitive time like this for Mr Mays and his family.



RIP Chris. Excellent gesture from the drivers and F1 community. Wish this only spreads further not only within the F1 community but beyond.

Vivek Krishna A

Sad to hear that. But moments like these bring out the real ‘me’ inside every person. And the F1 fraternity have shown immense humanity and support to him and his family.

Let God be with his family. God Bless!

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