INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 30, 2018 – Longtime Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Henry Bock, a pioneer in motorsports safety and medical treatment, died May 26 in Indianapolis. He was 81.
Bock, an emergency medicine specialist at IU Health Methodist Hospital and Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, served as senior director of medical services at IMS from 1982-2006 and in the same role for INDYCAR since its inaugural race in 1996 through the end of the 2006 season.
Bock also worked as a consultant for IMS and INDYCAR after his retirement from both organizations.
“Dr. Henry Bock was one of the great leaders in safety for everyone involved in motorsports – drivers, crew members and spectators,” said Tony George, chairman of the board of Hulman & Company, Hulman Motorsports and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“His work saved many lives and helped to form the standard for care today, and his selfless dedication to safety and innovation will influence the sport he loved for a very long time.”
Bock was a familiar, trusted specialist to every driver who was cared for at the infield medical center at IMS and at IndyCar Series events throughout the United States. He also worked tirelessly to promote motorsports safety, producing revolutionary advancements in treatment of injured drivers and helping to create state-of-the-art medical facilities at racetracks across North America.
Perhaps the greatest of Bock’s numerous contributions was his work on the development of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier, one of the most revolutionary safety advances in motorsports history, which debuted in 2002 at IMS.
Bock began his motorsports medicine career in 1966 when he was a medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine. After graduation from IU in 1968, he served as a medical provider/consultant to the production crew of the motion picture “Winning,” starring Paul Newman and with scenes filmed at IMS.
In 1970, Bock joined the emergency medical staff at Methodist Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. He was instrumental in establishing the LifeLine Air Medical Transport Service at Methodist in 1979.
In the late 1970s, Bock travelled with the United States Auto Club’s Champ Car safety team as an on-track physician and served as an assistant to IMS Medical Director Dr. Thomas Hanna, before succeeding his mentor in 1982.
Bock was a longtime member of the International Council of Motorsports Sciences, an organization of medical professional and scientists dedicated to improving injury prevention and promotion of safety in the motorsports industry.
Bock was recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for his contribution to emergency medical services and was named as the 1998 Indy Racing League Achievement Award winner for his outstanding contributions to driver safety and the success of the series.
In 1999, Bock was recognized with the Safety Award from the Championship Drivers Association. In 2004, he received the Herb Porter Award for his contribution to the development of the SAFER Barrier.
Bock also received the Sagamore of the Wabash distinction from Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon in 2000, a top civilian honor given in the state of Indiana.
Bock is survived by a brother, Bob, and a sister, Marianne.
It’s hard to believe that the French Grand Prix, the oldest grand prix event on the planet, as it dates back to June of 1906, was ever removed from the Formula 1 calendar.
Alas, not since 2008 at Magny-Cours has Formula 1 held a race on French soil. Yet, that all changes this weekend, as Formula 1 visits the Circuit Paul Ricard for its first French race in a decade.
Formula 1 teams are not strangers to Paul Ricard. It has been a popular testing facility for years, as evidenced by the below photo from 2016, featuring Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari in a wet tire test.
However, in terms of racing, Paul Ricard has also been absent from the calendar for quite a long time – the last time Formula 1 race at Paul Ricard was in 1990. Alain Prost won for Ferrari that day.
As such, despite being a known quantity as a testing facility, how a race weekend will shake out is anybody’s guess.
And what’s more, it marks the beginning of three consecutive race weekends – The French Grand Prix, The Austrian Grand Prix, and The British Grand Prix – which F1 teams and drivers are calling “the triple header.”
Talking points ahead of the French Grand Prix are below.
A Journey Into the Unknown?
Like all new venues, or resurrected and refurbished ones in this case, the Circuit Paul Ricard represents somewhat of an unknown, as there’s no available race data to make predictions off of.
And the 3.61-mile, 15-turn track itself represents a range of challenges. It has fast corners, like Turns 1 and 2 (S de la Verrerie), a technical section between Turns 3 and 7 (Virage de l’Hotel through the Mistral Straight Start), and a 1.1-mile straightaway in the Mistral Straight, though it is separated by a chicane (Turns 8 and 9).
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff discussed the challenge of the circuit, highlighting the lack of data to build off of as well the tough three-race stretch ahead as especially challenging, in a preview on Formula 1’s website.
“France should be an interesting race. We don’t often get to race on a track where we have little to no historical data. It makes preparing for the weekend a bit trickier than usual, but that element of the unknown also adds to the challenge. The French Grand Prix marks the first race of the triple header, which will test all F1 teams to their limits, but also offers the chance to score a lot of points over the course of three weeks – which is precisely what we’re setting out to do,” said Wolff.
That element of the unknown makes Paul Ricard one of the biggest wildcards on the 2018 F1 calendar, and a championship shake up could be in the cards as a result.
Ferrari, Mercedes Continue Their Back and Forth
Ferrari and Mercedes have traded jabs throughout the 2018 season, with neither able to pull away from the other so far through seven races.
Sebastian Vettel enters the French Grand Prix with a one-point lead over Lewis Hamilton, and holds a slight edge in victories – three to Hamilton’s two – and comes off a thorough domination of the Canadian Grand Prix.
Vettel led every lap at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on his way to victory, while Valtteri Bottas had to carry the Mercedes flag in finishing second. Hamilton languished in fifth, a surprising and disappointing result given his previous success there.
With four long straightaways present at Paul Ricard, power will certainly be at a premium, so such upgrades will be vital in giving Mercedes a chance to make amends after Canada’s disappointment.
Trio of French Drivers Look to Impress on Home Soil
It comes hardly as a surprise that the three French drivers – Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly, and Esteban Ocon – are keen to make an impression at their home race.
And all three could certainly use a boost. Gasly has only one finish inside the points (seventh in the Monaco Grand Prix) since his stellar fourth place effort in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Ocon is coming off back-to-back points finishes (sixth in Monaco, ninth in Canada), but he has only one other finish inside the points this year (tenth, in Bahrain). And Grosjean, despite showing the speed to finish in the points, is yet to score any in 2018.
As such, all three are hoping for big things in their home race this weekend.
“I want to get a good weekend, have some luck, get my first points of the season, and get a lot of support from the fans,” said Grosjean. “I think we should be in a nice place at Paul Ricard. I’m always looking forward to jumping back in the car. I just love driving an F1 car.”
Ocon, who has raced and won at Paul Ricard in the past, expects his prior experience could be a big help.
“I did race at Paul Ricard early in my career – it was actually where I had my first victory in single seaters in 2013 so I have some fantastic memories of the place,” Ocon described. “I hope we can add some more success this weekend. Having been there in the junior categories makes getting used to a new track in a Formula One car much easier. I think I will find my rhythm quite quickly.”
Gasly’s excitement level obviously matches that of his French compatriots, with the added bonus that the return coincides with his rookie F1 effort.
“For me it will be absolutely incredible that my first full season of Formula 1 coincides with the return of a French Grand Prix to the calendar for the first time in 10 years,” said Gasly. “That has to be a reason for me to be very happy and I’m really excited to be racing in my home country. I can tell it will be a special feeling going out on track and actually, I have spoken to Jean Alesi and Alain Prost about it and they both told me that it will feel really special and something that you really have to experience as a Frenchman racing in France.”
Qualifying for The French Grand Prix begins at 9:55 a.m. ET on Saturday, with Sunday’s race at 9:30 a.m. ET.