When motor sport enthusiasts make the transition from the being a fan to a CAMS official, there is always a similar motivation behind the big move.
While the camaraderie of being a volunteer is what keeps the 10,000 plus CAMS officials going, getting the best seat in the house is often the reason they join and it's the same story for Paul Freeman.
Taking part in the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 as an official for the 12th consecutive year, Freeman’s history in the sport began just like any other official 16 years ago.
“One day all those years ago I was sitting up in the grandstand at Sandown, watching the cars go by and I saw these blokes by the track wearing white overalls,” Freeman said.
“I remember thinking to myself that they’re getting a much better look than I am so I decided to do some research after the event and ended up finding the Victorian Flag Marshaling team, so I joined them.
“They are very good because they mentor you, someone meets you at the gate for your first event and they look after you as well as introduce you to people who are just really friendly.
“They then send you out to a point as an apprentice and when you’ve reached a certain grade, they induct you as a Flaggie and you’re deemed good enough to go out on your own, which was quite fun for me.”
All those years ago, Freeman just wanted to be close to the action and be part of the close-knit officials family, but it wasn’t until 2019 when things took a huge turn in his career.
After 16 years as a Flag Marshal, 12 of which have been at the Grand Prix, Freeman was promoted to middle management as a Sector Marshal, something that he didn’t expect.
“It was a bit of a surprise but I am very excited to have been promoted, I am really looking forward to it,” Freeman added.
“As a Sector Marshal, we’re in charge of a little chunk of the track, make sure we take control of the tidy up if there is an incident, make sure the drivers' welfare is ok and get things back to shape as soon as possible.
“We also keep an eye on the marshals that are in our sector and make sure they are doing what they’re meant to be doing.”
Although Freeman enjoys the added responsibility of being a Sector Marshal, it won’t change his feelings towards the sport for which he holds dear to him.
For Freeman, outside of the friendships gained at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, it’s the basics of racing that keeps his love strong.
“I just really love the excitement and the vibe at Albert Park during this time,” Freeman explained.
“I like the support categories as well - I think the support categories this year are really good and there’s several of them like the Supercars, GTs and Formula 4 that will be really fun to watch.
“I like the vibe of this place and I just hope that Daniel Ricciardo can do ok in the main race.”