800 marshals gear up for F1 Bahrain

The marshals, including women, will play an integral role in making sure both the races pass without a glitch


An army of 800 race marshals will be working round the clock to ensure this year’s Formula One double-header is a resounding success.

The volunteers will be deployed at dedicated units spread across Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), Sakhir – as it hosts the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2020 from Friday to Sunday and the Formula 1 Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix 2020 from December 4 to 6.

The marshals, including women, will play an integral role in making sure both the races pass without a glitch. Mock drills will take place before the run-up to the showpiece event.

“A total of 800 marshals will take part in the two Formula one races this year and we are well prepared as we sharpened our skills during the World Endurance Championship (WEC) on November 14,” Motorsports Marshals Club president Fayez Ramzi Fayez told the GDN yesterday.

“Thirty per cent of our marshals are females and the entire team is well experienced.”

Mr Fayez said the number of extra or standby marshals have been reduced this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 challenges.

“Only essential staff will be present as part of the safety measures,” Mr Fayez said.

The marshals will undergo one or more PCR tests as deemed necessary according to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) regulations.

Motorsport marshals are responsible for the safety of F1 drivers. They are stationed at various points of danger around race tracks to assist them in case of collisions, accidents or track problems.

Mr Fayez said all marshals will wear face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The F1 double-header will take place with all precautionary guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and the Youth and Sports Affairs Ministry.

Safety measures have been revamped this year and the circuit is being periodically disinfected, said Mr Fayez.

“We will conduct mock drills with other teams ahead of the two races to test our readiness and ensure the sporting events are held successfully with proper safety measures.”

The two races will take place under floodlights without spectators this year.

However, a limited number of grandstand seats will be allocated to families of frontline health workers and first responders in Bahrain.

The teams that have started to arrive will operate in Covid-19-free bubbles, with minimal interactions.

Should a positive Covid-19 case be recorded, a reserve team would swoop into action to replace its bubble of members placed into isolation.

The FIA regulations state that attendees need to take a PCR test no more than five days after they took their pre-event test, and thereafter at least once every five days as long as they continue to attend the venue.

Additional screening such as body temperature checks will be carried out. A questionnaire will also have to be filled out stating the person has no underlying health conditions or risk factors.

The weekend’s first race at the Sakhir circuit will take place on the usual 5.4km layout and feature 57 laps (start time 6.10pm). The second event will be held on the circuit’s smaller 3.5km outer track with a schedule for an 8.10pm start, and will have the highest number of race laps this year at 87.

The second BIC race is set to be the penultimate round before the season concludes in Abu Dhabi on December 13.


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