Safety marshals are a key part of any Formula One event, and Yas Marina Circuit has amassed 420 of them for this year’s Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
All are volunteers supplied by the Emirates Motorsport Organisation, and they arrived at the track this week, each joining one or more of the various speciality groups already working onsite.
“The marshals are the unsung heroes of every racing weekend anywhere in the world, and their role is crucial in the safe running of any event,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of EMSO and FIA Vice President for Sport.
“We are proud to have a consolidated team of experienced marshals that work with us year-round, and many of them have been with us since the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 11 years ago.”
The volunteers are working in a variety of fields, including race control, medical care, and rescue. They will also be in the pitlane, ensuring nothing goes awry in what can be the most dangerous area in any motorsport race.
“Marshals are absolutely essential, it is as simple as that,” Mohammed Ben Sulayem added.
“Without officials and marshals ensuring the FIA safety standards are met, there cannot be successful racing. The sport keeps becoming more and more professional, which translates into standards constantly becoming higher and higher, and safety is always the top priority.”
There are 35 nationalities taking part this year.
Training staff to the standards required by world-class motorsport events is a constant priority at EMSO. This takes place all-year round and covers both theory and practical exercises, but specific preparations for the Abu Dhabi GP start in June.
Safety marshals in training at Yas Marina Circuit
This year has been particularly challenging for EMSO, bearing in mind advent of Covid-19, with the organisation ramping up its online training modules and assessments.
Meanwhile, 70 staff from National Ambulance are also ready and waiting at the circuit.
For the 2020 race, teams on the ground feature the largest percentage of Emirati Emergency Medical Technicians compared to previous years. These specialists are helping keep the 3,000 staff onsite at Yas Marina Circuit safe.
As well as supporting on a number of high-profile events such as the Abu Dhabi Triathlon and the RAK Half Marathon throughout the year, the organisation is attending its seventh consecutive Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.