Motor sport

UAE motorsport volunteers ‘among the best in the world’

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The small army of volunteers behind Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 title winner this weekend have proven to be among the best in the world – and it’s official.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who launched the volunteer program for the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix in 2009, said today that the marshals and motorsport officials on duty at Yas Marina Circuit are the pride of United Arab Emirates.

Nearly 600 volunteers – 30% of them Emiratis – worked around the clock to prepare the scene for the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen clash in the UAE capital.

Among them is Mark Robinson, who was named the 2021 scrutineer of the year by the FIA, the world’s motorsport governing body.

This is the sixth “best in the world” award given to a member of the UAE Motorsport Marshals Club since 2011.

“Mark is a credit to the marshal community and an example of what our members bring to the sport,” said Ben Sulayem, president of the Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO) and FIA vice-president for sport. “They are an important part of the success of motorsport in the UAE.”

When the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix first took place in 2009, half of the volunteers needed to help organize the event had to be brought in from the UK.

By then, however, as head of the national motorsport authority, Ben Sulayem had already launched an intensive program of recruiting and training marshals.

He established the UAE Motorsport Marshals Club, with the five-year goal of building an entirely UAE-based group of Emirati and expatriate volunteers to serve the needs of Grand Prix and UAE motorsport in general.

The goal was achieved two years ahead of schedule, by which time Ben Sulayem had also launched the Motorsport Knowledge Institute (MKI), as the dedicated education, training and research division of EMSO .

The MKI has since been awarded Gold level accreditation by the FIA ​​Institute for Motorsport Safety and Sustainability. It has also been named an International Training Provider (RTP) for Officials Safety Training and Young Driver Development programs.

Today, the UAE has nearly 2,000 official motorsport volunteers, many of whom travel around the world to operate at F1 and other racing venues.

Volunteer training and development remains a key part of Ben Sulayem’s strategy for motorsport sustainability in the UAE, which has the full support of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management and Yas Marina Circuit.

In the countdown to the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, 30 practical and physical training sessions were held, including 12 online.


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Tony Lewis / Narayan Marar
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© Press release 2021