On the fast track: How Yas Marina Circuit prepares for F1
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On the fast track: How Yas Marina Circuit prepares for F1

On the fast track: How Yas Marina Circuit prepares for F1

Ali Al Beshr, Circuit Operations Director at Yas Marina Circuit shares some insights into the preparations that go into hosting the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend  


As the spectacle of this weekend’s Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2022 unfolds, the planning for the global sporting event began many months ago.

To host the final race of a global championship is a privilege. But with that comes a significant amount of pressure to ensure the season concludes on a successful note.

Ali Al Beshr is tasked with ensuring that the operations of Yas Marina Circuit throughout its events, including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, run smoothly since 2015.

“My role as circuit operations director is to make sure that the venue is ready and prepared for F1 teams, as well as the support races – F4UAE and Formula 2 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” explained Al Beshr. “We are completely responsible for their interests when hosting them at our venue. That covers access plans, transportation, logistics, as well as pit garages, paddock villas where teams will be based, driver parades, and the podium ceremonies.”

It is not just the teams that Al Beshr has to focus on, however. He and his team must ensure that all of the officials provided for the race weekend are fully trained and prepared, so the event runs without issue.

“The local governing motorsport body, Emirates Motorsports Organisation, provides us with their officials to run the event which totals around 700 people,” he says. “Those officials are for trackside, race control, vehicle recovery, fire, and so on.

“We also have to prepare the Medical Centre, ensuring all equipment is ready, and the medical helicopter is on-site and ready.”

The initial planning phase for this weekend’s race finished in May, before training of the officials began in July and August, and concluded in October – a month ahead of the event.

Al Beshr explained that the most difficult operational issues surrounding an F1 weekend are the tight time constraints in the full knowledge that the eyes of world television are watching: “If there is an incident on track, we only have a small time window to make it safe and ready again. When you consider that F1 includes a live TV broadcast, with tens of millions of eyes looking at Yas Marina Circuit and Abu Dhabi, and the weekend schedule is planned to the precise minute, it adds a lot of stress. It has to run like clockwork, there is no room for error. Millions of people will see how we and our officials react to incidents.”

The logistical responsibility for an event of such a size is astounding. In the week leading up to the race, aircraft containing race cars and equipment will arrive, along with sea freight containers, which all need to be transported to the circuit from air and sea ports by road.

“Time is the most important factor,” Al Beshr said. “Freight usually arrives four days before the event, and inside that time, teams need to build the car ready for the event. There is no time to lose. There cannot be any customs delays. We also rely on our other stakeholders and government partners to connect all the dots, to make sure that all the logistics go as smoothly as possible for one of the biggest events of the year.”

It’s no wonder, therefore, that Al Beshr and other organisers will lose up to eight kilos of weight due to the workload and pressure alone throughout the weekend.

But as the race concludes and the fireworks shoot into the night’s sky for another year, thoughts will quickly turn to how to ensure that next year’s operation is the most professional and meticulous on the F1 calendar.

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