JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s marshal team is gearing up for the STC Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023 on Sunday, with the group consisting of 800 volunteers, 640 of whom were given extra training and opportunity to help organize this global event.
This is the Saudi marshal team’s second time organizing the Formula 1 race, having gained experience and praise for their first event at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Arab News spoke to a number of the team members including Abdullah Al-Mabrok, chief marshal assistant. “I started as an observer marshal back in 2018. Now I’m an assistant for (all the) marshals on track. We help the marshals whenever they need support off track (and) on track. I’ve (always) loved motorsports, the Formula 1. I do all the circuit races as well. It’s where I find myself in my free time.”
Anas Flimban, a track marshal, has volunteered for the third time. “It’s really amazing to (have) this experience and opportunity to be here.”
Mohammed Al-Rawa, chief post marshal, was proud to see an entire team made up of Saudi youth at such a big event.
Mohammed Najeem, assistant chief recovery marshal, said that his task consists of recovering the damaged cars on track. “We have to do that in the fastest way possible and the safest way as well.”
Mossab Al-Bakry, radio marshal and observer, said that he was proud to be part of the race. “Being a marshal in my country feels so great. It’s nice to see all of the other countries come see us, see how great it is here, how advanced it is contrary to what they hear (in the media).”
He added that he has received overwhelmingly positive comments on the area’s architecture and buildings. “I feel really proud.”
Sultan Al-Khaldi, fire marshal, said that he was thankful for everyone’s efforts in making this global event a success. “I want to thank our leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who gave us this opportunity to show our passion and love for this sport.”
It is noteworthy that 40 percent of the team consists of women, who showed great passion and enthusiasm during the training and practical stage, proving themselves as strong as their male peers in executing the tasks assigned to them.
Fairooz Bahkli is a female track marshal who is participating with the team for the third year. “I’m so proud to represent Saudi women in Formula 1.”
Her teammate Fatimah Al-Owerdhy, a flag marshal, took part in the Formula 2 previously and this is also her third year with the Saudi Marshal team. She wished everyone the best of luck this year.
Observer marshal Lama Al-Ghamdi, who recently completed a master’s in bioscience at KAUST, said that it was “an honor to serve the country. It’s really rewarding at the end, to be honest.”
Sultana Al-Harbi, who is volunteering for the first time as a trainee flag marshal, said she was proud and excited to be a part of “such a beautiful country that is expanding and improving year by year.”
She was happy to see Saudi marshals representing the Kingdom in “an amazing space, such as the Formula 1, which is the number one racing experience in the world.”