x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dishdasha helps F1 presenter Hamad boost popularity

An Emirati Formula One presenter is making a name for himself among the world's best drivers - thanks in part, he says, to his national dress.

ABU DHABI // An Emirati Formula One presenter is making a name for himself among the world's best drivers - thanks in part, he says, to his national dress.

Hamad al Ibrahim is the presenter and reporter for Abu Dhabi Sports 2 television channel. He has travelled around the world with the F1 circus, interviewing top drivers each race.

"I am the only one on the grid before the race in traditional dress," he said. "No matter how bad the weather is, I wear it. The drivers have got to know me and I am easily recognised. There are also times when I am not there, and the station gets e-mails asking where I am."

Al Ibrahim interviews celebrities and drivers in English live on Sports 2 and then translates into Arabic.

This is the second year that the season has been broadcast by Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), which also publishes The National.

Al Ibrahim is part of the show's six-man team, three of whom broadcast live from all the European races, as well as Bahrain. Ayman Abdelwahed, the head of motorsports and F1 commentator at ADMC , said the show was unique. "We are the only ones that cover every type of race."

Firas al Nimri, another commentator, said viewers' knowledge had grown with the team. "The types of questions have changed," he said. "At first we were getting e-mails with questions about rumours or gossip. Now the questions are very technical and very knowledgeable."

eharnan@thenational.ae