x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abu Dhabi medical facilities 'excellent', say F1 evaluators

The medical facilities at the Yas Marina Circuit have been praised by the FIA, noting Helicopter access and capacity to treat burn victims.

ABU DHABI // Hospitals that were placed on standby to treat anyone injured at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have been praised by motorsport's international governing body. The Medical Commission of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) described the facilities at Sheikh Khalifa and Mafraq hospitals in Abu Dhabi as "high level" and "excellent", while the medical team on duty at Yas Marina Circuit was judged to have given an "excellent overall performance".

In the event, the 83 medical staff on duty at Yas Marina Circuit were not called upon to deal with any serious injuries during race weekend, which saw the German driver Sebastian Vettel emerge victorious. Professor Jean-Charles Piette, the commission's Formula 1 medical delegate, and Dr Gary Hartstein, the Formula 1 rescue co-ordinator, gave their verdicts in a report recently presented to the World Motor Sport Council.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, the Emirati multiple rally winner who is FIA vice president for sport, said the Medical Commission's observations indicated that the Grand Prix, held on November 1, had been "an all-round success". "Every element connected with the Grand Prix - the circuit, the organisation, the administration and now the medical facilities, both on- and off-track - have drawn high praise from all quarters of the FIA," he said. "While the Race Promoters' Trophy went to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for providing Formula 1 with a state-of-the-art circuit, the icing on the cake is the Medical Commission's report."

Mr ben Sulayem, who is also president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, said the report highlighted "our determination to provide the best medical facilities possible". Both hospitals were noted in the report to have had direct helicopter access, while Mafraq Hospital was described as an "excellent hospital, exemplary for severe burn cases" and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City earned praise as a "high-level teaching hospital".

The layout of the on-site medical centre at the circuit was said to have been "very prestigious" and to have met the specifications for a "Grade I circuit". The medical centre, located at the start of the pit, was also noted for its "perfect physical and visual isolation" and large area for two helicopters. Other elements of the medical facilities said to have conformed to requirements include the anti-doping control centre, the back-up electricity supply from batteries and a generator, the television image reception, internet, oxygen installation and unimpeded access from the track.

dbardsley@thenational.ae