Bahrain’s Formula One medical team has intensified its training following the dramatic crash at the Australian Grand Prix, the opening race this season.
Lectures have been increased between now and this weekend’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, while a full emergency drill will took place at the track on Thursday.
Remarkably nobody was injured when drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez collided in spectacular fashion at speeds of 250 kilometers per hour-plus during the first race of the season in Melbourne.
However, Bahrain Motor Federation (BMF) Chief Medical Officer doctor Amjad Obeid said the crash at Melbourne illustrated the need to take maximum precautions.
“Our role becomes more challenging after the accident during the Australian Grand Prix,” he said. “The readiness of our team will be tested and it is a challenge for us to ensure the race goes smoothly.”
“We are holding more lectures and conducting training to prepare the team for any emergency or challenges they could face,” Obeid said, adding the drill on Thursday involved teams extricating a driver and airlifting a patient.”
More than 200 doctors, nurses and paramedics make up Bahrain’s well-drilled Formula One medical team.
They will work round the clock during the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.
Members of the sport’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA or the International Automobile Federation), supervised the drills.
A workshop on trauma management, resuscitation and transferring patients by ambulance or helicopter was organized for the medical team by the BMF on Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza’s Bahrain Conference Centre, under the patronage of Health Minister Faeqa Al Saleh.
“All preparations are in place with around 205 medics deployed around the circuit in different teams,” said Obeid.
Eleven ambulances and two helicopters from the Royal Bahrain Naval Force will be on standby in the event of an emergency.
“The medical center in the circuit will have four trauma beds, a mini pharmacy and is equipped with latest machines to conduct X-rays, ultrasounds and minor surgeries,” he said.
There will be six medical intervention teams, each including a doctor and nurse, who will be the first to approach an injured driver in case of an accident.
In addition, five spectator clinics will be set up to treat spectators with cases such as fatigue, dehydration, flu and other minor ailments expected.
Meanwhile, Salmaniya Medical Complex and BDF Hospital staff will be on standby during the three-day event, while Health Ministry food inspectors will also be on patrol.
This is in addition to the 1,000 race marshals who will be on duty around the track.