Sports

A Saudi brother and sister marshals stand behind Formula 1 barriers to support drivers

Percentage of Saudi women marshal increases to 30%

March 19, 2023
Khalid and Sarah Al-Qashqari challenge the danger of cars’ speeding by while staying behind the barriers of the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to support the champions, F1 drivers.
Khalid and Sarah Al-Qashqari challenge the danger of cars’ speeding by while staying behind the barriers of the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to support the champions, F1 drivers.

By Aljohara Zarea

JEDDAH — A Saudi brother and sister — Khalid and Sarah Al-Qashqari — team challenges the danger of cars’ speeding by while staying behind the barriers of the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to support the champions, F1 drivers.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Sarah stated that she started out as a flag marshal in 2021, which was the first race hosted in the Jeddah street circuit.

She said that the reason for choosing to try out for this experience is her brother, who was a big fan and very interested in Formula 1 since day 1. He kept telling her about how amazing the sport is and how big of a deal it is to be hosted in Jeddah.

While Khalid, an intervention marshal, noted that he experienced being a marshal for 4 times, the first of was in the 2019 Diriyah ePrix. He continued to be a marshal for 3 times in row in the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Khalid and Sarah, once they heard that Formula 1 was coming to Saudi Arabia, contacted the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), after which they signed up to be marshals.

The SAMF provides training in intervention marshal, flag marshal, actual training on the track, and even showing how to recover crashed cars from around the circuit.

Each section in SAMF has their own training, Khalid said, adding that in the beginning they had taken them through all the training, so that they can see every part and when any other section needs help, they can go ahead and help them.

“It was very interesting to get started doing this in the past three years, and it has been like a challenge,” Sarah said, adding that it is also a very interesting journey, because it lets you see all the fans of the teams, cheering for specific teams, and for specific drivers.

Khalid highlighted the feature duty as a marshal. “Whenever there is an accident on the track, they immediately go on to the track and help the drivers, remove the cars, clear everything, so the race can start again.”

The Saudi brother and sister marshals have enjoyed a great experience, as their duties allow them to experience new things.

They said that they stay safe behind the barriers, while stressing that the most important thing is to have so much experience in Formula 1 race while getting used to the cars.

“Right now, we are professionals and are used to the speed, and will still come back every year, because it is fun, lots of fun.”

Khalid said that standing behind the barriers and seeing all the cars zipping past you at 300 kilometers per hour is a completely different experience. Being in the stands does not give you the same experience, he added.

Regarding their experience together, Khalid and Sarah noted that being together is a very nice. “In the first year, we were at the same point, but this year each one of us are stationed at a different point, but we still get to see each other during breaks.”

Khalid and Sarah said that they experienced marshaling only in Saudi Arabia, and are planning to participate next year in the Bahrain Formula 1 and in the UAE event too.

It is noteworthy that Sarah said that the Saudi women participation as marshals has increased to 30%, noting that the percentage increases annually, as in 2022 it was only 25%.


March 19, 2023
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