Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The 4-mulla is here!

“The 4-mulla is here”, shouted out a colleague of mine as she gleefully waved the F1 ticket that she had just won, lucky b$*%h.

“Well, So what?” I said, pissed off that she won and I didn’t.

“Huh, I don’t need a ticket anyways cause I work at the BIC as a volunteer and have attended all the F1 races (and some other events) held in Bahrain and will be doing so this year as well”.

So there!

It’s actually true; I am a volunteer Marshal with an official badge and all. I wanted the ticket for my wife whom wants to attend and watch the awesome cars as they wizz & zoom by at ear shattering speeds.

[Note: The word is Volunteer; we do not get a cent from the BIC for our services, we get fed twice and are provided with lots of fluids. NOTHING ELSE! (For an event like the F1 there over 500 volunteer marshals assisting at least.]

I am not sure what the very senior marshals who have FIA badges and uniforms get, if anything??

Anyways, I along with hundreds of other (multinational) volunteer Marshals will be working our a$$e$ off this weekend making sure the event goes underway without any glitches (Inshallah); we have a reputation to keep up. We won an award for the best F1 in 2004 and lots of praise from Bernie Ecclestone (owner, promoter, and president) for our performance during all the previous F1’s.

We have to prove to the world that we (as Bahrainis’) are up to any challenge, SO BRING IT ON BABY.

It’s going to be hard work as we standing for most of the days and perform our assigned duties in the gruelling hot sun, resting only during the little gaps between races or practice / qualification runs and the prayer break. Every one does his or her part, from the volunteers who direct traffic; to the logistics team that ensure our tools, food and fluids reach us; the boundary riders, Scrutineers, the trackees, communicators, Accident and Emergency professionals and yes, the area where I work as well, good old ‘Grid & Pit’.
[The grid being the starting line where the race cars start from and the Pit being the Garage area where the cars pit in for refuelling and other…]

I personally perform two tasks; I hold the position of ‘Pit Exit One’, you will see me standing at the pit exit with my communications kit and a clip board in my hand noting down and reporting cars that violate certain rules. My second duty is ‘Grid Marshal’, I be standing next to one of the cars with a yellow flag in my hand, eyes focused on the my assigned car and driver as he rolls onto the starting line in anticipation of the of the green signal that initiates the ‘warm up’ lap. When they the cars complete one circle around the track and head back to the starting line, you will notice number sighs being held by marshals behind the pit wall, yes, one of them is yours truly. After which I will return back to my post as ‘Pit Exit One’. Sooooo Coooooool.

Alas, the F1 and its presence in the Bahrain have sparked a lot of criticism. Some quite valid, others not so.
The one I am most concerned with is that the least expensive tickets are around BD 40.000, the race is being in our country but 80% of Bahrainis can’t even afford to attend. That sucks! The tickets must be made affordable to Bahrainis’, a maximum of BD 10 for all three days, no more; foreigners can still pay the hefty sum that the BIC wants, that’s tourism.

I know the F1 is in the RED, things are amiss, contracts are being unfairly offered to suppliers / contractors without being auctioned off to the lowest bidder, etc. Also, the UAE and Qatar will also be hosting F1s’ within the next couple of years, as the news goes – There goes what little business we have…had....But that and much more are all another subject and another blog…….. (So wait for my Blog titles, ‘F1 or F them all’).

Anyways, Bahrain nu naaaa………