BIC operations director Fayez Ramzy Fayez on the island's F1 preparations
Time Out Bahrain staff
What’s your position at the track and what does this involve? I’m the circuit operations director at BIC. I am in charge of the running of all our motorsport activities, such as our national and regional championships, public open days, driving activities, etc. If it’s happening out on the track, I’m responsible for it.
How long have you been there? I’ve been working at BIC since 2009, but I’ve been involved in motorsport for much longer.
Do you have a racing background? My introduction to motorsports was long ago during the rally days, I then was responsible, among a team of colleagues, for forming the Marshals’ Club, which I headed, and have been the F1 clerk of course since 2004.
How does the track prepare for the biggest weekend of the year and how long does it take? First of all, we inspect the track constantly to make sure that all safety measures are being followed and nothing is being overlooked. We also clean the track and do some beautification around it, such as painting the run-off areas in vibrant colours or planting palm trees or flags around the circuit. Marshal posts get inspected and prepared, fire safety and medical equipment gets recertified and the circuit as a whole goes through a reconditioning process.
Are you also involved with the set up for the entertainment and what does this involve? As a director at BIC, of course I am involved in all these matters but I do not directly handle features such as entertainment. A very hard-working team under the operations department is responsible for the setup of the vending area and all elements within it. Entertainment is one of these elements that has its own team dedicated to it.
Can you give us an account of what exactly you’ll be doing during race day from start to finish? My day typically starts at 5.30am with a quick inspection of the track, circuit buildings and resources followed by a quick debrief meeting with the chief executive and the management team where he gives them his observations.
I then ensure that the track is ready with all personnel and equipment for the first session of the day, a lot of communication and systems checks take place from my post at the race control, when all is OK, and according to a tightly adhered to schedule, the pit exit green instruction is given by me from race control and the cars start roaring down the track.
Most of the time is then spent looking after the cars, incidents and officials on track as well as spectator and vending areas until the final chequered flag is waved where I then have to go out and look after the team that made it happen both on track and off the track.
How many people are you expecting at this year’s event and how will it differ from other years? We are expecting to surpass our total of 70,000 from last year, and we are hoping to either come close to matching or even surpass our record total of 100,000 spectators in 2010.
Any predictions for winner? Bahrain will be the winner, that I am sure of, as far as on track, none! It’s impossible to predict a winner in any F1 race because of how competitive the championship has now become.