The Indian Grand Prix will be a landmark moment for motorsports in the country. However, hosting an event of this magnitude for the first time can also be a logistical nightmare. To ensure things go off smoothly, the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) has tied up with the organisers of the Bahrain GP to recruit 110 race marshals from the gulf country to manage the race in Greater Noida during the final weekend of October.
"We've reached an agreement with the Bahrain Motor Federation and 110 experienced marshals will be on duty during the Indian GP," FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok told HT. "In addition to that we will have 230 marshals from India to shadow the Bahraini officials."
Marshals are responsible for a number of areas during a race ranging from working in the pit lane, providing fire cover, working trackside and clearing debris from the track or in parc fermé. One of the most important roles is that of the flag marshals.
When the glitzy Yas Marina hosted the inaugural Abu Dhabi GP in 2009 the organisers recruited 350 British marshals. However, Chandhok doesn't want to go down that road. "Abu Dhabi had marshals exclusively from Great Britain, however, we feel Indian marshals are a must," he said. "This year we are getting 110 marshals from Bahrain, and as Indian marshals gain experience we hope to reduce this number to 60 in 2012. By 2013 we could have a completely Indian marshal crew."
A team of Indian marshals will also head to the Bahrain International Circuit to get hands on training. "Around 30 selected marshals, as well as officials from Jaypee, will leave for Bahrain in a couple of weeks. The objective is to make them understand what goes into managing a race, watching their Bahraini counterparts in action during the GP2 Asia race. They will again fly out when Bahrain stages this season's F1 opener in March."
Selected marshals and officials will also travel to a few more F1 circuits this season to make sure they are well equipped to handle an F1 race.