Bahraini women play key role to ensure F1 success

BAHRAINI women have been striving behind the scenes as they race to the top while working in several back-end roles to make the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix happen every year since 2004.

During this race weekend, 38-year-old Faten Amin became the first Bahraini woman to sit in the deputy clerk of the course seat for the Formula 3 and Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East (PSCME) sessions at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

“I am training to be a clerk of the course and during the race day I am assigned as a deputy clerk of the course for F3 and PSCME sessions,” Ms Amin told the GDN.

“In these roles, I assist the clerk of the course in handling the situations where we are required to take actions to keep the marshals, drivers and the track safe.”

The clerk of the course is responsible for the general conduct and control of an event, acting as the sport’s first judicial body and having the power to impose penalties in accordance with the regulations. The deputy clerk of the course reports to them and ensures the track, drivers and marshals stay safe while racing.

Jawad Abbas is the current F3 clerk of the course, while Ali Fini sits in the seat for the PSCME.

As the GDN reported last year, Ms Amin was awarded the FIA General Controller of the Year Award for Best Chief Observer during her previous role, making her the first Bahraini to receive the prestigious honour.

The road to this role has been an arduous one for Ms Amin, who has been involved as a marshal since 2005 and has her eyes set on the clerk of the course role some day, a position held during F1 by BIC chief operations officer Fayez Ramzy Fayez.

“My first role was as an observer marshal, where we report anything unusual happening on track to race control, after which I got promoted to senior marshal in 2006. I became the first female to do a track recovery in 2007, was promoted to be in race control as logger in 2013 and became a chief observer from 2014 to 2022,” she explained.

“I have been in the training committee since 2007, and also did marshalling outside Bahrain including in Abu Dhabi in 2010, in India from 2011 to 2012, Azerbaijan in 2016 and in Saudi Arabia in 2021.”

She is also training Enas Al Haddad, her successor, for the chief observer role and hopes to see more women get involved in motorsports in Bahrain.

Currently four Bahraini women, including Ms Amin and Ms Al Haddad, sit in race control during the Grand Prix weekend.

Bahraini women, including national press officer Sara Al Hashimi and media centre co-ordinator and senior executive Zahra Ali, have also been making their mark in other parts of the BIC.

Ms Ali started working at the BIC right after graduation, after watching the race from the stands during her time as a Bahrain University student. She is delighted to see a stronger female presence around the track throughout the year, and noted that girls as young as seven or eight were now eager to participate in karting, and hopefully someday rise through the ranks.

“I think a women-focused karting academy would really help encourage more young women to take part in the sport,” she added.

Ms Amin concurred and pointed to the increasing number of trackside female marshals as a sign of growing interest in the sport.

“It would be nice to have more exposure and spread awareness in schools and universities, like the female figures who are already involved in the motorsport, to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps,” she added.

Ms Al Hashimi joined the BIC in 2005 as a volunteer and climbed the ranks to her current role as National Press Officer.

“I believe that we are committed to increasing female participation within the sport, as a competitor, volunteer or within the industry by raising awareness of the huge range of opportunities available to women and promoting gender equality in motorsport to the general public,” the 37-year-old added.

According to the BIC, 39 out of their 157 employees are female.




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