Abu Dhabi GP gets 1,750 volunteers, who needs a new Tuba?

It’s not easy hosting a grand prix…just ask China or Turkey. The tasks to be completed, vending, maintenance, safety, crowd control, security; they all play a huge role in the details of a race weekend. Imagine the cost for host nations to cover these details and then imagine an enterprising idea.

In the United States, some events team with local organizations to garner a quick labor force to man the event and these charitable organizations receive a stipend to their cause for the labor and effort. My recent visit to the Petit Le Mans proved this once again as the security woman at the press entrance was actually a parent of a local high school band department raising money for the group. Need a new Tuba for Billy? Volunteer for a race. Need a violin for Suzi? Volunteer at the next NHRA drag race.

It was a noble cause and Road Atlanta got quality people to work their event for a fraction of what it would normally costs to hire a full-fledged security company to manage the event. The people were all very nice and I managed to chat to a few of them and get their impression on the race. Actually, they were bereft of the details or failed to show any care whatsoever about the Audi’s versus the Peugeot’s but they did take their particular job seriously. Good on them.

This is also the case for the final race of the season at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina circuit. Taking a page from the charitable labor force, the organizers of the Yas Marina circuit have found an answer to the question of labor and event coverage. Takatof National Volunteering Programme and Yas Marina Circuit have agreed to a three-year strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby Takatof volunteers will take part in all the sport events organized by Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM).

Over 1750 people will take part in the 2010 Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This agreement comes on the heels of a successful program in 2009 which saw around 1,118 volunteers participated in the event. They completed more than 47,000 hours of voluntary work, which was admired by all and contributed to the overall success. The Takatof organization’s 1,100 volunteers provided voluntary services for Grandstand information and assistance, hospitality, media support, and information stands at Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports.

Richard Cregan, Chief Executive Officer of Yas Marina Circuit, said:

“This partnership between Takatof and Yas Marina Circuit will provide a valuable opportunity for Emiratis to develop new skills and be involved in some of the region’s most important sporting events,”

“We are all extremely excited about the Grand Prix in November, and the support from this partnership will help to ensure we provide first-class service to all international and local visitors.”

Takatof members volunteer for humanitarian, social and community programs and specific training is used in order to help develop technical training on public safety, client services and protocol.

Takatof Executive Director Maytha Al Habsi said:

“The 2010 Formula 1â„¢ Etihad AirwaysEtihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will offer a new and unique experiment for our volunteers to deal responsibly with large numbers of the public.

“The volunteers,” she added, “are very ardent to take part in this event as it gives them a real chance to develop their administrative skills.”

As I watched the race last year, I kept wondering who the people wandering around on the bridge overlooking the track were. During the actual race, there were random people just walking back and forth on the bridge and I thought to myself, “who the heck just walks around on a bridge while the race is going on?” and “Go sit somewhere dude! The race is on!”. I think I know who they were now.

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