Interview with the President of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation Anar Alakbarov on the 2017 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Question: Mr. Alakbarov, the Formula 1 race hosted by our country is about to kick off. How do you assess the preparations for the F1 race?
Answer: This is the second year Azerbaijan hosts the Formula 1 race. This year’s race is the eighth round of the Formula 1 World Championship and it is called the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. As in the last year, all the necessary measures have been taken this year to hold the race at a high-level and in safe conditions.
In accordance with regulations, the work for holding the tournament has been done in cooperation with the International Automobile Federation. Contracts covering the division of responsibility and security issues have been signed, official procedures have been carried out to include the Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix to the international race calendar, and the necessary certificates about the required medical equipment and the work done to even more increase the circuit safety have been presented by the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation to the International Automobile Federation.
As in the past year, the organizational work is being carried out by the Baku City Circuit Operations Company in a close cooperation with the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation. An operations team has been set up for the racing tournament, more than 3,000 volunteers have been involved in the work, a vast promotion campaign has been carried out, and work has been done to construct the racing circuit. I believe all the members of the team involved in this work will contribute to successfully holding this racing event by fully using the experience they gained in trainings and the tournaments, in which they participated.
Q.: As far as we know, local personnel are involved in everything related to holding the racing event.
A.: The organizing team, the racing event’s officials, and the motorsport marshals are mainly comprised of local specialists. This is, of course, very pleasing. The Azerbaijan Automobile Federation presented the international motorsport licenses to the racing officials and marshals who had undergone all the required trainings with the support from the Baku City Circuit Operations Company. With these licenses they get the opportunity to take part not only in tournaments in Azerbaijan, but also in the international tournaments held by the International Automobile Federation.
As part of cooperation with other countries’ automobile federations, the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation sent our marshals to the Formula 1 racing events in a number of countries. They stood out for their professionalism in all the racing events they took part in. Our marshals will also be sent to several countries during this year.
Q.: Usually a series of other supportive racing competitions are held on the eve of the Formula 1 races. Is there such a plan this year?
A.: This year Azerbaijan will host the GP2 Series, to be held on the same days as the Formula 1. These are the series featuring junior drivers. The drivers successfully participating in these racing competitions get an opportunity to take part in the future Formula 1 races. Therefore, there is often quite a tough competition in these racing events.
Q.: We know that the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation pays special attention to road safety issues. Have there been any measures taken on this issue on the eve of the racing competition?
A.: The Azerbaijan Automobile Federation regularly carries out large-scale promotion campaigns as part of cooperation with the International Automobile Federation on traffic safety enhancement.
During the Formula 1 days, the Federation is taking measures to promote traffic safety, having taken into account the public attention to these races. In order to reduce the number of fatal traffic accidents, the global campaign held on the eve of the Formula 1 races with participation of famous athletes, artists and public figures, are also being held in our country. This campaign’s promotion materials are being placed in a number of parts of the city. The project’s goal is to call on drivers to be more careful when driving and to follow traffic rules. The campaign, held under the #3500lives slogan, reminds traffic participants about the deaths of around 3,500 people in traffic accidents worldwide every day, and shows that preventing the accidents is in the hands of traffic participants.
Q.: We would also like to know your predictions about the results of Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
A.: Of course, there are the teams that had in the winter months more successfully conducted their preparations for the current season, and stand out as favorites. But, as with every sports competition, it is impossible to give an accurate prediction here. We, on our part, wish the participants success, hoping that the race will be held in an interesting and healthy atmosphere.
Q.: Last year, international media were reporting about the high-level organization of the events hosted by our country
A.: Despite the Formula 1 Grand Prix was held in our country for the first time in 2016, the racing competition once again demonstrated Azerbaijan’s high organizational capabilities to the world.
Naturally, this is the result of our country’s experience gained from organizing various international events over the past few years.
The International Automobile Federation, the Formula 1 teams and drivers, independent experts and journalists highly appreciated the excellent preparatory work and security measures, the professionalism of the team involved in organizational work, and the hospitality of the city residents. This is a great achievement of our people attained under the leadership of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
The Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, organized on the eve of holy Ramadan holiday, has endowed special mood to our city. It is pleasing that our people, especially the people of Baku, are very eagerly waiting for this event and are trying to contribute to holding this racing competition at the highest level.
I am sure the atmosphere of tolerance in our country, the hospitality, sincerity and peacefulness of our people will, as always, have good impressions on all the visitors coming here. I wish all the participants the joy of victory. I congratulate the people of Azerbaijan on the upcoming Ramadan holiday.