ATCUAE to Conduct Marshal Hydration Research

ABU DHABI (UAE). Sunday, 25 March, 2011:In 2012, the Motorsport Knowledge Institute (MKI), a division of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE), in conjunction with its academic partners at the University of Ulster, will undertake a scientific research study into the problem of officials’ hydration at motor sport events. This initiative is being taken by the ATCUAE to contribute to the safety and wellbeing of volunteers servicing the needs of motor sport and other outdoor sporting events held in extreme weather conditions.

Funded in part by the FIA Foundation’s Motor Sport Safety Development Fund, the study will investigate the difficulties faced by individuals working in extreme heat using the example of UAE motor sport officials.  The Motor Sport Safety Development Fund was set up in 2008 as a charitable fund to help progress and improve safety, training and education in motor sport worldwide. The FIA Institute manages the programs of the Fund on behalf of the FIA Foundation. This includes the Officials Safety Training Program under which this activity is being conducted.

ATCUAE President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “Working in extreme heat is extremely challenging. As much as the safety of our volunteers and teams is our number one priority we have many people of different walks of life having to endure these conditions year round, so we intend to share our results with the relevant government ministries so that the maximum amount of people can benefit.”

The project will investigate the issue in three stages, as the research itself will be carried out during the 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in April, the 2012 Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix in November, and the 2012 Dubai International Rally in December. Dehydration at all our events is a huge problem due to the intense heat, lack of shade and long hours required.

The research is being carried out by the Motorsport Knowledge Institute (MKI), a division of the ATCUAE established by Ben Sulayem to conduct its international training and research services. A team of researchers from the University of Ulster, led by Dr. Gareth Davison BA, Msc, PhD, one of the leading international authorities on the issue of dehydration, will work closely with Dr. Sean Petherbridge MD, Chief Medical Officer of the ATCUAE on the research.

The MKI aims to position itself, and the UAE, as global leaders in the field of sports science research. The ATCUAE has started this work by previously conducting research into Volunteer Management at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, as well as an Economic Impact study of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the first study of its kind in motor sport.

When asked about the importance of this research, Dr. Davison stated that: “Hot and humid environments are more susceptible to dehydration cases, which highlights the importance of carrying out this project in the UAE. Dehydration affects physical and mental capability, and the ability to perform at a high level. It is the result of a decrease of water level or increase in sweat which can cause high blood pressure and low sodium level in the blood. That is very dangerous as it can lead an individual to collapse or even worse outcomes.”

The Motorsport Knowledge Institute intends to finalize the study ready for publication at the end of the year. As the findings and recommendations of the study are not limited to motor sport, or restricted to the Middle East, they will be distributed worldwide for the benefit of any sporting organization that requires their staff to work in high temperature conditions.