The Clinica Mobile's debut at the Austrian Grand Prix in 1977 couldn't have been better timed; Franco Uncini, a 350cc rider, suffered a serious accident on the Salzburgring circuit in Austria and Claudio Costa's mobile clinic saved his life. In those early years, the clinic was little more than a adapted van with a stretcher, instruments, and very basic tools. Just four years later, in the 1981 season, it had already become a lorry with two beds and was much better equipped.
The next evolution came in 1988, with five rooms and three beds, that would eventually become five in 1997. This update also added physiotherapy equipment and specialised staff. In the 2002 season, Clinica Mobile became a fully equipped motorhome, with eight beds and instruments for all types of injuries.
A mobile hospital
Nowadays, Clinica Mobile has a waiting room, a first aid room, and physiotherapy and traumatology rooms. The latter has an x-ray machine and a darkroom connected to a small room, where the x-rays are studied and the medical record of each and every rider is kept. If necessary, one of the rooms can be converted into an emergency surgery.
In total, we're talking about a thirteen-by-four meter space that is open 24 hours a day during the Grand Prix; open, of course, not only to the riders but to any member of the paddock who suffers an injury or illness.
All in all, 32 people work in the clinic, but not all of them at the same time. The staff changes from Grand Prix to Grand Prix and may include workers from the circuit. When the World Championship travels to other continents, the material is all stored in a properly prepared container, so that it all arrives in perfect condition to the next date on the calendar.
Marc Márquez with Clinica Mobile's only spanish physiotherapist, Carlos García, at 2017 British GP. Photo: Mirco Lazzari
Clinica Mobile in figures (source: clínica móvil)
1. In the '96 season, more than 7000 consultations were made to Clinica Mobile, over a total of 17 GPs.
2. In 1981, more than 3000 patients were treated over the season.
3. Over 2016's 18 Grand Prix, 1065 hours were worked, manifesting in more than 2.000 medical consultations (1,110 for riders and 1,700 for paddock staff), 6400 physiotherapy treatments for the riders and 910 for paddock staff, and 250 x-rays.
Source: Clinica Mobile