The safety car, much more than just a safe car

3 minutes

Carlos Ezpeleta, longtime “Omega 1” driver (as is called the first ‘Safety car’), reveals all the secrets of the work they do at the MotoGP World Championship.

Safety car
The safety car, much more than just a safe car

Did you know that the #MotoGP has not one but two safety cars? #RepsolTeam

Many MotoGP fans will have had the opportunity, at some time, to see the Safety Car on a sighting lap at some circuit, or have even noticed that it does the entire circuit after the riders on the first lap of the race. But it has many more functions apart from these.

In fact, the safety car, as Ezpeleta explains to us, is before anything else a “medical car” and there isn’t just one in each GP, but two. The cars are known as Omega 1 and Omega 2 and form part of the Dorna-sponsored medical team during the Championship.

This team is led by Dr. Ángel Charte who works alongside two prestigious traumatologists, Xavier Mir and Enrique Cáceres. The group is also made up of emergency doctors and a nurse.

But of course not everyone from the team can travel to every Grand Prix. As a rule, Dr. Charte must travel with one of the traumatologists, the nurse, and at least one of the emergency doctors.

13 San Marino 10, 11, 12 y 13 de agosto de 2015; circuito de Misano. MotoGP; mgp; motogp

Cars for saving lives

Of course whenever there is a crash, the safety team responds immediately, as do the rest of the organisation’s cars and an ambulance. Also, if one of the riders loses consciousness, the red flag is waved and the other riders return to the pit boxes.

We should also keep in mind that all of the marshals (volunteers stationed along the entire circuit to supervise any possible incident that may occur) have direct communication with the Race Direction. As soon as one of the marshals observes any kind of incident, they immediately communicate that information to all other parties. All vehicles then exit the racetrack so the incident can be responded to in a matter of seconds.

13 San Marino 10, 11, 12 y 13 de agosto de 2015; circuito de Misano. MotoGP; mgp; motogp

The necessary tools

The two medical cars are equipped with medicine and the latest medical tools including ones that can be used for resuscitation if necessary. Unfortunately, these tools have been used in the past, so one can understand why it is so important that they be readily available.

If any injuries or serious problems occur, the driver is transferred to a medical centre where they are attended to by local doctors. The paddock is also equipped with a mobile clinic, although the clinic is more focused on physical therapy treatments, rehabilitation, or less severe problems.

In addition, the mobile clinic not only focuses its attention on the riders, but also on everyone who is part of the paddock. If a situation arises and someone must be transferred to the hospital, it is not uncommon that someone from the mobile clinic is sent to follow-up on the patient’s condition.

We are of course talking about a complex and well-organised system that has worked this way since 2012 and has proven to be fast and “very successful” on multiple occasions. Nevertheless, the safety crew has admitted that “the less we need to use it, the better.”

#MotoGP boasts 3 doctors of great prestige: Angel Charte, Xavier Mir and Enrique Caceres.

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