Yas Marina Circuit CEO confident of Abu Dhabi Formula One race's long-term future

Denzil Pinto 11/10/2017
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Yas Marina Circuit (YMC) CEO Al Tariq Al Ameri has no concerns over the future of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying it’s a “win-win situation” for the race to remain on the Formula One calendar in the long-term.

Since making its debut in 2009, the event has gone from strength to strength and is now established as one of the key races on the F1 schedule.

Next month, YMC will again host the season-finale as the elite motorsport drivers do battle for the last time in 2017 from November 24-26.

Abu Dhabi has already been confirmed for the final race of the 2018 season but there will be no stop in Malaysia in the immediate future after it was withdrawn due to funding. The future of the British Grand Prix is also in doubt after Silverstone, the venue, confirmed it has activated a break clause to cease hosting the race after 2019.

But Al Ameri insists the future is bright for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and will continue to exceed expectations year on year.

“I think we are confident we have a good event here and I think for both entities, us and Formula One (organisation) understand the value behind the hosting,” he said.

“I think it is win-win for everyone and I think it will remain the same until something changes.”

On the track, with Lewis Hamilton needing 16 points to outscore Sebastian Vettel, it looks certain the Brit will win his fourth world crown before he even travels to Abu Dhabi at the end of the next month.

But the YMC chief says whether the title race is decided or not, it doesn’t hamper their plans on putting on a spectacle for the fans.

“We have seen it before and I don’t think it took anything away from the event,” he said. “People still came, enjoyed themselves, and watched their favourite drivers compete without any restraints. It has the same feel to it and people enjoyed the finale.

“So we have seen it both, when the championship title was decided here and otherwise and I think both are really good.”

The Formula One is by far the glamorous highlight on the YMC calendar but their new season for 2017-18, will be their biggest year.

More than 400 events will be hosted. As well as a series of motorsport activities, the Abu Dhabi Tour, ITU World Triathlon and the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Abu Dhabi 2018 MENA Regional Games will also be staged in March.

Peter Wheeler, CEO of Special Olympics Abu Dhabi 2019, is delighted the track will open the proceedings.

“Yas Marina Circuit offers a superb facility for our athletes to prepare and compete across multiple disciplines for the 2018 Regional Games,” he said.

“We are thrilled to partner with Yas Marina Circuit and fully integrate our regional event into Abu Dhabi’s thriving health and fitness community.”

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