Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Middle East Thirsty for F1

It’s funny how the sands of the Formula 1 landscape have shifted over time. Imagine that the United States once hosted two F1 events. And until recently it was a long held tradition for Italy and Germany, two of F1’s Mecca’s to lay claim to double race dates…

Yet the ebb and flow of countries desiring tourism dollars has spurred a never ending struggle for Formula 1 events. While Honda’s Suzuka track has lost the battle to rival Toyota’s Mount Fuji circuit, there have been whispers of both tracks hosting races in the future…

But with the lucrative sway of oil money the Middle East has become the new “Double Whopper” of the future. Bahrain became the first Middle East country to host a Formula 1 race in 2004, signing an exclusive deal with F1 Supremo (Dictator) Bernie Ecclestone…

And while Bahrain has just signed a long term contract extension, another Middle East country has entered the fray. Abu Dhabi has just confirmed plans to host its inaugural Grand Prix upon being added to the 2009 F1 calendar…

Leading up to this announcement was the $40bn Abu Dhabi has thrown towards the development of Yas Island, which is to include a Ferrari World theme park as the Abu Dhabi government is keen to upstage Bahrain’s honor of Middle East “destination spots…”

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