Grand Prix extends to Abu Dhabi

F1 boss wants 20 races for Formula One Grand Prix from 2009.

    The race will be held on a track now under construction on Yas, a leisure island off oil-rich Abu Dhabi [AFP]

    Seven-year contract


    Yas Island, a 6,000 acre natural island, will also house a Ferrari theme park, three championship golf courses as well as hotel and retail developments.


    "At the moment we have got five countries waiting to see if we can put a race there," Ecclestone said.


    "We are aiming for 20 races. I think we are now well served in this part of the world," he added.


    "I would like to do one or two night races. It could be good in Japan or China"

    Bernie Ecclestone, F1 chief

    "We're very committed to Abu Dhabi. It's one of the great places in the world. We have a seven-year contract, but I'm sure the race will go on forever."


    Night races


    Ecclestone confirmed that he wants to add night races to the championship calendar with Singapore among the candidates.


    "I was the one who suggested it so we'll wait and see," Ecclestone told reporters afterwards.


    "I would like to do one or two night races. It could be good in Japan or China."


    Ecclestone is confident the new Abu Dhabi track, designed by German Herman Tilke, whose company is also responsible for the recent new circuits in Malaysia, China, Bahrain and Turkey, would ensure thrilling races.


    "The Tilke group has learnt its lessons from the tracks it built in the past and put all those lessons into this track. We consider it will offer the best F1 racing in the world," said Ecclestone.


    He spoke after watching several leading Formula One drivers, including double world champion Fernando Alonso, do demonstration laps in front of around 10,000 people.


    The 5.6km circuit will include a street section and a marina section.


    Tilke said: "It was initially a flat island, but we've created some man-made hills, so the track will rise up and down.


    "It will be exciting for the spectators because overtaking will be possible.


    "It is unique in that the track will be divided into two parts. One part will be permanent, for everyday use, while the other part of 2.5km will be used only by F1."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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