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Wowed by F1's 'Arabian Las Vegas'

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F1 Mole | 10:53 UK time, Saturday, 31 October 2009

When Formula 1 returned to the desert for its season finale in Abu Dhabi memories of Bahrain sprang to The Mole's mind; the flat golden horizon, the dry heat and sand sweeping across the circuit - and everywhere else.

All these things remain the same in Abu Dhabi - just 263 miles east of Bahrain - but the Yas Marina circuit is something else entirely.

The £800m-track has been dubbed the 'Arabian Monaco' but there is more than a dash of Las Vegas panache to the island complex carved out of the desert.

Team BBC landed long after sunset on Wednesday but despite the darkness our first impression of the circuit was a jumble of "wow, crazy, amazing, it's huge!"

The scale of F1's 67th Grand Prix venue is staggering.

The five-star Yas Hotel straddles the circuit and dominates the sky-line, especially when its hooded roof lights up at night in an array of colours.

Look left, right, behind and there is something else scrambling for attention; the grandstands - built to seat 50,000 fans - the VIP Sun Tower, the man-made marina, which just six months ago was another patch of sand.

abmoleap595.jpgThe new Yas Marina complex has raised the bar for F1 facilities

That's not to mention the inescapable sight of the giant prancing horse painted on the roof of Ferrari World, a huge theme park and homage to the Italian team which will open in 2010.

Less than 32 months ago none of this existed. Yas Island had neither roads nor electricity. No wonder it took 14,000 workers and 35 million man hours to build the circuit out of the sand.

The oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi took on the challenge of an F1 race because it wanted to put itself on the world map, establish itself as tourist destination and reap future 'macro-economic' benefits.

So far everyone - including the drivers - seems pleased with what the emirate has accomplished in such a short time.

"You enjoy it because there is always something to do on the track," says Renault's two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. "There is no time to breathe".

Nico Rosberg, of Williams, added: "There is no criticism, every corner is unique."

The twilight race means the days here are long; there are extra security checks - including a vigorous body search at the entrance to the track - and some members of the BBC team have been low on hot water. But those are the only mild complaints.

Abu Dhabi has a seven-year deal and that could eventually be extended to 20 races if the spectacular circuit delivers an event to match.

The grandstands were far from full during Friday practice and organisers will be keen to avoid the kind of criticism that Turkey and China attract about a lack of local support.

It is intriguing that Abu Dhabi makes its bow on the F1 calendar just as one of its oldest venues fights for its place on it.

It can hardly have pleased the organisers that Silverstone, a track in the middle of England, is threatening to steal its headlines.

But this 17-stop season has proved that F1 needs a variety of tracks from Melbourne's Albert Park, to Monaco's winding streets, the mountainous thrills of Spa and the dazzling desert delights of Abu Dhabi.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh sums it up: "This is a special venue. F1 needs these but we must not forget the roots of the sport."

Comments

  • 1. At 11:51am on 31 Oct 2009, meerkat loves melon wrote:

    it will be very difficult for support at this location as there is no f1 tradition. as you said the area had ro roads or electrcity never mind sports cars!

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  • 2. At 12:39pm on 31 Oct 2009, cleverdesertmonkey wrote:

    Went to the track yesterday and the pit walk a day earlier. Never thought it was going to be ready but it is and it looks good. The noise was amazing around the Hairpin. Jamiroquai sounded pretty good also.

    Not much 'local' support yet but we'll see what the crowd looks like tomorrow. I hope it's not just 50,000 expats.

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  • 3. At 12:45pm on 31 Oct 2009, rupertbu wrote:

    At 11:51am on 31 Oct 2009, joeychavezbam

    Joey do not be deceived by the written word, Yas Marina was dredged from the sea plus, and as for sports cars, check out in Google "The Rainbow Sheikh"!

    When Abu Dhabi decide to do something, without the constraints of planning permissions etc, then the job gets done rapidly and very well.

    Masdar City is being built in Abu Dhabi Emirate and will be first carbon neutral city in the world!

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  • 4. At 12:46pm on 31 Oct 2009, CerezoANDSocrates wrote:

    I think joeychavezbam you underestimate the passion that this emirate and Dubai both have for racing. Phone Directory support and ask for karting centres and there are several around the area (at least two that i know of). My cousin is crazy for formula 1 and no doubt has already been bugging his parents to take him to this venue to experience this exhilarating sport.
    The karting centres in dubai (by Sports City) have both indoor (800 metres) and outdoor(1200 metres) venues, and have always been busy when i have gone, and there is a proper race track there too!
    There is already a base for the sport in the UAE. Abu Dhabi will still be a race circuit 15 years from now.

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  • 5. At 1:06pm on 31 Oct 2009, redbrazil wrote:

    32 months, 14,000 workers, 35 million man hours. That means everyone worked approximately 78 hour weeks to build this circuit. Read an interesting article in the Gaurdian on how Abu Dhabi was being built. I wonder if the same conditions were experienced by workers building this circuit. Kind of takes the edge off the achievement. How many of the 14,000 workers get to see the fruits of their labours with a free pass to the race ?

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  • 6. At 3:25pm on 31 Oct 2009, Paddy Nesbitt wrote:

    @5

    The workers were most likely... 'contractors' from Asia. I should imagine most of them have long gone home

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  • 7. At 3:55pm on 31 Oct 2009, manuel007 wrote:

    ''No wonder it took 14,000 workers'' If the UK government had lent just half of what it was invested in A.Dhabi in UK sports (light years from what from it was invested in the banking sector because of the credit crunch), it would have done wonders to our economy. donnington park and silverstone both are outdated venues because of neglect.

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  • 8. At 4:42pm on 31 Oct 2009, Hookers_armpit wrote:

    "Masdar City will be first carbon neutral city in the world!"

    Lets believe that when we see it shall we.

    The emirate is after all an entirely oil based economy and heaven knows the carbon footprint of constructing this track and bringing the formula one circus to it.



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  • 9. At 5:25pm on 31 Oct 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    Bernie Ecclestone is ruining Formula 1. He appears to be quite happy to prostitute the sport to the highest bidders and doesn't give a hoot about tradition, heritage and least of all the fans. The fact that Canada, The United States, France and possibly the UK (all countries that have produced world champions)have been sacrificed to make way for Turkey, China, Bahrain and now Abu Dhabi is nothing short of scandalous. These venues have no tradition of motorsport, their governments are just on a big ego trip. Their populace couldn't care less about F1. As for this "Las Vegas of the Middle East," it will be like everything else in that part of the world. No money will be spent on it's upkeep and it will fall down within twenty years.

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  • 10. At 7:32pm on 31 Oct 2009, Andy_diver wrote:

    Hookers-armpit - sorry but Abu Dhabi is not an entirely oil based economy; whilst a large percentage of the Emirates wealth comes from oil, investments are also a massive part. Abu Dhabi money is everywhere these days.

    Redbrazil - don't believe everything you read on the BBC. The estimate of 14,000 workers is incorrect - it's actually 41,000 so the hours will work out a bit better. They are still in the area because whilst the circuit is complete there is still much more work to do. The 'labour camps' for the construction workers on the circuit are pretty good so the edge isn't really taken off!!

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  • 11. At 10:21pm on 31 Oct 2009, robayeit wrote:

    A few gripes really, first ONLY 50,000 silverstone pulls in quadruple that and could probably double it if they could build more stands. I think silverstone should just sign the deal they got then work around it, just get the race for next year then work it from there.

    Abu Dhabi looks great but i think it will petter out and just be another modern day circuit you cant beat circuits like Monaco, Monza, Interlagos, Silverstone, Suzuka, and in my view the best track in the planet, after the proper Nurburing, as i aint trying to spell its proper name, spa Francorchamp, with there heritage and the fact that these tracks you can overtake on. Interlagos 2 weeks ago how many overtaking manorveurs where there, they just kept coming.

    So to stop the arguement i think silverstone should sign the deal they have cause from what Bernie said you aint getting better, then work from there, cause Silverstone has the biggest crowds in the season and that IS the MAIN reason why you cant not have a British grand prix, cause only monza has the same fan base

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  • 12. At 02:45am on 01 Nov 2009, dubai-tractorboy wrote:

    Having worked on the construction of the circuit for the last 21 months let me take this opportunity to put some peoples 'facts' right!!

    Joey: You plainly have never visited the GCC, these people are fanatics when it comes to cars and racing; with a massive expat contingent filling the grandstands for F1 is not a problem, in fact their is not enough capacity at present so expect further enlargement.

    Redbrazil: The workers by GCC standards are well looked after, Aldar's stance from the very beginning was to give the workers the best conditions possible, a massive labour camp with recreational facility's you would not find anywhere else in the Middle East. Yes a long working day is expected here, 6 days a week 12 hours a day (still don't make the figures add up though!)

    Sykousa: Another duff opinion; ADMM are the management team for the circuit along with an ever growing roster of FM teams both in house and via the contractors who installed the specialised systems for the circuit; so no the circuit will be maintained.

    F1 mole: artistic license for the marina being a patch of sand 6 months ago I presume ;-)

    Hope you find the above helpful?

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  • 13. At 06:04am on 01 Nov 2009, Gowers great Tiger Moth incident wrote:

    @ 12 dubai-tractorboy:
    Not wanting to take the shine off this marvellous venue, but the facts are that construction workers mainly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc receive just a few hundred dollars per month and safety standards are poor, which how this achievement has been pulled off. It would not be possible to construct such a venue in Europe, or North America due to much higher wages, labour law and most important safety regulations that are stringently applied rather than ignored. (By the way, I am currently working in construction in ME).

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  • 14. At 07:08am on 01 Nov 2009, idreaminbinary wrote:

    @5 redbrazil - go back to remedial maths class. It's 78 hour months, or 19 hour weeks on average. If Andy_diver @10 is right then that works out as 6.5 hours per week. But of course this is still a meaningless number and a waste of my time. Anyway, the track looks excellent.

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  • 15. At 08:45am on 01 Nov 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    @ 12 dudai-tractorboy
    I appreciate your specialised knowledge of this venue and your taking the time to put some "Facts" straight. (I presume you mean 'Yes' the circuit will be maintained?)
    I have no idea who ADMM are, but I do know this. Once their bills are not being paid, they won't show much interest in maintaining this facility.
    Who will be using the circuit for the 51 weeks of the year when Ecclestones' three ring circus isn't in town? It isn't the big money boys who keep these facilities in use throughout the year you know. It's the thousands of clubman racers and trackside volunteers who are the heart and soul of motorsport. I have spent a considerable amount of time in that part of the world, and don't recall meeting any of the 'fanatics' to whom you refer. I've met a number of nouveau riche Arabs who like to own the latest Italian four wheeled fashion accessory. I don't think they will be volunteering their spare time to organise, marshall and take part in clubmans meetings in 110 degree heat.
    The BBC has got it right in it's index at the beginning of the sport section. It lists 'Formula One' and 'Motorsports' under separate headings. Perhaps the rest of us should follow their lead and leave Ecclestone and his 'made for TV' money printing enterprise to the armchair experts, (maybe they could join forces with NASCAR?) whilst the rest of us continue to take part in and enjoy motorsports in their purest form away from the glare of the TV lights. Then we would see exactly who needs who.
    Hope you find the above helpful.

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  • 16. At 08:53am on 01 Nov 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    Re. my comments at 15. I obviously meant 'dubai-tractorboy.' Seems like my duff spelling is right up there with my 'duff opinion.'

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  • 17. At 09:05am on 01 Nov 2009, daveinabudhabi wrote:

    As someone living in Abu Dhabi, it is interesting to see what others make of the place. However, in the local press, it has been stated that Abu Dhabi is paying 35 million US dollars for the privilege of holding the GP. This is apparently twice that of the European venues. Does anyone know if all this is true, and how does that money stack up against what is being talked about for Silverstone?

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  • 18. At 10:01am on 01 Nov 2009, John Kennedy wrote:

    We can argue for years on the ethics behind labourers that work in GCC countries. Yes, their pay is poor compared to the Western world but the money that they take back to their home countries at the end of the day is more than what they would earn if they never left in the first place.

    This point is taking the shine off what is an unbelievable racing track. The driver's are already fans of the circuit without even racing it! So here's to a great race this afternoon despite the championship already one - I'm looking forward to it.

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  • 19. At 3:33pm on 01 Nov 2009, dubai-tractorboy wrote:

    Whoooooowa their Sykousa!!

    Thanks for the long winded arty farty response!

    I'm not interested in peoples observations or opinions, I'm just relaying some 'facts'?

    But in answer to your 1 salient point; the circuit has numerous events programmed over the coming months, who knows about the prevailing years, that's the risk you take when you spend billions?

    I agree with your point about Bernie, I also think he does need his head tested buying into QPR!!

    Blue Army

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  • 20. At 3:47pm on 01 Nov 2009, dubai-tractorboy wrote:

    99neil

    You virtually answered your own question on the subject of cost?

    As for safety unfortunately in the GCC it depends on the developer how stringently the safety aspect is executed, on this project I have to say the main contractor has been exemplary.

    I also would like to take this opportunity to complain about the UK government forcing me to work in these far off tax free locations!!

    ;-))

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  • 21. At 3:55pm on 01 Nov 2009, dubai-tractorboy wrote:

    PS.
    I've been in Kuala Lumpur for the race weekend, sick of the sight of Yas Marina how ever spectacular it is?

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  • 22. At 6:31pm on 01 Nov 2009, RamshawsGP wrote:

    Politics politics.....thought this was an F1 forum!!!!
    There's already enough of that don't you think?

    A venue as beatiful as this - why was the GP not broadcast in HD?
    Come on BBC sort it out....and Bernie stop saying not enough people want HD because thats just not true.

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  • 23. At 9:14pm on 01 Nov 2009, mccormickja wrote:

    Wow. There seem to be a whole heap of generalisations being thrown about. I was born in the UAE and lived here for 12 years. I'm now back for the GP. Anyway, I can safely say the locals here are generally (ahem) crazy about cars and racing - just look at some of the cars people have our here and some of the driving!

    I don't know about some of the other recent F1 destinations, but the F1 here has seemed to have kicked up a lot of interest and national pride. And why not? I mean, I'm not sure if the actual races track itself is that great to drive, for the drivers obviously, but the venue is amazing and looks incredible. The atmosphere wasn't up to the standards of Monza, aure, but you'd expect that. And a lot of Monza's atmosphere was simply shown through people blowing horns, which they didn't have hear (noise of the engines is quite enough, thank you).

    The race was a bit of a stinker, but I enjoyed the weekend on the whole (even with Kimi's dissapointing race). It was very well done and I think the UAE, or rather Abu Dhabi (who have been sensible with their finances, unlike Dubai...), should be congratulated.

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  • 24. At 2:06pm on 02 Nov 2009, hackerjack wrote:

    Monaco, Monza, Interlagos, Silverstone, Suzuka, and in my view the best track in the planet, after the proper Nurburing, as i aint trying to spell its proper name, spa Francorchamp, with there heritage and the fact that these tracks you can overtake on.
    ---------

    Hmmm, Abu Dabi has 3 proper overtaking spots, Monaco has 0, Silverstone has maybe 2, Interlagos really only 1, Spa before teh advent of KERS had 1.

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  • 25. At 2:11pm on 02 Nov 2009, hackerjack wrote:

    first ONLY 50,000 silverstone pulls in quadruple that and could probably double it if they could build more stands.
    -------

    Makes almost no difference, for 999/1000 F1 fans it is purely a TV spectator sport. I would prefer they raced on interesting tracks with good facilities and had no fans at all than race at a delapodated old circuit that has for safety reasons had any real characther beaten out of it in front on 1000000 fans. Most of the traditional circuits have been neutered over the years, Au Rouge might still be fun to drive but provides little challenge these days and certainly it is no longer possible for a good driver to make up time there, similar things can be said about 130R and Parabolica.

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  • 26. At 7:22pm on 02 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    This latest boring "Gliterati GP" at Abu Dhabi joins two other useless venues - Valencia & Singapore. Processional races that lack the excitement of wheel-to-wheel racing are okay for those who just want to be seen among the rich & famous, but no good for the true enthusiast who wants to see proper racing.
    We need circuits where there is overtaking in abundance, & where spectators & the TV cameras can see a panorama of racing - not just the single corner views.
    The latest glut of new "slot-car" circuits is just there to make money for "you-know-who" - it's not there for the sport.
    YES - many of the older circuits do need to improve spectator & pit facilities, but to have to provide so much in support of the small return on little used corporate facilities - it's ridiculous.
    We need to ensure that the REAL race circuits stay in the diary for all time & are not destroyed by financial greed.

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  • 27. At 09:25am on 03 Nov 2009, Mike wrote:

    Apart from the start and the last 5 laps Abu Dhabi was another boring race on a Tilke circuit. Lovely to look at but very dull. If it wasn't for Button then it would have been even worse.

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  • 28. At 10:59am on 03 Nov 2009, Lord_Lancashire wrote:

    For Christ sake, here we go with yet another stream of pessimism from F1's pessimistic fans. Brilliant.

    New circuits these days are never even given a chance before being branded a failure. We must all remember that circuits that everyone seem to worship, like Monaco (winner of the dullest race of 2009 award), Silverstone (winner of the 2nd dullest race in 2009 award) and the rest were all new at one time!

    F1 is being shown to new audiences to spread it's brilliance and popularity, and what better way to do it than on a fantastic looking new circuit. OK, the race wasn't the best, but it was by no means not good! It had all the ingredients there...it's not the circuit at all that's preventing good racing, it's the troublesome regs that inhibit overtaking and the like.

    People seem to be constantly walking round with their noses in the air. F1 should be all about a mix the great and old, and the great and new...and give the new ones a chance.

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  • 29. At 12:55pm on 03 Nov 2009, Ian Barker wrote:

    As a long-time UAE resident, I resent the continual sniping at the UAE for its alleged lack of motorsport heritage and/or interest. So maybe a few facts won't go amiss.
    1. Dubai hosted a Grand Prix as long ago as 1981 (look it up if you don't believe me)
    2. The UAE Desert Challenge is one of the world's toughest cross-country rallies, part of the FIA and FIM cross-country championships, and the 2010 event will be its 30th edition!
    3. Dubai Autodrome opened in 2004 and has a busy calendar of moto/auto/kart events. Yes, it is maintained, and no, it's not falling down. Look on the website!
    4. Down the road in Umm Al Quwain, the Motorplex hosts drag racing, drifting etc.
    5. There are three hill-climb venues, which are absolutely packed for every event.
    6. There are at least active 4 kart tracks that I know of.
    For a country which didn't exist before 1971 I reckon that's a pretty impressive demonstration of our interest in motorsport.
    As for Yas Island, it's an amazing circuit and to slag it off for lack of overtaking is a joke, nobody who saw the Porsche/Chevy/GP2 Asia races would say such a thing! And none of the F1 drivers joined the chorus of disapproval either.
    I don't want F1 to turn its back on the traditional venues, but let's not be naive - F1 will follow the money, whether we like it or not.

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  • 30. At 1:56pm on 03 Nov 2009, mark_r6 wrote:

    I watched the race on Sunday - I thought it was boring. However, I'm willing to concede the point made by UAE residents/trackside spectators that the support-races provided some close, hard racing.

    What concerned most about the TV coverage through qualifying and the race was that the camera often would follow a car into a corner and then pan back to give an atmospheric, artistic shot of the setting sun, or the marina, or the Yas Hotel. This lends weight to the conspiracy theories of why Ecclestone is sourcing these types of venues. The older tracks, tracks which generally provide close and entertaining racing, these types of tricks aren't needed.

    Ppl seem mostly to be lauding the venue for how it looks and its facilities. For a race, I'm not that interested in the circuit furniture. Give me the Parabolica, Craner Curves, Eau Rouge, the Loews Hairpin, the banking of Indianapolis. I'm entirely uninterested and unaffected by an F1 car passing a hotel building, for the car to leave the shot and the hotel to hold the camera's attention.

    The spectacle and focus of F1 should be the race, not what's alongside the circuit. Much more is needed to repair the rot at the core of F1 - cars cannot race closely. Glitz and glamour of new venues can't mask it and won't make up for it.

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  • 31. At 04:06am on 04 Nov 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    Interesting selection of comments.
    Good to hear so many different points of view. Apart from Tractorboy, (There's a word for people that aren't interested in listening to other peoples observations or opinions. I'd like to think you can work it out.)
    I guess the major split is from those commenting from the Persian Gulf area and those of us corresponding from the more traditional heartlands of motorsport.
    I suppose that we have to get used to the fact that times change and that if there is such a huge fan base in areas such as the Middle East and China we should accept it. I don't have a problem with that. However; Notwithstanding the moral implications of taking the Ecclestone TV circus to countries with such an appalling Human Rights record and lack of basic human freedoms such as those of us in Europe and the USA take for granted, I go back to my original point and ask if we should sacrifice Grand Prix in the traditional homes of motorsport (where there is a massive fan base) or look forward to the Zimbabwe Grand Prix of 2011 just because the non-elected government of that country is prepared to spend a sizeable proportion of it's GDP on a racetrack/hotel complex? I'm sure that these countries could rope in the services of some expat Brit guy prepared to turn his back in exchange for a sizeable tax-free remuneration.

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  • 32. At 09:56am on 04 Nov 2009, Alex R wrote:

    Please BBC, enough of the sycophantic fawning, I'm sure you were given the nicest hotel rooms, and I'm sure, as Eddie stated the "celebreties" were treated marvelously, but there is more to F1 than that surely? Brilliant resources? Of course it has brilliant resources, it was built on petro-dollars and ego. I wonder if the poor saps who had to build the circuit had fabulous resources? Were they treated marvelously? How much were the Indian, Pakistani and Phillipino builders and staff paid? Not so sure they would have the readies to go watch the racing.

    To cap it all off, what did this paragon of a circuit give use? Boredom, with a capital "B". The cars seemed to have got lost at an airport for all the atmosphere the place had. They scrapped Magny-Cours because it was in the middle of nowhere and give us what instead? LOL as the l33t kids say.

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  • 33. At 9:40pm on 04 Nov 2009, Jackoru wrote:

    I was at the Abu Dhabi F1 over the race weekend and it was fabulous from start to finish. This is how F1 should be. Where the fans are treated like royalty. The facilities were out of this world. All around the Yas Island Marina circuit a new world is taking shape on a scale that makes Disneyland look like a Mickey Mouse operation.
    As for all that liberal tosh about exploited workers. Rubbish!! What do you think these workers would be doing if they were not working in the UAE. Come on tell me! Sounds to me that most of you are just plain jealous of the UAE's wealth and it would appear jealous of those who have got out the crumbling overcrowded UK to seak a better future in the UAE. Finally overtaking is function of the cars not the circuit. We want fewer European circuits and more circuits like Abu Dhabi in F1

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  • 34. At 05:30am on 05 Nov 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    Re. #33. I'm corresponding from sunny Southern California. We're not particularly overcrowded here, but we're quite envious of many European institutions. I'm happy you feel you have a better future(???) in the UAE, but somehow feel that the government there would be better off investing the oil wealth in something a little more beneficial and longer lasting to the indigenous population than a hotel and racetrack. As for the "liberal tosh." We know only too well how to exploit cheap foreign labour in this part of the world. It's nothing to be proud of. Incidentally; The government of the UAE considers you to be cheap foreign labour.

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  • 35. At 10:00am on 05 Nov 2009, Jackoru wrote:

    Re # 34. Exploiting cheap foreign labour enabled your country to develop into the mighty power that it is today. You may not be proud of it but it is a matter of historical fact. However you fail to tell me what these 'explioted' workers would be doing if they were not working in the UAE. I think you may be better informed if you would try to explore the reasoning behinds the UAE's decision to build such amazing facilities as the Yas Marina circuit. If you don't you just come across as ignorant.

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  • 36. At 05:27am on 06 Nov 2009, Steve Sykes wrote:

    Re. #33 and #35. Okay. Let's take your ideas through to their logical conclusion. Fewer European circuits? Which ones should we drop next? Monza? Spa? Monaco? Now let's replace them. I've already suggested Zimbabwe. Maybe we could add Iran and North Korea.
    Next point. I'm reluctant to mention the glaringly obvious, but I feel compelled to let you know that Disneyland IS a Mickey Mouse operation.
    Back to the "liberal tosh." The USA developed despite exploitation. Not because of it. Look up Abe Lincoln on Wikipedia when you've got a moment.
    Whilst you're there, check up on the spelling of "exploited."
    Not wishing to come across as ignorant. I'm at a loss to explain why the people of the UAE would want to spend such an extravagant amount of money on a racetrack/hotel complex. Maybe it's because they wish to reward the foreign guest workers for all their hard efforts in allowing the country to become the shining paragon of freedom and human rights to which it's democratically elected government so selflessly aspires. (Yes, I know that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but I couldn't resist that one.)
    Finally. There is not one single thing about the Middle East that I am even the smallest part jealous of. And I have spent a large amount of time in the region.

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  • 37. At 4:47pm on 03 Aug 2010, U14574096 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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