Sport | Motorsport

Ecclestone game for grand prix in Dubai

F1 supremo says Qatar is also in talks and insists 20-race calendar is ideal for a season

  • By Alaric Gomes Senior Reporter
  • Published: 20:26 February 5, 2013
  • Gulf News

Dubai: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is optimistic that the five-year agreement with Emirates airline may, indeed, lead to Dubai hosting one of the races on the F1 calendar in the near future.

“Why not? Everything is possible. Abu Dhabi does not have an exclusivity of hosting races in the UAE,” Ecclestone said in response to a query after yesterday’s announcement of the multi-million dollar agreement between Formula One and Emirates.

“One cannot exclude this possibility of leaving Dubai out in the future. Abu Dhabi is there and so is Dubai now,” he added.

Asked if there was talk about Emirates or Dubai coming together to form or launch a Formula One team of their own, Ecclestone said: “I think that would be a natural thing to do.”

Ecclestone further admitted that he has also been having discussions with neighbouring Qatar in hosting a Formula One race in the future. “Yes, there have been talks with Qatar and these have been ongoing over a period of time. There are hindrances there [in Qatar] and these are same as the ones here [in Dubai],” he shrugged.

Ecclestone, however, stressed that the Formula One calendar would never be comfortable with more than 20 races in a season. “Twenty races is more or less we should aim for in a season. If it is more than that, then it will be difficult for teams. Twenty races will be the limit,” he added.

The 2013 season, which commences with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17, so far has 19 races. There have been talks of a 20th venue being added in the near future and the best bet could be Sochi in Russia following last weekend’s meeting between Sochi officials, led by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Ecclestone.

“I was very, very impressed with the set-up for the 2014 Winter Olympics and what they are doing for Formula One. Putin seems delighted with the Winter Olympics and Formula One,” Ecclestone said.

Gulf News