Formula One high-flyer Bernie Ecclestone shows the sky’s the limit when it comes to spreading his Grand Prix gospel worldwide.
Only this week, I discovered why he had postponed a planned lunch date with me – he was taking a top-secret flight to Dubai to clinch a deal with Emirates as global partner to his showcase championship.
It is typical of the sport’s supremo that he honoured what was no doubt an Emirates’ request to keep quiet on the dealings between them until the details had been thrashed out to their mutual satisfaction and benefit.
His delight and complete trust in doing business with associates from the UAE are one of his oft-stated pleasures. Now his show will be stylishly placarded around the world at 30,000-feet.
Ecclestone’s confidence was underpinned by the organisers and authorities behind the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a project so satisfactorily completed he never tires of spreading accolades about the expertise and professionalism of the movers and shakers who made it all possible – and so quickly and efficiently.
On that basis, his readiness to go into partnership with Emirates when so many rival international business moguls ache to avail themselves of the opportunity is quite understandable.
Their joy, too, in the partnership scheduled for at least five years, is evidenced by the comments made by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
Ecclestone told me on his return: “I am really pleased that we have made this arrangement. The benefits for both parties will be considerable. And from my personal standpoint, it is always a distinct pleasure to have any dealings with people from the UAE. Emirates has a first-class international reputation, and I am very pleased to welcome such a prestigious company as a global partner.