F1: Abu Dhabi GP ready to deliver safe and successful event

The UAE’s resilience in dealing with the Covid-19 cases also inspired the Abu Dhabi GP organisers. (AFP file)
The UAE’s resilience in dealing with the Covid-19 cases also inspired the Abu Dhabi GP organisers. (AFP file)

Dubai - The Abu Dhabi GP will be held on December 13


Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 7 Dec 2020, 7:02 PM

Last updated: Mon 7 Dec 2020, 7:13 PM

In a virus-ravaged season that sucked the life out of many a big race, the wheels of the Formula One bandwagon kept moving nevertheless, allowing us to appreciate the enduring beauty of human spirit.

Now as the season reaches its climax on Sunday (December 13) at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix amid the raging pandemic, the local organisers have left no stone unturned in their attempt to deliver a successful event in a safe manner.

Saif Al Noaimi, the acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, said health and safety of everybody involved remained the primary focus of the organisers.

“Since the start of the pandemic we have kept a very close eye on what’s happening with events. So before the Australian Grand Prix (March) was scheduled to take place, we anticipated that this year was not going to be a normal year. And obviously we were into our planning for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at that stage,” Al Noaimi said while replying to a question from the Khaleej Times during a virtual interaction with the media on Monday.

“So with the start of the season delayed, starting later in the summer in Europe as opposed to its usual start in March, we kept a very close eye on obviously other events that were taking place, we received regular briefs from Formula One management as well as promoters that started delivering some of those early events in the summer.

“And being the 17th round of the season, we got the benefit from the lessons learnt from the 16 GPs that took place before us. We kept on adapting and enhancing our plans. So it’s been quite an interesting challenge for us. But ultimately health and safety of everybody was our primary focus.”

The UAE’s resilience in dealing with the Covid-19 cases also inspired the Abu Dhabi GP organisers.

“We are fortunate in Abu Dhabi to have very good response to the pandemic, and we are fortunate that we have the ability to host such events. We have seen the IPL (Indian Premier League) and the UFC Fight Island. We have seen those major events being delivered in Abu Dhabi successfully in a safe manner,” Al Noaimi said.

“It’s important for us to ensure that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix still took place, the season finale that everybody has become accustomed to, remained, and was delivered in a safe manner.”

After back-to-back races in Bahrain, the biggest names in the world of Formula One will race at the majestic Yas Marina Circuit, bringing the curtain down on an unprecedented season.

With question marks still hanging over Lewis Hamilton, who clinched his record-equalling seventh world championship title last month in Istanbul, after the Briton tested positive for coronavirus, Abu Dhabi could see a fierce battle between drivers aiming to the end the season on a positive note.

“The race last night (in Bahrain) was extremely exciting,” said Al Noaimi, referring to Sergio Perez’s maiden win.

“The number of people on the podium this season so far, the interesting thing is there are five different drivers (Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Perez), who have won races in 2020. So it has been a very exciting season so far.

“Four different teams have won races with five different drivers, so there has been a level of excitement and uncertainty going into each Grand Prix not knowing who the winner is going to be.

“It’s a result of lot of mid-level teams going up the ranks and getting into stronger positions and challenging more for the win. It’s also the result of some of the younger drivers now reaching a level where they are able to challenge some of the more seasoned champions that we have.

“So it has been a very exciting season. We are very much looking forward to some amazing action in Abu Dhabi as well.”

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