Expect an exciting race at Abu Dhabi GP, says Al Noaimi

Al Noaimi noted that the competition and the wheel-to-wheel racing have been at extremely high levels this season

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Ferrari's Charles Leclerc during a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. — Reuters
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc during a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. — Reuters

Published: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 7:04 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 7:06 PM

Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, and the rest of the Formula One teams have landed in Abu Dhabi. It’s time to burn rubber during the only twilight race in the F1 calendar at the iconic Yas Marina Circuit.

Get ready for an exciting wheel-to-wheel racing experience at the 15th edition of Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023.

“This is the first time that Ethara will be promoting and managing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hopefully, our customers and our visitors will get to see a difference,” Saif Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Ethara – a new entity formed by the merging of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM) and Flash Entertainment, said in an interview with Khaleej Times.

Al Noaimi noted that the competition and the wheel-to-wheel racing have been at extremely high levels this season, and fans should expect another thrilling race weekend.

“These are the 20 best drivers in the world. They are in Abu Dhabi with the aim of finishing as far ahead of the competition as possible. Max Verstappen has won the championship but he also is competing at a very high level. He still goes for the fastest lap. He still tries to build the biggest gap to his competition. So, we do expect that to continue and have an exciting race.”

Verstappen’s partner Sergio Perez has sealed the second position followed by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

However, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso are tied in fourth position with 200 points with McLaren’s Lando Norris (195) and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (188) closely behind.

Al Noaimi pointed out that the season has seen different team drivers making it to the podium.

“At the start of the season, you saw the likes of Aston Martin on the podiums. And now we’re seeing Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes competing," he said.

"The second place and the constructors’ championship will be decided in Abu Dhabi. It's where the financial compensation for the constructors goes.

"Mercedes and Ferrari are both competing for second place, so there’s a financial incentive. It’ll be an exciting race.”

In the constructors’ championship, Mercedes sit second with a four-point advantage over Ferrari while McLaren have an 11-point gap with Aston Martin for fourth position.

Al Noaimi pointed out that as many as 5,000 additional seats were added for the season-finale as there was an “unprecedented demand”.

“We went on sale earlier than ever and sold out within weeks many of our products, including grandstands, and general admission. Over the last few months, we’ve worked hard to include more products.”

Among the additions made to the circuit include the North Straight and the West Straight grandstands, providing amazing views of the track. There are some 15 branded hospitality offerings with high-end restaurants and brands.

Last year, 140,000 visitors, with 70 per cent from outside the UAE, attended the race.

“And out of that 70 per cent, 80 per cent of them spent four nights or more in the UAE. So, 14 years of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has taken us to a point where it’s truly a global destination from an event perspective. We expect higher attendance than last year,” Al Noaimi said.


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