Philippe Gurdjian, who will be running the capital's first Grand Prix, has stepped down from his long-term day job to concentrate on the race in Abu Dhabi. During the past eight years, Mr Gurdjian helped develop the Paul Ricard circuit in France into one of the most sophisticated racing tracks in the world. Mr Gurdjian, 63, will now be based almost exclusively in Abu Dhabi, and has said that his departure from Paul Ricard was a way of "reorienting my professional life, taking on some of the other challenges that await me".
Officials with the Executive Affairs Authority, Mr Gurdjian's employers, are understood to be "delighted" at his commitment to working in Abu Dhabi. Mr Gurdjian was appointed manager of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, the newly formed company running the 2009 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in March. Among his priorities will be addressing minor details in the design of the Yas Island circuit.
The track would need to be completed several months ahead of the provisional race date of Nov 9 2009, in order for substantial amounts of testing to take place. Mr Gurdjian has a long history in the motorsport industry, having competed in his first 24-hour Le Mans race in 1975. firstname.lastname@example.org