x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Abu Dhabi on the F1 calendar for 'the next 100 years'

If Bernie Ecclestone gets his way - which he invariably does - the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will remain on the Formula One calendar for a long, long time.

If Bernie Ecclestone gets his way - which he invariably does - the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will remain on the Formula One calendar for a long, long time. The chief executive of Formula One Management said the facilities at Yas Marina are so impressive that some tracks in Europe will struggle to retain their place on the F1 circuit. "What they have done here is quite special, but we can't ask everyone to do this, they have done an incredible job. This [race] will be here every year for the next 100 years, although probably not with me," said Ecclestone, who is 79.

Ecclestone admitted he had been uncertain the Yas Hotel and surrounding infrastructure would be complete for today's race, but was always sure the city's inaugural Grand Prix would take place. "I came here in April, I knew there was going to be a race and I knew they would finish the job, but I never thought they would finish all of this," he said. "I had doubts it would be finished, but I never had any doubts there would be a race here."

The seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was equally impressed by the circuit. "You have to be impressed and you have to say that they have done a fantastic job here. It is state of the art, it is very futuristic and it is enjoyable to come, even just as a spectator. It is very special," he said. Schumacher, who retired in 2006, was promoting safe driving in the UAE at an event at Yas Hotel.

sports@thenational.ae