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MARCH 28, 2002

Ickx suggests unity in Middle East

FORMER F1 driver and sports car racing legend Jacky Ickx was interviewed recently by the Gulf News and said that he believes that the Middle Eastern nations which are currently fighting one another to host a Grand Prix in the region should club together and work together rather than battle to be the one and only F1 race in the Middle East.

It is a nice idea but it is not clear how it would work as Bahrain and Dubai are both apparently willing to invest in the construction of F1 tracks and neither one is keen on sharing a Grand Prix event on an alternating basis - as this, in effect, halves the value of the investment.

It is looking more and more likely that there will eventually be a race in the Middle East but it is unlikely that there will be room for two races - although if the money is available the Formula One group of companies has rarely been known to turn it down. If there were two well-funded events in the Middle East, some of the European races would have to go (particularly if the planned Moscow race does ever get off the ground).

One of the races most likely to get the bullet would be Spa...

...where, of course, Ickx is a well-known figure and has an interest in making sure that the Belgium GP stays on the F1 calendar.