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MARCH 13, 2003

Dubai looking at longterm F1 bid

Even as Bahrain builds its Formula 1 circuit for a race in 2004, the rival project in Dubai - dubbed the Dubai Autodrome and Business Park - is under construction and our sources suggest that the plan is for the country to bid for the Grand Prix when the contract with Bahrain runs out.

The track is being built by Union Properties, a development company run by Anis Al Jallaf, who is a major player in finance in Dubai, as the chief executive of the Emirates Bank. The business park will be aimed at the automobile and motor racing industries. The project has the support of the Dubai royal family, notably the Crown Prince, General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The 3.1-mile circuit will be completed in October 2003 to full FIA Grade 1 specification and the facility will also feature both indoor and outdoor kart tracks, an off-road driving course and a motor racing academy.

The short-term aim for Dubai is to build up an active motor racing scene in the Gulf and then bid for a Grand Prix when Bahrain's deal is finished.