How to get an Arab F1 driver

The Arab world is beginning to get excited about motor racing, following the first Grand Prix in the region in Bahrain and the recent announcement that there will be a Team Dubai F1 operation in 2006. The problem is that despite the new circuits which have been built in Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar, there is still not much infrastructure in the region. Formula X is hoping to change that situation and has announced a series of winter races in Bahrain and Dubai. The series will feature a total of 12 races at six events, three in Bahrain and three in Dubai. The series organizer is Claude Chantala, formerly the man who operated the La Chatre racing school in France and who ran a Formula 3 team for the fuel station company Avia. Chantala and Formula X co-founder Eric Van de Poele have been friends since Van de Poele won the La Chatre racing school prize back in the early 1980s and launched his racing career which included F1.

The winner of the Formula X Gulf series will be given the chance to race in Europe in 2005.

"Formula X is like a racing academy," said Chantala. "We want to encourage drivers, especially from the region, to come forward and fulfil their motor sport dreams."

Chantala expects a grid of around 16 cars when the series begins in November.

"At least half of these drivers will have to be Arabs," said Chantala.

Formula X was designed to be a low-cost entry-level formula around the world with a season in the Van Diemen-built cars costing only $50,000 compared to budgets of estimated $200,000 needed to compete in other entry-level racing series.

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