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JANUARY 4, 2006

A new ruler in Dubai

Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and the Emir of Dubai has died. He will be replaced as ruler of Dubai by his brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The family, including two other brothers: Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed have been responsible for building up Dubai both as a business and a sporting centre.

Sheikh Mohammed, the new ruler, is considered to be the major force in the development and is credited with projects such as The Palm, a $4 billion development reclaimed from the sea; the Burj Al Arab hotel and as the man behind the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race. His son Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ius the man who is behind the development of the Dubai Autodrome.

Sheikh Ahmed, the chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation and the Emirates airline, is understood to have been involved in discussions about starting a Formula 1 team in alliance with McLaren.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the Minister of Finance and Industry of the UAE.

The founder of the A1 Grand Prix series is Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, the son of Sheikh Hasher al Maktoum bin Maktoum , Director of Dubai Information Department who is a cousin of the new Emir.

While all of the family connections are very complicated, it is fair to say that the new Emir will probably have a more open view to hosting a Grand Prix in Dubai.