Abu Dhabi wants final slot to be its own

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chiefs are to make a push to ensure the final slot on the Formula 1 calendar becomes their own indefinitely

Abu Dhabi wants final slot to be its own

The inaugural event at Yas Marina was given the season finale slot last year and, although it originally lost that prestigious place to Brazil in the provisional 2010 calendar, a reshuffle of the schedule in December saw Abu Dhabi reinstated as the final event.

Having welcomed that move, Yas Marina's CEO Richard Cregan has said his event is now keen to lobby for Abu Dhabi to retain that place for the long term.

"It's a big help to be the last race on the calendar," he told AUTOSPORT in a telephone interview.

"Although either way [being last or the penultimate] would have been okay, as we were in the championship for this year and happy with that, to have the last race means we can maximise the whole effort made here to deliver a magnificent venue.

"I think now at the end of the season, people will come here, will take a few days holiday and enjoy the benefit of the area.

"Keeping that finale slot [for the long term] is definitely our aim. It is something that we will have to keep pushing for - and it is our target for the reasons I suggested before.

"It will give us a bit of stability as well - particularly with the weather as it is at that time of year here and the fact it is moving out a bit later to November 14."

Although the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was hailed an organisational success, Cregan has made it clear that his team is not resting on its laurels - and knows that it needs to make things even better for this year's event.

"The most important thing is we maintain that level [from last year] - that is the minimum now - because we set the benchmark for ourselves," he explained.

"Like any other event, there were lots of different issues that we needed to resolve behind the scenes, and that is the process we are doing right now. There are some tweaks here and there to make it a better event and more enjoyable - as people will be coming back to a more stabilised venue.

"We have massive support from the FIA, FOM, the media, and everybody at the team - and we have to make sure when they come back this year that they have an equal or even better experience.

"We will definitely be continuing the theme of [music] concerts and family entertainment that we did last year - and Ferrari World will be open in time for the F1 race this year."

As well as the work behind the scene, Abu Dhabi's management has undergone some tweaks - with renowned 'track fixer' Philippe Gurdjian now having left his role at the circuit for fresh challenges.

"In terms of management that is just part of the evolution," added Cregan. "Philippe has gone on to do other projects, and we obviously value what he contributed to the circuit. Together with Tilke, he helped deliver a magnificent circuit.

"Our job now is to get on and run it as a motorsport venue and business, which is why we went out and secured a GP2 Asia event. Also I think the Australian V8 Supercars will be a very big event for us."

Abu Dhabi is hosting the GP2 Asia Series next weekend, before the V8 Supercars round on February 20. The Yas Marina track is also hosting a drag racing festival in March as part of its push to bring a motorsport culture to the area.

Cregan added: "We want to have an Emirate in F1 within 10 years and we believe we can achieve that."

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