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Old 4th February 2007, 00:46   #1
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Default Formula 1 festival in Abu Dhabi

As a matter of habit, we tend to switch off from F1 once the season ends in October and revive the interest only towards the final phase of testing in February.

All that changed once I heard of the proposed idea to bring a few F1 teams for a demo to Abu Dhabi. Turned out that more teams agreed to join in as time went on, it emerged that we would have a full fledged F1 festival in early Feb. Yippee...!!

8 teams made it, with the likes of Renault, McLaren, Ferrari, Honda and BMW out in full force. A small network of roads near the cornish served as a make shift F1 demo track.

We got there to find out that the viewing public was allowed as close to the track as it can possibly get....fantastic. I have had the good fortune to watch an F1 race from a grandstand and I must say that the view, or rather the proximity to the action beats even that!

It was billed as a Festival for no reason. Sheikhs from various Emirates were out in their finest, pompous rides...Mercs and Beemers of all shapes and sizes, a few Rolls, even more helicopters, fighter planes doing their thing..you get the idea. Some procession indeed.

It had rained that morning, so the safety car was seen doing a few rounds checking conditions.



It dried soon...and then, out came an open truck with all the drivers waving to the eager crowd. Fisi, Rubens, Alonso, Massa, Kimi, Alonso...all in full view, about 10 metres away from us.



And then they went racing, er exhibition drive..no demo racing...damn!

Each car was to do 2 laps of the make shift street track, which was in no means a tiny one. Super Aguri had a few cameras clicking, Ralf Schumacher's Toyota drew a lot of gasps and camera clicks, by the time the McLarens and Ferrari's rolled out, the cameras(and vocal chords) went into overdrive.



The V8 music was no less orgasmic than the V10 boom I had heard on a sunday afternoon a few summers ago...

Ralf was at his PR best...one hand in cockpit and the other waving as if he had won that elusive championship, the renault guys gave us a few thrills and Kimi/Fernando had the crowd in scream mode...loved every bit.



The best as they say, was held for the last. The grand finale had all the cars drive out one after the other in succession, almost like a start-of-race scenario (minus the first corner shunts). Exhilarating stuff!

This festival was the next best thing to watching an F1 race and a brilliant marketing/promotion tool for a country set to host a race in 2009. Take note, Bernie and India....!
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Old 4th February 2007, 10:55   #2
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Amazing how much of Middle East money is in F1 these days, with Mubadala Abu Dhabi owning a decent stake in the Ferrari team and the Bahrain Govt's investment arm picking up 20% in McLaren a couple of weeks back. Plus the huge amount of sponsorship money that Emirates Airlines is pumping in.
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Old 4th February 2007, 11:23   #3
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Dubai is seen as more lucrative and attraractive than other F1 climes including China. Lucky dawgs.
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Old 4th February 2007, 13:35   #4
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Amazing stuff...and alll we get is a Mclaren mp/4 20 i think...minus gearbox and engine...
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Old 5th February 2007, 12:08   #5
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Nice write up. ANy more pics?
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Old 5th February 2007, 14:53   #6
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Some (REALLY BAD) videos taken by my colleagues:










Last edited by Steeroid : 5th February 2007 at 15:07.
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Old 6th February 2007, 23:32   #7
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Cheers RacingForIndia. Unfortunately, not too many pics. Too busy devouring the action! But, 1 pretty bad video...about as good/bad as those shot by Steeroid's colleague. Just treat it like an audio file and you will be fine, the V8s dont dissappoint

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Old 9th February 2007, 16:39   #8
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Its the sound that makes those cars so very sweet........
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