News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Dubai F1

I looked at a story about tyres here on What caught my eye was the end of the article. Its old news now to many of you, but I have just realised that Dubai F1 is going to be powered by Mercedes and they will get technical assistance from McLaren. I do admit to completely ignoring this Arab entry into motor racing. I mean, come on, they do sound like wannabes. Hey look at us, we're from Dubai. Come to Dubai why don't you? I have serious opposition to such blatant advertising from these Arabs. The same opposition fans of Arsenal have, now that their stadium is called the Emirates stadium for instance.

My first reaction to the Mercedes and McLaren connection was to ask what on Earth is Ron Dennis thinking about? I mean, he has enough trouble trying to turn McLaren around without having to sidetrack to other teams. Doing some searching on the net revealed this article on It seems that of course McLaren will be earning quite a bit for their technical assistance. The story also has it that perhaps the old Woking factory will be used to manufacture Dubai F1 cars. However, wind tunnel and team base will be in Dubai itself "to develop and demonstrate our skills in these cutting edge areas." Err yeah, I doubt that will be many Arabs involved in this. It's like to be crewed mainly by expatriates. A bit like calling Ferrari engines Petronas I suppose. Fools a lot of people into thinking that Petronas makes grand prix engines. (No, seriously, a lot of people in Malaysia at least are under that impression).

Thinking about it now, this is perhaps the best cost cutting measure for a new team like Dubai F1. I've talked about teams buying chassis to compete. Well, that rule isn't going to change, so I suppose the next best thing would be something like this. The Arabs are still going to have a wind tunnel and expensive manufacturing facilities but I suppose this greatly reduces the risks associated with a new entry these days. I still think this is going to stretch McLaren yet again but I guess with this project at least McLaren will be compensated handsomely in return I would imagine. As opposed to their silly toys like their media centre. This could be a very beneficial to McLaren. Just as having Swiss servants is useful to Ferrari. Like thirty million dollars per annum useful.

Well, this Arab team is not going to race until 2006 but I look forward to seeing their progress. Dubai F1 and Midlang F1 are going to be the first "private" new entrants to Formula 1 since Jordan in 1991. No, Toyota doesn't count I'm afraid. They're a pure works team. Well, with all that black gold financing these Arabs, I'm sure they'll do well if their expatriates don't royally screw them over. To the detriment of Jordan I suppose who was looking to sell his team to the Arabs. Let's wait and see.

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