Saeed Al Mehairi is an Emirati race car driver and instructor at Yas Marina Circuit. Delores Johnson / The National
Saeed Al Mehairi is an Emirati race car driver and instructor at Yas Marina Circuit. Delores Johnson / The National

Passion kick-starts life in the fast lane



Saeed Al Mehairi turned his passion for race car driving into a career as a racing instructor and employee in the commercial department of Yas Marina Circuit. He talks about making the high-speed transition.

How did you get involved in racing before you started working at Yas?

I started go-karting in 2007 as a hobby. I wanted to devote myself to reach high levels in go-karting. Then I bought a second-hand go-kart to enter local championships. I finished third place out of 25.

Then what did you do to develop your hobby into more of a profession?

I continued racing, and there was an academy in Dubai Autodrome that was going to choose three local [Emirati] young drivers and promote and sponsor them to race in Europe. I joined and there were 700 who applied for that scholarship.

How did you do?

They chose about 60 from the 700 in phase one. That was go-karting. Phase two was going to the circuit and driving the Audi TT. They chose 30. Phase three was to drive a Subaru and a truck. From 30 we went to 15. Phase four was difficult because there was physical testing and mental testing.

What kind of mental tests did they run?

If we are under pressure, can we still talk politely and not get mad or confused, especially when it came to media and people. They teach us how to stay calm and prepare mentally.

And how did you do in the final phase of testing?

That time it was very difficult, because it was all about driving and coming on time. They chose three. I'm the one who was number one.

You were then sponsored to train and race in Europe. But you were working and studying part-time back then.

I had some difficulty. I could not focus on racing and working and studying for Bachelor of business. I had to stop studying, [which I later] finished in 2008. I had very good results in Europe when I was there.

How did you try to keep racing upon your return?

Because of the [financial] crisis, Dubai Autodrome wasn't able to sponsor us to go to the next level. I didn't quit. I went back to go-karting to develop myself for training. Then I wanted to participate in local championships with my own money. With my touring car I got a sponsor. In 2009, we won the Dubai 24 hours karting championship.

How did you end up at Yas?

I joined Yas in 2010, part-time, to be an instructor. I was the first Emirati instructor, and youngest so far. I'm 24. I just joined full-time recently. Now, I don't do much instructing - only in my free time. Now I work in the commercial department. I look for sponsors for the circuit.

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

RESULT

Bayern Munich 5 Eintrracht Frankfurt 2
Bayern:
 Goretzka (17'), Müller (41'), Lewandowski (46'), Davies (61'), Hinteregger (74' og)    
Frankfurt: Hinteregger (52', 55')

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The five pillars of Islam
MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League final:

Who: Real Madrid v Liverpool
Where: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
When: Saturday, May 26, 10.45pm (UAE)
TV: Match on BeIN Sports

Sam Smith

Where: du Arena, Abu Dhabi

When: Saturday November 24

Rating: 4/5

Friday's schedule in Madrid

Men's quarter-finals

Novak Djokivic (1) v Marin Cilic (9) from 2pm UAE time

Roger Federer (4) v Dominic Thiem (5) from 7pm

Stefanos Tsitsipas (8) v Alexander Zverev (3) from 9.30pm

Stan Wawrinka v Rafael Nadal (2) from 11.30pm

Women's semi-finals

Belinda Bencic v Simona Halep (3) from 4.30pm

Sloane Stephens (8) v Kiki Bertens (7) from 10pm

TOURNAMENT INFO

2018 ICC World Twenty20 Asian Western Regional Qualifier
The top three teams progress to the Asia Qualifier

Thursday results
UAE beat Kuwait by 86 runs
Qatar beat Bahrain by five wickets
Saudi Arabia beat Maldives by 35 runs

Friday fixtures
10am, third-place playoff – Saudi Arabia v Kuwait
3pm, final – UAE v Qatar

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Company Profile

Name: Takestep
Started: March 2018
Founders: Mohamed Khashaba, Mohamed Abdallah, Mohamed Adel Wafiq and Ayman Taha
Based: Cairo, Egypt
Sector: health technology
Employees: 11 full time and 22 part time
Investment stage: pre-Series A

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

TOP 5 DRIVERS 2019

1 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 10 wins 387 points

2 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 4 wins, 314 points

3 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 3 wins, 260 points

4 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2 wins, 249 points

5 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1 win, 230 points

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2 (Benzema 13', Kroos 28')
Barcelona 1 (Mingueza 60')

Red card: Casemiro (Real Madrid)

Shooting Ghosts: A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War by Thomas J. Brennan and Finbarr O’Reilly

GOODBYE JULIA

Director: Mohamed Kordofani

Starring: Siran Riak, Eiman Yousif, Nazar Goma

Rating: 5/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Calls

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

Starring: Pedro Pascal, Karen Gillian, Aaron Taylor-Johnson

4/5

The Kitchen

Director: Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

Stars: Kane Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jnr, Fiona Marr

Rating: 3/5 

hall of shame

SUNDERLAND 2002-03

No one has ended a Premier League season quite like Sunderland. They lost each of their final 15 games, taking no points after January. They ended up with 19 in total, sacking managers Peter Reid and Howard Wilkinson and losing 3-1 to Charlton when they scored three own goals in eight minutes.

SUNDERLAND 2005-06

Until Derby came along, Sunderland’s total of 15 points was the Premier League’s record low. They made it until May and their final home game before winning at the Stadium of Light while they lost a joint record 29 of their 38 league games.

HUDDERSFIELD 2018-19

Joined Derby as the only team to be relegated in March. No striker scored until January, while only two players got more assists than goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. The mid-season appointment Jan Siewert was to end his time as Huddersfield manager with a 5.3 per cent win rate.

ASTON VILLA 2015-16

Perhaps the most inexplicably bad season, considering they signed Idrissa Gueye and Adama Traore and still only got 17 points. Villa won their first league game, but none of the next 19. They ended an abominable campaign by taking one point from the last 39 available.

FULHAM 2018-19

Terrible in different ways. Fulham’s total of 26 points is not among the lowest ever but they contrived to get relegated after spending over £100 million (Dh457m) in the transfer market. Much of it went on defenders but they only kept two clean sheets in their first 33 games.

LA LIGA: Sporting Gijon, 13 points in 1997-98.

BUNDESLIGA: Tasmania Berlin, 10 points in 1965-66

WIDE VIEW

The benefits of HoloLens 2, according to Microsoft:

Manufacturing: Reduces downtime and speeds up onboarding and upskilling

Engineering and construction: Accelerates the pace of construction and mitigates risks earlier in the construction cycle

Health care: Enhances the delivery of patient treatment at the point of care

Education: Improves student outcomes and teaches from anywhere with experiential learning

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 

Traits of Chinese zodiac animals

Tiger:independent, successful, volatile
Rat:witty, creative, charming
Ox:diligent, perseverent, conservative
Rabbit:gracious, considerate, sensitive
Dragon:prosperous, brave, rash
Snake:calm, thoughtful, stubborn
Horse:faithful, energetic, carefree
Sheep:easy-going, peacemaker, curious
Monkey:family-orientated, clever, playful
Rooster:honest, confident, pompous
Dog:loyal, kind, perfectionist
Boar:loving, tolerant, indulgent