Abu Dhabi to stage final F1 race in 2010
ABU DHABI // The capital will again hold the final race of the Formula One season next year, the World Motor Sport Council confirmed yesterday. The November 14 Grand Prix will complete the 19-race season, much to the delight of Mohammed ben Sulayem, the Emirati who is vice president for sport at the Fédération Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA), the sport's governing body.
He said: "It is my job as vice president and that is what I am supposed to do, what my Government wants me to do. Now I can be relieved. "We wanted the last race of the season because it is always a final atmosphere, regardless of whether the title has been decided. Of course, it is a double-edged sword, because the title may be decided by then. But, either way, for us it was important to have the final race."
The 2010 race will be two weeks later than this year. Next season starts on March 14 in Bahrain. Its finale was originally scheduled to be the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos. However, that date was switched with Abu Dhabi, where the race will again start at 5pm. Mr ben Sulayem, the 14-time Middle East rally champion, said: "I spoke to [former FIA president] Max Mosley about it and then I spoke to the new president, Jean [Todt], and of course we were helped by the excellent race in November.
"There is a harmony between all parties, it is not a one-way stream. We were all pushing in the same direction." About 50,000 people filled the Yas Marina Circuit to witness the UAE host its first Formula 1 race on November 1, an event that was three years in the making. Richard Cregan, the circuit's chief executive, said: "Everyone looks forward to the final race. People can look forward to a great show like this year, but with a bit more tweaking here and there to make it even better."
Of the other races, the Canadian Grand Prix returns after a one-year absence, while South Korea will host its first race on October 24, so long as its circuit passes an inspection. The World Motor Sport Council has approved a new points system for the expanded 13-team championship, beginning next season. Race winners will earn 25 points instead of 10 and the top 10 will all win points, rather than just the top eight. Second-placed drivers will get 20 points.
The change, which was proposed by the F1 Commission and ratified by FIA yesterday, is to accommodate the three extra teams on the grid. The world champion, Jenson Button, said: ""It's a great idea. It's nice that you get five points over second for winning. That's important because we all love winning races." * The National
Published: December 12, 2009 04:00 AM