UAE rooting for Lewis Hamilton

UAE rooting for Lewis Hamilton
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Published November 28th, 2015 - 23:11 GMT via

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UAE rooting for Hamilton, Yas Marina CEO says
UAE rooting for Hamilton, Yas Marina CEO says

Yas Marina Circuit chief executive officer (CEO) Al Tareq Al Ameri says the UAE are right behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton as the Briton who races in car number 44 attempts to win his 44th Grand Prix ahead of the UAE’s 44th National Day celebrations.

Speaking to ‘Gulf News’ on the sidelines of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Al Ameri said he and the rest of the UAE were rooting for the three-time world champion this weekend.

“Somehow the stars have aligned,” said the CEO. “We’ve been talking about this with our team all year. We started off creating the link between the number 44, its significance to Lewis and for us with the 44th UAE National Day celebrations fast approaching [on December 2].

“But to have his winning streak also sit at 43, and now if he wins this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix it becomes 44, it’s almost too good to be true. When we talk about it, it just gives us goosebumps and we hope that it will move the people to feel the same way about it as we do.

“This is a great platform to link the local community, national pride and the UAE’s celebrations with one of our biggest events here in the UAE, F1 and a world champion as well. Of course, I’m rooting for him and wearing my 44 badge with pride,” he added.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone had told Gulf News that Yas Marina Circuit was “a little bit special”, and record three-time winner at this event Sebastian Vettel said the race “already feels like a classic place to come to” despite this being only the seventh edition. In reaction to those comments Al Ameri said he was delighted.

“That just makes me happy and assured that we are delivering on our objectives. It’s a compliment for us but we are going to remain focused and deliver more every year. It’s a challenge for us but we are up for it.”

Baku Grand Prix CEO Arif Rahimov had also lauded the event for the off track entertainment, and said he hoped to mimic that in Azerbaijan when the country makes its debut on the F1 calendar next June.

“When we started back in 2009 we strived for excellence and learnt from other venues,” said Al Ameri. “The F1 community is very close and myself and Mr. Rahimov converse all the time.

“For us if all the venues deliver a top notch event it just strengthens the whole series. So, we collaborate and share ideas. That Mr. Rahimov aspires to meet our level means we are at a good level as well so that’s a good compliment from him.

“We always improve year-on-year and our team is vigilant to address issues and areas of improvement. This event is literally a year in the making, we may take a week off after this but after that it’s right back to planning for next year.

“I can’t disclose too many details for next year but it will be the UAE’s 45th anniversary and that’s a major milestone for our country and it will also be the eighth year of hosting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and it will remain the final race of the season. So just watch what’s on the horizon and Yas Marina will deliver the goods again in 2016,” he added.

By Ashley Hammond

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2015. All rights reserved.

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