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Abu Dhabi F1 still on-track despite Dubai setback

Preparations for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November have been 'helped' by the current global credit crunch, it has been claimed – but the same cannot be said for the construction of the new, official F1-X motorsport theme park in neighbouring Dubai.

The capital of the seven United Arab Emirates – the world's fifth-largest oil exporter – is set to welcome Formula 1 for the first time on 1 November, providing the venue for the 2009 season finale with the all-new, state-of-the-art Yas Marina street circuit, which is being built by developer Aldar Properties. Work, it has been confirmed, is progressing apace.

“The global economic meltdown has helped the project,” underlined Yas Island project director Steve Worrel, “as more workers and bidders are available now.”

That news is in contrast to the recent revelation that F1-X developer Union Properties has halted the construction of Dubai's motorsport-based, $460 million theme park in the wake of the global economic crisis and the drying up of bank liquidity, but F1-X marketing director Penny Fischer is adamant that the business model is a sound one and that the park will open in 2010 as was originally planned.

“With construction more than 50 per cent complete, the core of international expertise on the ground and operational plans virtually complete, it is hard to believe that a financial partner will not come forward in the coming days or weeks to capitalise on the opportunity,” she is quoted as having said by Emirates Business 24/7.

F1-X is being put together by engineers, designers and architects from around the world, with its 13 major bespoke rides and attractions being built in 14 different countries before being shipped over to the Middle East, where they will be spread over some 70 acres (285,000 square metres) and will aim to attract more than a million visitors per year to the emirate.

Emirates Business 24/7 reveals that the multi-billion dollar MotorCity initiative will be split into four principal sections; F1-X Dubai – including a 242-room, four-star Marriott Courtyard Hotel – Dubai Autodrome for motorsport fans and two residential areas, Uptown MotorCity and Green Community MotorCity.

“We are offering F1 fans an immersion into the world of Formula 1, to get close to the sport and its essence, its history, the unique technological aspects that go with it and, of course, a glimpse behind the scenes,” stated a Union Properties spokesman.

“Designed by a team of the world's best entertainment and theme park experts, F1-X will bring the world of Formula 1 past, present and future, together with a full-service leisure environment.”



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