Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management CEO Richard Cregan has said that the new Yas Marina circuit will play an important role in promoting Formula One's latest venue to the wider world when it stages its inaugural grand prix at the end of the month,

Cregan, speaking on the final day of the 'Mastering Motorsport F1' seminars at Zayed University as part of the Yasalam initiative based around the grand prix, delivered a rousing speech to around 200 Emirati students, explaining the passion needed to develop the sport in the region. He also gave an overview of the $40bn Yas Island project to the engrossed students, as he revealed what, apart from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the facilities will offer for them for the majority of the year.

"We have some of the biggest international motorsports events coming up in the next few months, as well the full spectrum of facilities open soon. For instance, the drag racing centre will open early in 2010 with a very special event. We are well aware there's a great hunger for speed in the UAE and we are committed to nurturing this passion in a safe environment.

"This week, we welcomed journalists from around the world to the circuit where they experienced being a passenger in a two-seater F1-style car. Sitting behind a professional driver, they encountered breathtaking speeds that they will never forget. We are sure this activity will be a big hit with visitors and residents alike.

"Yas Marina Circuit will play its part to ensure important messages about Yas Island and Abu Dhabi go out to the world from the grand prix, making sure it has an impact and attracts increasing numbers of visitors, showcasing the capital as an even more attractive destination of choice.

"Royalty, heads of state, celebrities, teams and drivers, business guests, media and volunteers will all attend at the grand prix and are important. However, above all, we need to ensure international spectators have a memorable experience and go home feeling the warm Emirati welcome. Ultimately, F1 fans from around the world would leave on Sunday night excited and looking forward to coming back next year.

"Everyone can look forward to seeing local and international events at the circuit all year round. It is a world class facility and we will integrate it with the community, creating many jobs in the process, Yas Marina Circuit has been developed for the people of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. There's no restriction to what we will use the facility for, the only restriction is our imagination. We will look at and consider anything and any events. It's a truly great stadium, venue and meeting place and we need to ensure its use is maximised for the future.

"The opportunities for local Emiratis are fantastic; you need to be truly passionate and driven and want to be part of a team. This is the ultimate opportunity to develop world class skills in a variety of disciplines.

"Everyone in Yas Marina Circuit has a passion for motorsport and we can help develop it. It's not a nine-to-five job - it needs real commitment and professionalism to deliver something this big. It's a privilege for us all to work in this industry, we need to work hard to reach goals and excel in both our lives and our careers."

While the Yas Marina facility and the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are poised to make a spectacular entrance to the F1 schedule, it is also hoped that the circuit will play a part in developing local talent capable of reaching the top of the motorsport ladder.

"Today, we have three Spanish drivers in F1 and most of this would not have been possible if Barcelona had not become a venue for F1 in 1992," Ferrari test driver Marc Gene told gulfnews.com "The Yas Marina Circuit and the grand prix here will help. In my case, it did. I got into F1 in 1999, after the grand prix in Barcelona, as the commercial world and the media played a big role in highlighting the sport and the budding drivers."

The inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the highlight of a fortnight of festivities around Yas Island, getting underway on Abu Dhabi's beachfront Corniche area from 16 October. An official fan zone - featuring driving simulators, pit-stop challenges and special appearances by drivers - while an outdoor cinema will show motoring-related films.

A series of live art events called The Art of Racing will see regional artists customise replica F1 cars across Abu Dhabi, while the Beats on the Beach initiative will see five nights of free music shows featuring a local, regional and international artists, including hip-hop superstar Timbaland.


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