Bernie’s perfect opportunity

21 Mar, '07

The Middle Eastern state Qatar is the latest name that can be added to a list of prospective future venues for grands prix.

Referring to his country’s existing race, and Abu Dhabi’s newly confirmed grand prix for 2009, Bahrain finance minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa said: “Qatar is also planning to follow the (United Arab Emirates) in starting a similar project, which clearly shows that formula one is a good marketing strategy.”
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Sorry your excellency, I have another explanation of how we are so enamored with the F1 circus and Bernie’s magic, and as much as I would like to take your side, I would like to offer this point of view for consideration too:

lemmings contest

And in a few years time, we will still not have a motor industry to speak of, nor locals competing, or people with enough money to be able to afford the tickets to attend one of these events. Maybe that’s our idea of bringing elitist sports to the Gulf, just to be enjoyed by a few at the expense of the majority?

Why else would we have not one, but three F1 races in an area hardly the size of the UK with a quarter of the population? (95% of whom cannot afford even the cheapest ticket!)

And once again we prove that a good salesman is much more important than what he is selling, and as an added bonus we once again clearly exhibit that the Gulf Cooperation Council is anything but cooperative?

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  1. BahBlog | 21 Mar, '07
  1. You are making good points Mahmood .. considering that you are muzzled with that red gag on your mouth!

  2. Bernie says:

    Bernie Ecclestone has always managed to sell his wares and I think he has the same moral low ground as most politicians and Rupert Murdoch.
    This doesn’t surprise me sadly.

  3. The Joker says:

    With all these petro-dollars floating in the GCC, every tribe leader wants to show off his gems. The Kuwaiti government just bought Aston Martin from Ford this week. The Brainiacs in Bahrain’s “Mumtalakat” holding bought 30% of Mclaren. Dubai Government made a bid for Liverpool football club after settling for Madam Tessude.

    The 80’s all over again.

    Easy come, easy go.

  4. The Joker says:

    One more thing, the F1 in UAE is not such a bad idea. They have the infrastructure and the lifestyle that can attract people.

    Our approach was more like the late great Jim Morrison’s advice in the movie Wayne’s world…

    “If you book them, they will come.”

  5. F says:

    This seems good news that more Gulf countries are developing F1,
    Bernie benefits more from this – in the short and the long run.

    Regardless, if F1 succeeds in creating more wealth for its country,
    the countries will pay the fees to retain it being in the calender.

    And, should quality of the circuit drop, Bernie (or the next F1 king) can certainly pressure them to pay up or they’ll simply move next door.

    Bernie has created a ‘guaranteed’ F1 income from three different states.

    I think Bahrain is doing good with F1. The news about not making an income cannot be made on a long term project. Bahrain is becoming well known in many regions where it was not known at all. Immigration officers in countires like Italy and Germany start talking about F1 when Bahrainis visit there. Off shoot business are being created and help grow. EDB, BIC and the creative people here need to come up with more sustainable projects that will add value. This is how we can always be a step ahead of our competition.

    Salaams :happy:

  6. I says:

    Bums on seats is not what Bernie E is all about. It’s about TV coverage. The Gulf coutnries (along with China) have a rather less strict view on cigarette sponsorship than Europe or the US. This, I believe, makes them more attractive to Mr. Ecclestone. Or am I just being a little cynical?
    I also agree that it does provide the opportunities for more downstream industries to come online and, hopefully prosper. I’ve heard of a person attempting to set up an aluminium cylinder head busiess in Bahrain. Cheap aluminium, a workforce that can be technically trained, a market place in the US with the Free Trade Agreenement. I hope it works for him.

    Cheers
    I

  7. mahmood says:

    And that’s why they allegedly open the gates just before the start of the race to let anyone and everyone in (for free of course) and direct them to the Grand Stand in order to get the huge crowds on the television screens!

    And I’m almost sure that happens everywhere else as well. Bums of seats, for the pleasure of the television cameras.

    I agree too that due to the lax advertising laws and regulations as far as drink and cigarettes are concerned, he’s switching attention to these venues. He’s on a full win-win situation!

    As to the downstream industries, this is where Bahrain can win in a realistic and tangible manner. These businesses should have red-carpets rolled out for them and any obstacle for them to start a related business removed. In 20 – 50 years we will look back and thank Shaikh Salman for his foresight not for the race, per se, but for grabbing this country by the scruff of the neck and forcing them to innovate!

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