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Yas Marina aiming for an 'excellent event'

Thursday 29th October 2009



Yas Marina aiming for an 'excellent event'

Yas Marina aiming for an 'excellent event'

When construction on Yas Island was at its peak, Richard Cregan estimates 20,000 chickens were being consumed per day by all the workers.

That gives you some idea as to the scale of construction that has taken place over the last two and a half years following an idea that has rapidly become reality.

The circuit that will this weekend stage the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the heart of the island project that incorporates Ferrari World theme park, seven hotels, a shopping mall and a golf course.

The total cost of redevelopment is reputed to be in the region of £22billion, with the circuit alone the most expensive in the world at around £800million.

Money, though, is no object to the oil-rich Emirati state of Abu Dhabi, but there is a great deal of pride at stake as its rulers look to showcase their country to the world.

Cregan, the CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, concedes there is naturally pressure to deliver a world-class event.

"You always have to set your sights high, that's what you are trying to do all the time," remarked Irishman Cregan.

"What all the stakeholders have delivered here is something amazing.

"If you consider it's only been in production for two and a half years, then it's pretty incredible this has been delivered.

"Pressure and expectation are high, so the most important thing for us is we deliver and meet the expectations that have been created.

"But we just have to create our own thing here. We can't go around saying we've the greatest track in the world. We don't want to make that claim by any means.

"What we have to do is make sure we put on an excellent event, and we have to work at that, build our credibility."

Given the vast sums of money that have been spent, the facilities are appreciably spectacular, notably the hotel that straddles the circuit which also has a tunnel as a pit-lane exit.

For the teams, for the first time at any grand prix, they will be able to work in a relative degree of comfort as the garages are air conditioned to combat the 35 degrees Celsius heat.

Cregan, who was previously Toyota's team manager, added: "For myself, this is a relatively new side of the fence.

"From the past, what we would look for in a circuit as a team, is always to make sure you get what the people say they will deliver.

"From this side of the fence, our view has always been, let's go out there, let's create a circuit and let's deliver it.

"Let's not try to hype it, and let's see what the feedback is, and hopefully we will exceed expectation.

"We want to make sure the feedback we get reflects the work that has gone into, and the thought, behind this.

"I'm confident at this stage there will be good feedback in terms of the circuit itself.

"My big concern at the moment is to make sure public expectation is met, that we look after people and that they leave and want to come back.

"It is vital everybody leaves here on Sunday wanting to come back having had an enjoyable experience. Then we will know it's worked."

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