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First phase of Yas Island F1 project
Abu Dhabi: Parts of the Formula 1 race track, grandstand, marina and the tunnels have already begun to take shape on the 2,550-hectare Yas Island which will be staging the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 in the UAE in 2009.

The media were briefed on the progress during a tour to the island where construction is in full swing and the first phase seems headed for completion by 2008-end.

Speaking to the media persons, Ronald Stephen Barrott, CEO of Aldar Properties, developers of the unique race track and the adjoining facilities, said he was delighted with the pace of construction.

"Phase one of this project, which includes construction of the Formula 1 race track, allied facilities, seven hotels to accommodate around 2,200 persons will be completed by the end of 2008," said Barrott.

While Abu Dhabi has signed a seven-year deal to stage a Formula 1 event from 2009, the official date will be decided when the calendar is drawn up next year.

Full swing

"Work is in full swing and enormous land filling has already given shape to parts of the track which in some places will be elevated to about 10 meters - the highest on a circuit.

"Over 33 per cent of the retaining wall for the marina is complete and we are confident that we will be ready by end December, 2008," he said.

The first phase is just a part of the overall development of Yas Island, with three more phases which together is estimated to cost between $45-50 billion, with 2014 being the target for the full completion.

"The facility, when complete, will not only attract international tourists and racing fans but will be a big boost to the local expatriates as well as the UAE nationals. The race track is so designed that in some stretches, it is just five meters away from the water's edge while spectators can witness almost 70 per cent of the race," he said.

"The construction of the entire facility will have an Arabian feel and flair and around 100,000 will be able to witness the action all around."

"We are aiming to ensure the race track can be used for 365 days. There have been a lot of enquiries for property in the area as this will be an unique facility where such property is available.

"Quite a few car manufacturers have also shown interest in using the facility for test driving while other forms of racing can also be held through the year," Barrott said. Gulf News

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