Abu Dhabi has unveiled some exciting plans for the 2009 Formula 1 season finale – which is to take place on a circuit on Yas Island in November. But that did not stop the rumor machine going into overdrive last week amid whispers that the circuit would not be ready on time, and that Canada was being lined up to replace it. AUTOSPORT caught up with the Yas Marina circuit boss Philippe Gurdjian to find out how progress was going, what F1 could expect from Abu Dhabi and what his own future holds.Q. How is progress going with the track?Philippe Gurdjian:
Very well. There are no problems.Q. So it is all on course for the end of season race?PG:
Yes. I don't know who made this wrong story, but on my side it was ridiculous. I don't understand where it came from. On my side, we are progressing. Aldar, the people who are building the circuit, are doing a good job. They are making also a good job for the island, because we are starting from an island that only had sand – no bridges, no roads, no electricity and no water. But everything will be done on time.Q. What does the track look like at the moment? What is finished at the moment?PG:
Nothing is finished yet, but this is normal. We are on schedule. When you are building something, some place, you have to follow a schedule – and that is what we are doing. Maybe on one day we have a problem, but the day after we solve it.Q. Tickets went on sale last week. What has interest been like?PG:
We are progressing very well, although I don't know exactly the situation today. I know that it is working very well.Q. Has there been a decision yet on when the start time of the race will be?PG:
At this moment, the start time is 3pm. But the final decision depends on Mr. [Bernie] Ecclestone.Q. Would you like to keep it at that time, or would you like it to go later?PG:
We have a certain idea of what we would like to do, but I cannot tell you today what it is! We have a very specific idea, and I hope we will be able to do it – and it will be as unique as the track.Q. There have been some rumors in recent weeks that you could be involved in the new South Korea F1 project. What can you say about that?
I don't know, maybe you know more than me! Tell me if you know!
The problem is that I am the man who has created the most incredible racetracks all over the world. First of all, I did Paul Ricard – it was a wonderful track and unique in the world. Then I did Bahrain, I did it in 70 days but I was not in charge of the design. At Abu Dhabi, I have been in charge of the design and the concept – and it will be the most incredible, exclusive and unique place in the world.
So if people want to make something more creative than all of these other circuits, then maybe I will be involved. But to go to a circuit where there is no idea, I will not be involved. I am not a builder – I am a creative man.Q. How long is your commitment to Abu Dhabi?PG:
Until the end of 2010.Q. And after that?PG:
I am an old man. Maybe I have to stop some time. I have done 25 grands prix up until today. This year I am still involved in Barcelona and then Abu Dhabi – so that will be 27. I will certainly stop before 30.