Q. There are some rumours that there has been a restructure of the management at Abu Dhabi's F1 track - with Philippe Gurdjian moving to a new role. Can you clarify what the situation is please?
Like every organisation we need to go through a process and that's a natural evolution of the company. Basically at this stage, Philippe is concentrating more on the delivery of the track. He's advising myself and Khaldoon (Mubarak) in terms of the specialities that he's involved in and I've taken over the company as CEO. My side of it is concentrating on the grand prix.Q. How is progress going at the track?
Very well. I know there have been a lot of rumours, but the track will be ready on time. And not just the track. Some people have been asking if the infrastructure will be ready and it will. Yesterday, we were having a look at the progress of the highways in the area to ease traffic flow and that's all on schedule. That's going to be finished around July/August in terms of infrastructure. The track itself will be ready for the 90-day inspection. We're happy with progress.Q. How are you personally finding the challenge?
Great. It's great to come back here and meet everyone and say hello and have the welcome. In particular the welcome that has been shown to us by Martin Whittaker and Bahrain International Circuit has been great. It has been fantastic and this weekend is a great opportunity for us to come across and have a look. They have been completely open and that's what we need in the region.
We're new in terms of F1 and we look at what Bahrain has done and commend that. The only way we can survive in the future is if all the tracks in the region work together and this is a great start.Q. There have been some rumours about a change in the start time of the race. Can you clarify what the situation is?
As far as we're concerned, it's three o'clock as has been laid out in the calendar. We need to walk before we run. There are lots of possibilities for the longer term, but we certainly need to be more realistic at the moment. We've fixed on 3 o'clock with FOM and that's how it's going to goQ. How are ticket sales going?
Good. Very well. We had a good launch on the ticket sales and we had big sales in the first couple of days. There is only one grandstand now available but there are still tickets available. The great thing is, all of the grandstands are covered and they've all got a great view of the track. The marketing guys behind the ticket sales have done a fantastic job and they've really delivered.Q. How high is excitement at Abu Dhabi?
It's great. What's happened is that we launched the ticket sales, and the whole ad campaign related to that now has increased the awareness of F1. That's given everybody a boost because now people are coming along and asking all about the race, all about F1. We have a programme of information that we are putting out there to get people educated about F1 and make sure everyone is aware of what is coming.Q. And Felipe Massa visited the track last week?
He was down there during the week and had a tour of the circuit and he enjoyed it. It's really amazing to go there and see it because you can look at all the things we have produced, but when you go there and see it, it is just incredible - the size and complexity of it. You've got the marina, the Yas Hotel, and a very challenging track. So you combine all that and the special features like the pit exit tunnel, the runoff area under the stands, all those things are adding to it which makes a very complex situation. The company that's delivering it are doing an amazing job and Tilke, the creators of it, are working very well.Q. Singapore set a new standard for F1 events. Do you think Abu Dhabi will raise the notch even higher?RC:
I've been asked that about upping the standard. Our task at the moment is to make sure we run an event that fits the level required by F1. That's our first target. You come to races like here, you go to Singapore and look at what those people have achieved and you can only admire that. You pick the top events and aim to be up there with them. Our targets are high and the target is that people will leave the track on Sunday night having had an amazing experience and want to come back