It was announced on February 3rd that Abu Dhabi will host a Grand Prix from 2009 onwards in a seven year contract. Formula One Management revealed the agreement to the public who had gathered to watch the first Abu Dhabi F1 Festival on a street circuit along the sea front.
Ecclestone said the new addition to the calendar would not be a threat to nearby Bahrain, which recently renewed its long term contract. "I am sure that Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will work closely together to make sure Formula One is very successful in this part of the world, which is very important," Ecclestone told reporters.
"At the moment we have five countries waiting to see if we can put a race there. We are aiming for 20 races. I think we are now well served in this part of the world. We're very committed to Abu Dhabi. It's one of the great places in the world. We have a seven-year contract, but I'm sure the race will go on forever."
The circuit that will host the GP is under construction on Yas Island, on the East coast of Abu Dhabi and not far from the International airport. The 5.6 km track will be designed by Hermann Tilke, who is responsible for recently-built circuits such as Bahrain, Shanghai and Istanbul.
"It was initially a flat island, but we've created some man-made hills, so the track will rise up and down," Tilke commented. "It will be exciting for the spectators because overtaking will be possible. It is unique in that the track will be divided into two parts. One part will be permanent, for everyday use, while the other part of 2.5km will be used only by F1."