F1

Famed organizer Philippe Gurdjian celebrates 25th anniversary

The 2008 edition of Spanish Grand Prix will mark Philippe Gurdjian's 25th anniversary. Well known and recognised in the Formula One Circus, Philippe Gurdjian has organised not less than 25 F1 Grand Prix since 1985, all successful. Renowned...

The 2008 edition of Spanish Grand Prix will mark Philippe Gurdjian's 25th anniversary. Well known and recognised in the Formula One Circus, Philippe Gurdjian has organised not less than 25 F1 Grand Prix since 1985, all successful.

Renowned on the international motorsport scene, Philippe Gurdjian currently holds a number very senior management positions both in his own PHG Developpement business and the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track, the Le Castellet International Airport, the Le Castellet Hotel Resort and Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management.

Philippe began his career in 1963 with the Rothschild Investment bank and after a stint as the company's communications director. He joined the GEMAP group in 1967, of which he became managing director in 1973 and three years later, the agency's owner. Thereafter he presided over a period of growth and international expansion for the agency. Philippe's passion for motorsport and his success in business led him to become the promoter and organiser of the French Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1985 at Paul Ricard. He sold his interest in GEMAP to focus on his motorsport interests and organised six French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard until 1990. He then went on to play a key role in the development of the Magny-Cours circuit and organised and promoted the race there until 1997, winning the FOCA trophy for the best organised Grand Prix of the season twice during that period. In the meantime he also acted as a consultant to Renault and Matra.

With his success running the French Grand Prix behind him, Philippe became an executive F1 consultant for the new Sepang circuit in Malaysia where he organised three Formula One Grand Prix and won the prestigious best organised Grand Prix of the season award again. His job in Malaysia complete, Philippe turned his attentions to Paul Ricard where he played a key part in the circuit's acquisition by Bernie Ecclestone's Excelis company. Gurdjian was soon appointed managing director of Excelis and over the next few years, redeveloped the circuit and surrounding facilities including the Le Castellet Hotel and International Airport.

While he pressed ahead with developments at Paul Ricard, Philippe was also appointed as a consultant to organisers of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2001 and by the end of 2003 he had won his fourth FOM award for the best organised Grand Prix of the season for his work with the Spanish Grand Prix.

His success led Philippe to a new challenge in 2004 with the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix where he was appointed as a consultant to ensure construction was complete on schedule for the region's inaugural F1 race, the 20th he had organised and led to his fifth FOM award.

By 2005 his extensive work at Paul Ricard had been completed and the FIA Institute recognised the facility as its first Centre of Excellent for motor sport safety and by 2007 the new Le Castellet Hotel received a Michelin star.

A fresh challenge beckoned in 2007 when Philippe appointed as chief executive of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management, charged with the organisation of the circuit in Abu Dhabi ahead of the country's first Formula One Grand Prix in 2009.

"The high tech world of Formula One is now a day my true way of live." said Philippe Gurdjian. "I met a lot of team-managers, drivers, race organisers, but also journalists, photographers and sponsors who spend their times on F1 Grand Prix all year around. My main objective has always been to contribute to make the work of motorsport actors, easier and safer. First of all, I insist on the work I have done for driver safety, developing new and innovative concepts mostly at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track. I am also truly aware of the needs of the media. If Formula One media coverage has expanded so much in the past years, it is because we have given journalists and photographers the tools they needed to do their job the most efficient way and in the best conditions. Concerning spectators, I also developed over the years a truly dynamic marketing, to make access to F1 Grand Prix easier with a new ticketing formula. I also worked on the comfort of spectators."

"For the past 25 years, I gave my energy and my know-how to the Formula One world, organising modern and creative solutions with an innovative and futurist spirit. And my work is not over... The Abu Dhabi circuit construction will be even more ground-breaking and ingenious than anything I have done up to today. It is a unique and exceptional project that you will see in 2009."

Philippe Gurdjian, a builder beyond standard, to be looked at...

The 38th edition of Spanish Grand Prix will surely be another success.

-credit: circuitpaulricard.com

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