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New Yas Marina boss a fan of F1 double points scheme

Abu Dhabi: New Yas Marina Circuit CEO Al Tarek Al Ameri has welcomed the introduction of double points for this year’s Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, saying it will add excitement to the season-ending event.

F1’s governing body the FIA announced late last year that the final race in the annual calendar will carry double points awarded from 2014, with the UAE capital’s race subsequently being shifted to the finale after being the third-from-last date in 2013.

The move has been controversial among fans and commentators, but Al Ameri believes it won’t compromise the integrity of the competition.

“First of all, this is something that the F1 governing body has decided on. It came to us as Abu Dhabi is the last race, which means it is good for us. It will keep the competition alive till the last minute,” he told Gulf News.

“Abu Dhabi, as a race in the calendar, will now count a lot. The feedback we have got so far is positive. Both drivers and the community that follow the race are happy.”

For the last four seasons, Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel have dominated F1 and last year’s title was decided well in advance of the last race. But Al Ameri, who recently replaced Richard Cregan as CEO of the iconic Yas Marina Circuit, has no fears a similar situation would lead to a drop in interest for the Abu Dhabi race.

“For the fans who follow the F1 championship, it is not just about who is the champion. They stick to the sport all the way as it draws a lot of excitement. I think the competition in each round is different and that’s what they look for,” he said.

The Bahrain Grand Prix will be a night race from this year, but Al Ameri doesn’t think that will take away from Abu Dhabi’s position as a twilight event.

“We have a different proposition — we have a day-night race but Bahrain is a night race. It is another round in the series and I think each round is unique and will no way affect our aspirations,” he said.

Al Ameri previously ran Yas Marina’s commercial division and he is looking forward to the challenge of being CEO.

“The challenge was always there and it will be there. I have a good team behind me. We have good support from stakeholders and partners. Everything is going as per plan,” he said.

“I was with the team with the commercial department so I will say the shift is not that big for me.

“There have been major developments from the time we started [hosting F1] in 2009. This year there will be more changes and excitement for the attendees. I now have additional duties and I’m sure that I can deliver the goods and maintain the momentum that you have been seeing year after year.”