In March 2008, Philippe Gurdjian, a Frenchman with Armenian origin, has been handed key role in creation of F1's latest venue. He was appointed to head up the newly-established Abu Dhabi Motor Sport Management Company, which will develop and manage the Yas Marina Circuit being built to stage the country's first Formula One event in 2009.
“It was critical to find the right person for this job because Yas Marina Circuit is about more than just creating one of the most advanced F1 tracks on the motor racing circuit – it is also about building a global centre for motorsport in the region, as well as a hub for automotive technology research and development,” said the company's Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, “Philippe's impressive and unrivalled motorsport credentials, made the decision an easy one.
“The success and continued growth of the Bahrain Grand Prix provides much inspiration for Abu Dhabi, and is proof that motor racing is a huge part of the sporting culture in the Middle East.”
Gurdjian brings more than 40 years motorsport experience to the role, including overseeing the creation of some of the world's most impressive circuits and playing an instrumental role in 24 successful grands prix worldwide. He was involved in the construction of F1-class venues at Sepang (Malaysia) and Bahrain International, as well as the upgrade of the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
He was also responsible for organising the first three grands prix in Malaysia and the first Bahrain Grand Prix.
“I have been extremely enthused and excited about the Abu Dhabi project, so I am delighted to officially take charge,” Gurdjian said, “Our vision is to create a global centre of motorsport excellence in Abu Dhabi.”
Combined sources including Yahoo Eurosports (18 March 2008)
Read more about Philippe Gurdjian here.