Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1301, (23 - 29 June 2016)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1301, (23 - 29 June 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Why not Formula 1?

The streets of Baku, Azerbaijan, hosted last week’s F1 Grand Prix, so what’s keeping Egypt from doing the same, asks Mohamed Abdel-Razek

Al-Ahram Weekly

A couple of days ago the roaring music of F1 cars broke the silence in the artistic streets of Baku. The dream became a touchable reality when a city that deserves the attention of the whole world hosted one of the most exciting F1 Grand Prix’s of the 2016 season. No billions were needed to build a gigantic FIA-approved track like the Abu Dhabi circuit, just dreamers who worked hard to build on their great legacy by mixing the cultural treasures of their beautiful city of Baku with one of the most prominent symbols of technology: the Formula One.

The city of Baku lived a festival of three days full of excitement and speed from Friday 17 June to Sunday 19 June, starting with the three days of free practice sessions, then moving to the qualifying spins and ending with the race itself.

It was obvious from the start that the circuit was very tricky and required lots of concentration, especially in the very tight corners. However, it is still the fastest street circuit on the F1 world championship calendar with speeds that reached 366 km/h in the straight finish line, recorded by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

The race demanded a lot of pressure on the brakes as well as the gearbox, a fact which ruled out many racers like Fernando Alonso (Mclaren), Pascal Wehrlein (MRT), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), and Daniel Kvyat (Toro Rosso).

At the top, Nicko Rosberg ended his perfect weekend by winning the race to add another great result to his solid season, leaving behind his dizzy teammate Hamilton behind in fifth place.

On the Ferrari side, Sebastien Vettle had a nearly perfect race to capture second place on the podium with the third place hero Sergio Perez who found many fans cheering for him in Baku.

“Our brief to Tilke Engineering was simple — create a circuit that is unique, one that will help the Grand Prix in Baku quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting, thrilling venues on the F1 calendar, and one that the fans and teams alike are excited about,” says Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan’s minister of youth and sport.

As the officials and people of the beautiful city of Baku realised their dream of creating an F1 track through the streets of their city to showcase the world the good about their culture and how they mix it with the modern world, we ask ourselves, why don’t we do the same in Egypt? We remember that Egypt hosted the first ever F1 race in Africa and the Middle East in 1948 in Cairo’s streets of Al-Gezira. Why not do like Baku, in one of our great touristic cities like Alexandria or Sharm El-Sheikh?

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