It’s that time of year again, when motor fever grips the UAE to such an extent that even the desperate clamour for a Mercedes G Class and double digit registration pales into insignificance compared with the lengths the country goes to in order to get the F1 over.
The exorbitant levels of funds pumped into F1 by the Emirates makes the Abu Dhabi Manchester City vanity project look like a charitable donation, while the fact that there are now double points on offer for the season finale on Yas Island was supposed to make the race even more thrilling than ever before.
What a pity it is then that interest in F1 is at an all-time low. Whoever wins the Championship this year will only have had to beat one person – his team-mate. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have had the best car by miles this year and with the lack of the traditional deafening noise (a fan’s favourite) due to the new engine introductions, this season has felt very odd to the majority of real fans of F1.
For those who occasionally tuned in to see the first few laps in case there were any crashes or decent overtaking manoeuvres around, there is now very little to get excited about. Viewing figures are down, and the competition has pretty much degenerated into a farcical procession of multi-million dollar cars and drivers going through the motions in each race.
The smaller teams have suffered horrendously at the hands of F1’s powers-that-be, with revenue distribution vastly favouring the larger teams and leading to two teams entering into administration this year. If things continue down this path, the idea that here may only be four or five teams doing battle come 2016 may not be as unrealistic as ne may think.
Overall, opinion of F1 among fans and bystanders would appear to be at an all-time-low, but this is unlikely to affect the event at Yas Island. After all, just like the Rugby Sevens event, and the World Cup Horse Race at Meydan – self-proclaimed ‘richest horse race on the world’ as if that’s the answer to something – half of those attending have no interest in the event, simply an overriding desire to be seen at it.
Happy racing kids!