A Formula One theme in Dubai always sounded like an odd proposition. The sport would have been better off first at least developing a cartoon, comic or, better still, decent merchandise range for kids, before launching a theme park but that is what it did. It now has a chance to start all over because the F1 theme park is no more.
Union Properties, Dubai's third-largest property developer by market value, got the contract to build the F1 park in 2006 and it was scheduled to open in 2009. However, then came the global property crash.
In February last year Union Properties announced that the park's opening would be delayed until 2010. In December Ernst & Young was appointed to raise finance to finish the project and now Bernie Ecclestone has told Pitpass' business editor Chris Sylt that the F1 theme park "is not happening."
Ecclestone says that Union Properties "were going to spend more than a billion on it and even if they had had the money they were never going to get it back." However, the savvy septuagenarian is the only one who emerges unscathed from the debacle as he reveals that when it came to his bills Union Properties "paid what they had to pay."
Markets may crash and economies may crumble but some things in F1 never change.