Back in 1999, Lebanon almost won the bid to host an F1 track back in 1999. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was fond of the idea and F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting visited Lebanon to inspect the proposed track. His response was also a provisional thumbs-up. “There’s far from a green light at this stage,” he said but “I see nothing today that would stop the project from going through.” The plan was to build a 4.1 KM racing circuit along the Mediterranean coast through the downtown area (Solidere) and there were high hopes that Beirut’s bid to host a Grand Prix would be approved.
Quoting a 1998 article from the DailyStar, “If all goes as planned, Michael Schumacher could be racing his Ferrari down Minet al-Hosn, making a sharp turn around the Hard Rock Café, then zipping past the St Georges and Phoenicia hotels and through the central district in his quest for the chequered flag”.
Fast forward to 2017 and we still don’t have anything remotely close to an F1 track here. In fact, we don’t even have decent roads for normal cards Lol! Nevertheless, the Daily Star reported four days ago that “Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with CEO of the FIA Formula E Championship Alejandro Agag Tuesday to discuss the possibility of hosting races in Beirut”.
“They currently host races in cities all over the world … and Beirut would be in my opinion a great venue for this championship. It is a very beautiful city and a big capital and we would love to make this possible,” Agag said, according to a statement from Hariri’s media office.
I am not a Formula E fan but I would love to have a GP in Beirut. Let’s hope politics won’t get in the way just like they did for the F1 bid.