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Ecclestone set to announce Abu Dhabi race
Tuesday 23 January at 16:59 : F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will announce next weekend that Abu Dhabi has signed a deal to host a grand prix from 2009.

The official announcement will take place in the oil-rich Middle Eastern emirate as Abu Dhabi hosts an unique demonstration involving the cars of all eleven teams, according to the British broadsheet The Guardian.

"All the teams have been advised that this is a curtain-raiser to the announcement of the new race," the authoritative journalist Alan Henry wrote.

Contrary to earlier reports, it is understood that the Abu Dhabi grand prix will be run on a purpose-built circuit designed by Hermann Tilke rather than on a downtown street layout.

Abu Dhabi is already heavily involved in F1 as a co-owner and sponsor of the Ferrari squad and the location of a future Ferrari theme park.

Ecclestone's Abu Dhabi deal might also have included negotiations with organisers of the Bahrain race, as it is believed that Bahrain has an exclusive agreement for the region's only grand prix.

"We have been asked to send a car and to attend a black-tie dinner," McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh confirmed.

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