EXCLUSIVE Q&A: AZERBAIJAN GP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ARIF RAHIMOV

Formula 1 news story about EXCLUSIVE Q&A: AZERBAIJAN GP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ARIF RAHIMOV

Azerbaijan GP executive director Arif Rahimov says he’s expecting a 360-degree better event this weekend, despite being happy with proceedings at last year’s inaugural running.

“It did go really well,” said Rahimov, exclusively to The Inside Line. 

“We had a lot of entertainment facilities provided for our spectators, the race went well. The GP2 race was amazing, actually, it was a lot of action during the race. The Formula 1 race was a bit more quiet, because the drivers most probably didn’t want to take enough risks as it was the first time they were using the circuit.

“I think this year that will improve and they will be more, taking more risks, and a be a bit more aggressive.”

Along with F1’s faster, more aggressive cars, the event will feature a new title – switching from the historic European Grand Prix name to become the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and for good reason.

“We wanted to start as the European Grand Prix, just to show the world what kind of country we are, because we’re certainly putting Azerbaijan on the map and there were a lot of people who weren’t quite certain where Azerbaijan is, and what it is,” Rahimov said.

That strategy has paid off, with visitors excited for a taste of the local fusion of cultures, translating into a 20-fold increase in tourism following the inaugural event.

“I mean that, on it’s own, that statistic already tells that the Formula 1 does brings what it promises to bring.”

For the full and exclusive interview, click the Soundcloud link below:

KEEN FOR MORE? CHECK OUT OUR SLIDESHOW FROM LAST YEAR’S EUROPEAN GP: