Mike Stevens | May 6, 2009

Aston Martin Chairman David Richards has revealed his proposed Formula One entry may not carry the branding of the famous British manufacturer.

Richards may instead tap into the vast financial resources of the oil-fuelled Arab world, and run a team representing the Gulf region.

Richards’ plan would include the construction of a manufacturing base in the region, producing mechanical components for his team, while the operations headquarters would remain in Europe

“I am looking seriously at (a Middle-Eastern) option – that’s why I’m here,” he said to Abu Dhabi’s The National.

“We are looking for partners in the Gulf . We are aware that those partners will want a return on their investment and we are looking at how we can provide that.

“There has been much investment in circuits in this area [Bahrain and now Abu Dhabi] but the involvement of a team would take the region much further afield. It would spread around the globe.”

The former BAR and Benetton Team Principal said this would allow the team to capitalise on the relatively low price of commodities in the area as well as the abundance of skilled workers.

“I think this part of the world is ideal for establishing something like this,” he said. “I have every reason to feel that our operation here could be very beneficial to the region.”

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The Middle-East’s rise to prominence in Formula One has been accelerated in recent years. Some high profile local brands have used motorsport to boost brand recognition globally.

This is highlighted by F1's immense popularity in the United Arab Emirates where plans have been drawn for the construction of a Ferrari theme park in Abu Dhabi built by Mubadala Developments, who own a five percent stake in the F1 team, while in Dubai, work is under way on Motor City.

The $US2.5 billion development will consist of an F1 theme park, three hotels, a business area and thousands of apartments and luxury villas.

Richards hopes to capitalise on the Middle-East's embracing of Formula One and court businessmen in the region to obtain valuable funding.

“There is a tremendous amount of interest in what we are doing. Two individuals have approached me wanting to be part of this project,” he said.

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