Formula 1 coming to Israel
Fasten your seatbelts: Ferrari cars, Grand Prix motorcycles to travel through streets of Jerusalem’s Old City as part of showcase event planned for June
For the first time in history, Formula One cars will travel through the streets of Jerusalem on the background of the Old City walls, as part of a showcase event scheduled to take place in June.
The event, “Formula Jerusalem – a Peace Journey,” will be held on June 13-14 and will also include Ferrari Challenge cars, drifting cars and Grand Prix motorcycles and a show by German stunt champion Chris Pfeiffer. Different sports cars and racing cars will be showcased at Jerusalem’s Old Train Station compound starting June 9.
The streets close to the Jerusalem walls will be closed to traffic so that the vehicles can encircle the city without any interruptions. The cars and motorcycles will drive down from the Cinematheque to Sultan’s Pool and the Tower of David, go up to the Mamilla Boulevard, continue through the King David Hotel to the Liberty Bell Park, turn to the Old Train Station and drive back down to the Cinematheque.
The public will be able to pay to watch the event from special tribunes which will be set up on selected points along the route, or for free along the rest of the track.
The original plan to hold a car race on the same route has been postponed to next year, until the Jerusalem Municipality completes the acquisition of suitable equipment to turn the city streets into an urban track like the one build every year ahead of Monaco’s Formula One race.
Similar showcase events have been held so far in New York, Moscow, São Paulo, Rotterdam and Macau. The race’s professional advisor will be Israeli driver and race organizer Raz Heiman.
Formula One Scuderia Ferrari team driver Giancarlo Fisichella, who competed in some 200 Grand Prix races throughout his long career and won three of them, participated in the press conference revealing the event’s details. “I am proud to take part in this event and I promise that people will enjoy it,” he said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, himself a former rally driver himself who participated twice in the Dakar Rally and in other races in Israel and around the worlds, noted that “the planned track is beautiful and attractive, combining the Old City walls and Jerusalem’s unique landscape with one of the most popular sports in the world.
“Jerusalem joins other leading cities in the world which hold motorsports events attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators, who contribute greatly to the city’s economy, tourism and world image.”
Danny Adeno Abebe contributed to this report
As a rabid F1 fan I hope this is the first step towards F1 racing coming to Jerusalem. But with two F1 races currently being held in Arab countries, I wonder if politics will come into play.
I think the old city of Jerusalem could become one of the premier backdrops of a F1 race.