Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat with a Formula 1 car
Jerusalem’s long awaited Formula 1 event began Saturday night with an exhibit of the various Formula 1 cars and motorcycles that will participate in the scenic drive through of the city this week.
Representatives from media outlets around the world arrived on Saturday at the Old Jerusalem Train Station, to see the Formula 1 cars on display, where they will remain until Wednesday. Showcased were race cars made by Ferrari, Marussia, but the highlight will likely be the Lotus Group’s LMP2, considered a world-wide attraction.
The LMP2 is a prototype car which has participated in endurance races in the Le Man series, including the series’ famed 24-hour event, widely considered one of the most prestigious racing events in the world. The drivers of the vehicles on display, stars of the motor sport world, are set to arrive this week, and will give thousands of viewers an unforgettable experience at the main events on Thursday and Friday.
Former Formula 1 driver and currently Ferrari’s F1 test driver Giancarlo Fisichella will be the biggest star to arrive for Jerusalem’s event. Fisichella netted his first win at the 2003 Gran Prix in Brazil, and as a driver for the Renault team won his second and third events in Australia in 2005 and Malaysia in 2006. Fisichella later joined the Ferrari team and was one of the few lucky drivers to drive the coveted Ferrari F1 car.
All the racing stars will be driving on a special course throughout Jerusalem. The track begins at the rear entrance of the Old Jerusalem Train Station then proceeds to run through: Remez Square, Hebron Road, Jerusalem Brigade Road, Yitzhak Kariv Street and King David Street before returning to Remez Square.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke to reporters on Saturday. “We are making history. Jerusalem is joining the leading cities in the world which host international motor sport events with Formula 1 cars and displays that attract thousands of visitors. The track [the F1 cars will drive through] in Jerusalem is beautiful, attractive and juxtaposes the backdrop of the Old City’s walls and its unique sites with one of the most popular sports in the world,” Barkat said at the press conference.
“This is massive production the likes of which Israel has not seen. I invite all Israelis to come and enjoy an extraordinary experience, an example of the city continuously improving sports and culture events,” Barkat said.
Barkat stated that the total cost of the Formula 1 events reached around 15 million shekels ($4.15 million), and that most of the funding came from sponsors. “The showcase will be dramatic, Formula Jerusalem will reach many places in the world, as did the Jerusalem Marathon. We will get compound interest in return on our investment.”