• Nov 7th 2006 at 12:31PM
  • 18

Basil Shaaban aims to be the first Arab driver in F1, and with a little support from F1 head-honcho Bernie Ecclestone, he just might make it.

Shaaban was born in Lebanon, raised in the Emirates and studied astrophysics at Berkeley in California. Having raced in the A1 GP series for the Lebanese team, he is struggling to find the financial support to continue racing in the British F3 series. From Formula 3, Shaaban hopes to move up to GP2, the second-tier stepping-stone race series run by Renault chief Flavio Briatore, before eventually making it into Formula One.

Ecclestone has expressed his support, and no wonder as he endeavors to increase F1's presence in the oil-rich Arab world. The grands prix in Dubai Bahrain and in nearby Istanbul bring F1 to the Middle East, and Basil Shaaban could be the first to bring the Middle East to F1. Shabaan says his aim, beyond racing and winning, of course, is to promote something positive from the Arab world. Good luck, Basil.

[Source: F1i]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes, but can he drive?

      Drivers who "buy" F1 rides historically suck at it. Well, at least that moves Scott Speed up one place on the grid.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It the picture look at the woman just to the left of the big boobied one, she is mostly covered by lebanese flag.......look at that face, i bet they are the cheerleaders.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Make way for the next privilaged mobile chicane in F1. Bernie, Bernie, Bernie, you little weasel, the way to promote F1 is with driver skill not driver skull you little putz. Its a good thing your rich Gigglestone, becuase you still have no skill at talent spotting.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Where's "Berkley"?
      And what's he gonna do? Doughnuts through the chicanes?? I guess that's a part of the plan to bring "excitement" the F1 track.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Istanbul is "nearby" Dubai in the same sense that Mexico City is "nearby" Chicago.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The term "Buy" a seat comes from a driver with sponsors in hand show up and making a cash strapped team an offer they cannot refuse. A better qualified driver that would command a salary gets the boot in his favor. In F1 it is the norm that the cars are sponsored not the drivers, the drivers are paid by the teams.

      To illustrate my point in post #7. Shinji Nakano comes to mind.

      Name = Shinji Nakano
      Nationality = Japanese
      Years = 1997-1998

      Team(s) = Prost, Minardi
      Races = 33
      Championships = 0
      Wins = 0
      Podiums = 0
      Poles = 0
      Fastest laps = 0
      First race = 1997 Australian Grand Prix
      First win = n/a
      Last win = n/a

      With his place at Prost heavily reliant on their engine partners Mugen-Honda it came as no surprise when a switch to Peugeot power saw the French outfit drop Nakano in favour of the young Jarno Trulli and the fit again Olivier Panis. However Nakano (again Cash in hand) was able to pick up a ride at perenial backmarkers Minardi for the 1998 season.

      To be fair, I will measure his performances against his team mate(s) - identical cars.

      1998 F1 season:

      Olivier Panis - 5 Shinji Nakano - 7
      Olivier Panis - 3 Shinji Nakano - 15
      Olivier Panis - DNF Shinji Nakano - Engine Failure
      Olivier Panis - 8 Shinji Nakano - Crash
      Olivier Panis - 4 Shinji Nakano - Kitty Litter
      Olivier Panis - 2 Shinji Nakano - GearBox
      Olivier Panis - 11 Shinji Nakano - 6
      Jarno Trulli - 8 Shinji Nakano - Engine Failure
      Jarno Trulli - 10 Shinji Nakano - Kitty Litter
      Jarno Trulli - 4 Shinji Nakano - 7
      Jarno Trulli - 8 Shinji Nakano - 11 Last of cars still running
      Jarno Trulli - 6 Shinji Nakano - 7
      Jarno Trulli - 15 Shinji Nakano - DNF Elect.
      Olivier Panis - DNF Shinji Nakano - DNF Mech. Failure
      Olivier Panis - DNF Shinji Nakano - DNF Mech. Failure
      Olivier Panis - 7 Shinji Nakano - 10
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sorry, in post #9 that should read 1997 not 1997 F1 season.
      • 8 Years Ago
      LOL, I have to agree with #15. Yikes for sure.

      BTW Was the title to this article in english? LOL
      • 8 Years Ago
      First step....get rid of that ugly girl next to him....yikes!

      Replace with an exotic beauty of persian or lebanese origin....or where ever you like...
      • 8 Years Ago
      #4, Carlos Ghosn is Lebanese, I think he spells cars pretty well, don't you think. Please do not generalise. Be just a little open minded.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Grand Prix in Dubai??? Guys, I know you only watch NASCAR but there is no F1 GP in Dubai, its in Bahrain... As for the Turkish GP taking place 'nearby' it is 1600miles away (check on GoogleMaps). Coincidentaly all European GPs take place LESS than 1600miles away from Turkey.

      Anyway, we do get your point about Middle Eastern GPs being a 'Bernie-target'. ;-)
      • 8 Years Ago
      All of you are here criticizing this guys 1 goal in life. you make fun of his "arab" background." I DONT SEE ANY OF YOU IN THE F1. WHY IS THAT? Is it cause he is better then you? or that you suck at life?
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