In addition to presiding over development of the airport and hotel at Le Castellet in France, Philippe Gurdjian has been the Executive F1 Consultant overseeing the preparation and running of the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix which has been acclaimed as a resounding success. Held on April 4th, 2004 at Sakhir, south of Bahrain's capital Manama, the event was widely praised by the F1 community.
Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the General Organisation for Youth and Sports, and CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit decided on Jaunuary 11, 2004 to appoint Philippe Gurdjian to oversee completion of the circuit construction at Sakhir in time for inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. Gurdjian first visited the site when he accompanied Bernie Ecclestone to Bahrain on December 21st, 2003.
"When I was appointed, I faced a tight deadline of only ten weeks - 100 days - to complete preparations for the event: finalising the completion of the track and supervising the set-up of the paddock area for the F1 teams, as well as building grandstands to accommodate the public. I assumed general responsibility for the organisation of this year's Bahrain Grand Prix."
"The 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix was the 20th Grand Prix that I have worked on since 1985 (six GPs at Paul Ricard, seven at Magny-Cours, three in Malaysia, nine in Spain and one in Abu Dhabi)."
"We achieved all our objectives working both day and night. The US$150 Million venue was completed on schedule. In a very short period of time we were able to master all the unforeseen parameters of hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix in the desert. We overcame all obstacles from the unbearable heat in this part of the world, to the teams' concerns to protect their cars from the fine sand and dust parts, and the fear of unexpected sandstorms."
Lewis Hamilton took a dominant win in the Malaysian GP to lead Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to a one-two finish.
Hamilton was in control from the start, converting his pole position into a lead at the first corner and controlling the race.
Rosberg was unable to keep up, and concentrated on ensuring he stayed ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso took fourth after Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo hit trouble.
Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was fifth.
Ricciardo was running fourth as he came in for his third pit stop on lap 40, with 16 laps to go.
But he left the pits before the left-front wheel had been properly secured and the Australian had to stop in the pit lane and be pulled back by his mechanics for the wheel to be properly attached.
The delay cost him an entire lap to Alonso, who had been close behind when Ricciardo pitted. Three laps later Ricciardo suffered a further blow when his Red Bull's right front wing mount failed and he had to tour round almost an entire lap before pitting for it to be replaced. He retired with five laps to go.
A good start by the Australian from fifth on the grid put had him third on the first lap behind the Mercedes and ahead of Vettel and Alonso.
Vettel passed him at the start of lap three and Alonso followed closely until the first pit stops.
Stopping one lap earlier than Ricciardo meant Alonso was narrowly ahead as the Australian emerged from the pits but the Red Bull re-passed the Ferrari into Turn Two and was able to edge ahead more effectively than during the first stint, holding the position until hitting trouble.
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has been ordered to pay £4m in legal fees despite winning a High Court fight with a German media company.
Mr Justice Newey said the 83-year-old had to pay a price for giving "untruthful evidence" and ruled that he settle half of his legal bills.
In February, the judge rejected an £85m damages claim from Constantin Medien against Mr Ecclestone.
But he found the motorsport boss made a corrupt deal over a sale of F1 shares.
Mr Justice Newey had been asked to decide who should pay lawyers' fees in a follow-up hearing at the High Court in London.
He heard Mr Ecclestone, chief executive of F1 Group, who was not at the hearing, had run up costs of more than £8m.
And despite saying it was the "general rule" following trials that losers paid for winners' legal bills, he decided this would not be applied in Mr Ecclestone's case.
'A fantastic figure'
The judge said the F1 boss had not been "reliable or truthful" during the court case, and ordered that Constantin Medien pay half of his costs and he pay the remainder.
A lawyer representing the German company described Mr Ecclestone's legal bill of nearly £8.5m as "a fantastic figure".
Mr Ecclestone's lawyer accepted that overall costs were "high" but said they were not "that high for commercial litigation".
During the case, which ended last month, the German media organisation had argued that it lost out after Mr Ecclestone entered into a "corrupt agreement".
It had had an interest in the 2006 sale of a stake in F1, belonging to the German bank Bayern LB and bought by private equity group CVC Capital Partners.
Lawyers for Constantin Medien had claimed the sale was agreed "without the normal and proper process" and for an undervalued price. They were seeking £85m in compensation.
Mr Justice Newey ruled that the damages claim failed because it had been "no part" of Mr Ecclestone's purpose for shares to be sold at an "undervalue".
However, he did find that the motorsport mogul had bribed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to facilitate the sale to a buyer chosen by him.
Mr Ecclestone confirmed he had paid Mr Gribkowsky £10m - but claimed he did so because the banker suggested he would create difficulties with tax authorities. The judge rejected this.
He also described some evidence given by Mr Ecclestone as "unsatisfactory", saying: "Even... making allowances for the lapse of time and Mr Ecclestone's age, I am afraid that I find it impossible to regard him as a reliable or truthful witness."
Source: BBC News - read article
Nico Rosberg ended the first day of Malaysian Grand Prix practice fastest for Mercedes, continuing his strong run of form at the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season.
The Australian Grand Prix winner was among the first of the frontrunners to switch onto the faster medium-compound tyre.
He knocked Felipe Massa's Williams, which had been the first to top the timesheets on the quicker rubber, off top spot shortly after the 30-minute mark.
Rosberg's Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton went second fastest, a tenth-and-a-half slower than Rosberg, shortly afterwards but appeared to have the pace to go quicker but for a slow middle sector.
The Mercedes were then split by the back-on-form Kimi Raikkonen, who was only 0.035s slower than Rosberg as he went second for Ferrari.
This was just enough to retain second ahead of Sebastian Vettel, whose Red Bull set its fastest time on his second flying lap on medium rubber, which suggests the RB10 is proving to be kind on its tyres in the heat of Malaysia.
Fernando Alonso ended up fifth fastest, half a tenth slower than Hamilton and just eight thousandths of a second quicker than Massa.
Alonso had earlier set the pace when the field was running on fresh hard rubber, his earlier lap of 1m40.737s good enough to shade Hamilton on the Mercedes driver's best mark on the slower Pirellis.
Jenson Button, driving the upgraded McLaren that includes a modified nose as part of a significant update package, was eighth fastest behind Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull, which suffered a brief off late in the session, and ahead of Bottas in the second Williams.
But Button's team-mate had a more difficult day. Kevin Magnussen was forced to stop during the morning session when an exhaust temperature sensor warning kicked in and he completed only a couple of installation laps early on in practice two before going straight into his medium-tyre running and ending up 12th fastest.
Senna and team-mate Damon Hill visited the Williams Paddock Club shortly before lunchtime on Sunday May 1, 1994 for a Q&A moderated by West.
What was, at the time, a routine driver appearance would be the last time Senna spoke in public.
In the aftermath of Senna's accident, West forgot all about the interview until he received a video tape of it from an anonymous source several years later.
During the interview Senna touched on circuit safety - although, poignantly, with a focus on the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix rather than Imola.
"It's a very tight pitlane with too many people in it," he said. "It will be very, very dangerous.
"So we just talked today about it and we are thinking about asking the FIA officials to introduce a speed limit for the pitlane."
Before leaving, Senna autographed a copy of the circuit map - putting his signature next to the Tamburello, the corner where his car would leave the track with fatal consequences.
"It's a short interview, but incredibly poignant, and it was lost until now," said West. "To this day I still don't know who sent me the tape."
F1 Racing's May 2014 issue, including Senna's final interview, Richard West's first-hand recollections of working with him at McLaren and Williams, plus much more, is on sale today.