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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
A1 boss plays down F1 competition
Ronaldo poses in the Brazil A1 car
Brazilian football star Ronaldo is backing the Brazil A1 outfit
The new A1 series is unlikely to replace Formula One as motorsport's top competition, according to the series' founder Sheik Maktoum Hasher Maktoum.

A1, which features national teams and more basic cars than F1, begins at Brands Hatch on Sunday, 25 September.

Asked if it could take over from F1, Maktoum said: "I don't think so. They are two completely different concepts.

"F1's driven by technology, innovation, manufacturers. A1 is effectively the World Cup of motorsport."

A1 is intended to pit driver against driver on a more level playing field than now exists in Formula One.

An entire grandstand at Brands Hatch has been sold to Irish fans
Sheik Maktoum Hasher Maktoum

"In a World Cup or for example the Olympics, you can't have one javelin heavier than the other," Maktoum told BBC Radio Four.

"To find out which driver and which country are the best drivers on the planet you have to have the same platform, and that's what we have provided.

"We have ordered 50 A1 racing cars. They are very, very powerful and they don't have sophisticated electronics, but they're all equal."

When asked if Formula One had become a boring sport Maktoum said: "Not necessarily.

"It is a high-speed sport but in A1 we don't have traction control, we don't have ABS braking.

"We're ability driven to showcase the ability of the drivers and the nation.

"Imagine at Brands Hatch this Sunday, you'll have Germany, France, Holland, England, Ireland.

"An entire grandstand has been sold to Irish fans, and it's great seeing national colours supporting their own nation there.

"The sport has never had a World Cup before this."

And Maktoum said that he thinks F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone approves of the new arrival on the scene.

"If you look at it, Formula One starts in March and ends around September," said Maktoum.

"We start in September and we finish in March/April, so effectively motorsport was a cyclical industry before A1 came along, and after we have come along it is going to be an annual industry."

Interview: Sheik Maktoum Hasher Maktoum

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