Powerboat P1 CEO and Chairman, Asif Rangoonwala, discusses how he envisages 2010 unfolding.
“If anyone assumes I’m taking a rest it would be completely wrong.
My year is just starting,” says Rangoonwala. 2009 was over four months ago as far as I am concerned.”
The first aim was to be in a position where the series could publish a calendar for 2010 – critical when in the process of attracting new sponsors and new teams.
“We now have a calendar in place for next year. This is a significant development with us having many leads in the sponsorship arena. We may not have secured anything new as yet, but we are working damn hard on it.”
“Publishing the calendar so early is key for sponsorship in that it demonstrates continuity in the programme.”
Rangoonwala is hopeful that following this month’s UIM Annual General Meeting, the commission will allow the Powerboat P1 World Championship to make modifications to its current format.
“It’s a significant date for us. It is at the AGM where we hope to secure the new rules as well as the additional world championship we have asked for. It is our aim to convince the members of the federation that we are trying to build a sport from the ground up rather than the top down.”
“For 2010, I am hoping to see new properties added to the product we already have. And hopefully I am expecting no less than 22 teams for the new season.”
Plans are afoot to expand the sport of powerboating beyond the series itself, with Rangoonwala keen to establish a solid base for the sport.
“We want to continue building the sport from the ground up,” he explains. “That will mean working with the UIM, going to the grass-roots, working with yacht clubs and marinas, federations in local countries with a view to building some kind of national league system where you start with a mini-league, then onto major league and then finally national league.”
“Where else do I see us going? I think there are two key elements. We need to upgrade the teams. Don’t get me wrong, man-for-man, these teams could beat anyone in the world because of the experience they have backing them. But they need assistance in terms of upgrading themselves in terms of technology and even discipline. I say this openly, but by the end of next year, I see these teams are ‘Super Teams’. There is not one powerboat racer in the world who will not want to compete in the Powerboat P1 World Championship.”
Away from the water, the entrepreneur also has plans – “They are ambitious”, he confirms” – to take the championship into the digital age.
“We also want to take the sport into high-definition (HD). It is something that is quite a way off as things stand but is an aim if we get the right investment. We are keen to bring in reality TV.”