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perceived rivals. But he speaks with infectious starry-eyed optimism about the sport’s potential. “One day we’ll go way beyond F1,” he says. “Water is therapeutic, water is fun. When you see eight boats coming round the bend at the same time - let me tell you - you have never ever seen a better sight. It beats cars hands down.” Since he became involved in the sport Asif

“I’m going to be worth a lot more than F1 ever was”

has strived to make it more accessible to potential participants. To improve economies of scale in what is predominantly a cottage industry, Asif is now in the business of manufacturing around 40 boats a year at what he describes as “low cost”. “Previously it’s been more of a chequebook

sport than a real sport. What we’re doing now is converting it into a motor sport. Te first point with that is that you’ve got to have a low cost of entry. Without that it can’t work. It’s really cheap to get racing in my series. It will cost you maybe £5,000 or £6,000.Tat’s it.” Perhaps more pertinently, steps have also been taken to make the sport more consumer friendly, and to take advantage of TV coverage which is currently available to 655 million homes worldwide. “In the past the average circuit was six

miles,” says Asif. “Well with six miles you can’t see anything. So what we’ve done is reduce the course to 1.5 miles. We’ve put in

about six turns and we’ve made it circular, so you can be sitting on any part of the course and you can see the race. All of a sudden it’s starting to get some interest going. You start getting sponsors and so on. Te reason we haven’t got many today is that you need to convince the sponsor he’s not going to put his ad on something that’s not taking place. It’s a gap we need to cover but if you go back into the history of F1 or NASCAR or Moto GP it took them 30 to 40 years to cover that gap. We feel at P1 it’s going to take us another five years. I’m going to be worth a lot more than F1 ever was.” And if taking a fledging enterprise to the

zenith of international motor sport wasn’t ambitious enough, Asif wants Powerboat P1 to pioneer the transformation of the $1trillion per year marine industry as a whole, utilising new technologies to help protect the ocean environment. He said: “If you look at the evolution of motor car racing or motor cycle racing it’s taken decades and decades. But what it’s done for the world is bring masses of improvement in transportation. If you take the engine of a ship today and compare the diesel fuel that’s used in there and that of a diesel car on the road, the diesel that’s used in the ship’s engine throws out 2,000 times more sulphur. A lot of work needs to be done if we’re going to save the oceans going forward. Tis sport can be a platform for improving engine technology, hull technology and so on.” Asif says that “80% of world trade is done on water and what have we done as an industry to stop destroying the oceans? Nothing. Tey haven’t invested in the technology.” When I ask Asif how much of his own

money has been invested in the sport he is naturally reticent, but his abundant

“It beats cars hands down”

enthusiasm for the project continues to shine through: “I’d like to reserve the answer on that but it’s a lot of money. It’s got a lot of zeros in it! I don’t see it as a risk, I see it as an investment in a good idea. I’ve been working since the age of 17. I see stuff that most probably a lot of people don’t and I can see this one. It’s not a question of if, it’s only a question of when, and how much money it’s going to make.”

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