The 2010 F1 season began in Bahrain, and this month finishes in Abu Dhabi
The newest and most hi-tech venue on the F1 calendar, Yas Marina Circuit made a spectacular addition to the 2009 race calendar with its debut last year. A year on, and the attention hasn’t died down. Once again the host of the season finale, and things at this stage are a little more undecided than they were last year – at the time of press, driver Mark Webber led the championship table, followed by Alonso and Vettel. It has been an interesting season, with the economic downturn – in what is still one of the world’s most expensive sports – still playing havoc with the team line-ups, drivers, rules and technical requirements. The idea for a proposed budget cap came and went, while teams like BMW Sauber dropped out and new ones like Virgin Racing joined. The reigning driver’s champion, Jenson Button, joined McLaren, and the reigning constructor’s champ, Brawn GP, was bought by Mercedes and renamed, with ex-champ Michael Schumacher coming out retirement and joining them.
But whatever happens on the track, you’ll be guaranteed as much fun off it over the weekend. There are support races galore, concerts in the evening from some pretty big names, the new Ferrari World theme park, and maybe even a round or two on the Yas Links Golf Club – and that’s if you don’t venture into the city. If you need us, we’ll be down in the pitlanes, wearing our ear plugs autograph hunting.
The Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is November 12-14, with the main race on the last day. More info at www.yasmarinacircuit.ae. Prices start at QR1,800.
Getting there Both Gulf Air and Etihad fly from Bahrain to Abu Dhabi, each for around BD80 for a return.
Where to stay Go all out and stay overlooking the track. Availabilty might be tight, however. Winter rates from Dhs1,000 per night. Yas Hotel (+971 2 656 0000).
Still close to the track, but a bit more wallet-friendly – we expect it to be booked up, though. Crowne Plaza Yas Island (+971 2 656 3000).
At the Corniche: Sean Paul The fast-talking reggae artist will take to the stage at 11.40pm, no doubt with a team of fast-moving female dancers.
At the Corniche: The Beat The legendary Brit ska band – in the same vein as the Specials and Madness – play from 9.40pm.
At Yas Island: Kanye West Whether you know him for his singles ‘Touch the Sky’ or ‘Gold Digger’ – or for his controversial outbursts at music awards events – you can catch Mr West on the Friday night.
At the Corniche: Sophie Ellis Bextor, Nancy Ajram Brit singer Sophie Ellis Bextor arrives in Abu Dhabi from recently supporting Take That on a sellout tour, while Lebanese favourite Nancy Ajram also performs.
At Yas Island: Linkin Park Expect Grammy Award winners Linkin Park to tear up the stage with their unique brand of alternative rock.
At the Corniche: Kelis It’s been a few years since her smash hit ‘Milkshake’, but we’re sure Kelis still knows how to belt out a tune or two.
At Yas Island: Prince When the dust settles from the main F1 race, head over to the stage and catch one of the biggest recording artists of all time. More info at www.yasalam.ae.
Best of the rest
Nov 24-26 Mother & Baby Show, Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre Bahrain’s biggest expo for new parents kicks off the week after Eid and offers workshops, parental information and a host of retailers all looking to cash in on the parental dinar. For more information, call 17 200 001.
Nov 25-27 Bahrain Irish Society Festival, JJ’s Irish Pub & Restaurant Bahrain has more Irish bars than you can shake a stick at. In November, Bahrain’s biggest Celtic festival takes place at one of the kingdom’s best-loved Irish pubs, JJ’s. The festival kicks off with The Stars of the Commitments belting out movie classics on the night of November 25, and closes with the duo Pure Irish Craic on the night of November 27. Plenty of Irish drink offers available throughout. For more information, contact JJ’s on 17 742 323.
Nov 26 Cafe Del Mar, Muju, Dragon Resort Hotel, Amwaj Islands: The Café del Mar event in October was one of the best parties to hit Bahrain for a long time and, thanks to its success, the iconic Ibiza chill-out brand is back late in November. Located in one of the few lounges to take full advantage of the crystal clear coastline (Muju has beachfront decking, a private stretch of sand and is home to one of the kingdom’s most inviting pools), spend the day lounging on the decking before partying the night away at Bahrain’s best event since the Grand Prix was in town.