All you need to know about three-day racing spectacular
Time Out staff
Sunscreen? Check. Pit passes? Check. Ear plugs? Check. Yes, it’s that time of year when the F1 circus rolls back into Abu Dhabi, bringing with it all manner of petrolheads, party people and, of course, the world’s best drivers. It’s set to be an epic weekend and if the previous races so far this year have been anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.
This season has been the most competitive for years: the drivers’ championship is still wide open, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel among the favourites to lift the trophy. What’s more, racing legend Michael Schumacher has announced he will finally retire from F1 at the end of the season, while some of the biggest names in the sport have decided to swap teams next year, with Lewis Hamilton making a controversial move to Mercedes to take Schumacher’s place.
With an estimated 50,000 people from across the globe preparing to descend on Yas Island, and more entertainment on offer than ever before, we thought it only right to give you a fighting chance by supplying all the necessary information (and a few words from the drivers themselves) to help you make the most of the weekend. Aside from the on-track action, fans can also expect some top-class live music, with gigs from Kylie, Nickelback and Eminem, to name but a few.
If you don’t already have a ticket to one of the world’s premier sporting events, what are you waiting for?
F1 Abu Dhabi – the facts!
Think you’re up to speed on your F1 Abu Dhabi knowledge? Well, we’ve scoured the globe and picked the brains of F1 experts to compile a handy little compendium of facts and figures to really set your brain racing .
German design The Yas Marina track was actually designed by renowned circuit architect Hermann Tilke. Yas Marina (along with the likes of like Interlagos, Brazil, and Istanbul Park, Turkey) is one of the few venues on the race calendar to run in an anti-clockwise direction.
First test run The first person to actually drive a test run on the circuit was Bruno Senna (who is the nephew of the late F1 legend Ayrton Senna).
Twilight With the race starting at 5pm this means things get underway at dusk and end in the dark, making it Formula One racing’s first-ever twilight race. The track was built to host day and night-time activities, with over 300 lighting locations, some of which are pole mounted and some building mounted. The poles range from 4.0 meters to 15.2 meters in height depending on the elevation of the track and location of the pole.
V8s Formula One Abu Dhabi also has the distinction of being the only F1 race outside of Australia to host a V8 Supercar race as the official support race.
Top speed With an estimated lap time of 1m 40s, the track’s top speed is a predicted 317km/h and its average speed 198km/h while the width of the circuit fluctuates from 12m-16m.
Construction Building the Yas Marina track was a gargantuan project and by its completion 14,000 workers had been on site, 35 million man hours had been expended, 1.6 million cubic metres of earthwork had been shifted, 720,000 square metres of asphalt had been laid, 225,000 cubic metres of concrete poured, while 30 kilometres of special electronic ducts, 25 kilometres of electrical cabling, 17 kilometres of drainage and 22 kilometres of irrigation piping had been installed. Phew!
Spectacular light show The 500 bedroom, five-star Yas Hotel is the first hotel to sit astride a race track. Its outer walls feature an extraordinary 5,000 LED panel ‘Grid-Shell’, which is programmed to change colour in waves – and looks spectacular from afar.
Tickets start from Dhs 1,875 and are available from www.yasmarinacircuit.ae or from the call centre 800 927 (YAS) (02 659 9800).
Tickets can also be bought from selected Etihad Airways shops and Virgin Megastores across the UAE and GCC.
You don’t have to be a huge fan of the F1 to be able to enjoy the Grand Prix weekend. There is so much else happening such as concerts and a variety of entertainment no matter what style of music you may be into. There are free concerts, big name artists and loads of other stuff going on. So, even if the idea of watching lots of fancy cars zip around a track isn’t your thing, just turn the page to find out what else is worth checking out.
Past winners and their times
2011 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren – Mercedes) Time: 1:37:11.886 2010 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing – Renault) Time: 1:39:36.837 2009 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing – Renault) Time: 1:34:03:414
Yas Marina Circuit
Circuit length: 5.554kms Race distance: 305.470 km Number of laps: 55 Circuit turns: 21 (12 left, 9 right) Spectator capacity: 50,000
November 2, 1pm-2.30pm: Practice session one November 2, 5pm-6.30pm: Practice session two November 3, 2pm-3pm: Practice session three November 3, 5pm: Qualifying November 4, 5pm: It’s race time!