The now traditional venue for F1’s season finale, the sleek and futuristic Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi holds a Grand Prix which starts at dusk and ends under floodlights.
FIRST F1 RACE 2009
TRACK LENGTH 3.451 miles
NUMBER OF LAPS 56
The Yas Island is a man-made island located to the east of Abu Dhabi’s main island. Work on the Yas Island began in 2006 at a cost of $40 billion. The Yas Island is a leisure complex, which houses a golf course, shopping centres, hotels, a Ferrari-themed theme park and, of course, the Yas Marina Circuit.
After a circuit had been built in Dubai and had unsuccessfully bid to host a Formula One race, Abu Dhabi – the lead emirate in the United Arab Emirates – put plans together for their own circuit. The deal was formally announced in early 2007 at a special ‘Formula One Festival’ held in Abu Dhabi.
Building of the circuit began in May 2007. As was the case when the Bahrain International Circuit was built, the track surface was shipped from Shropshire, England, as the aggregate offers the best grip available to F1 cars. In June 2008, Abu Dhabi’s place as the season-closing event was confirmed when the FIA revealed the calendar for the 2009 F1 season. The oil-rich country wanted a Grand Prix event to boost its identity, and hosting the season closing event has certainly helped that.
Herman Tilke designed the track, which features a mammoth 21 turns. The track has some distinguishing features, including a pit exit which runs underneath the track. Between turns eighteen and nineteen, the track runs underneath the magnificent Yas Viceroy hotel. The track was opened in October 2009 and the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was held just a month later, as it became the second location in the Middle East to hold a Formula One event. It was also the first race which started in the daytime and ended under floodlights.
Here are 10 of the most interesting facts about this amazing F1 circuit:
- The first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix held at the Yas Marina Circuit had a 5:00 pm start time, the first time in F1 history that a race was held in the dark. The Circuit is not only equipped to hold events at night, but the track can also be sectioned into two tracks to run two races simultaneously.
- The Yas Marina Circuit is one of the most technologically-advanced racing circuits in the world. It was also the most expensive to build, with an estimated construction cost of US$1 billion.
- The track is 5.55 kilometres (3.45 miles) long, with 21 turns. The average lap time is 1 minute and 40 seconds. Top speeds can reach 317 km/hr with average speeds of 198 km/hr.
- The Circuit was designed with four main acceleration periods including a 1173 meter acceleration, which is the longest of any F1 track in the world.
- The pit lane exits cross under the circuit so part of the pit lane is below ground. Drivers have over 70 garages in two pit buildings, making it a superior circuit for drivers.
- The Yas Marina Circuit can hold up to 50,000 spectators. There are four grandstands in total, and each is covered and shaded to protect race fans from the desert sun. This is the only covered seating F1 circuit, which helps to make it one of the best facilities in the world for spectators.
- The Circuit features a 12-story, 499 room, luxury resort hotel over the race circuit. The five-star hotel is called the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel and it forms a bridge over the 18th and 19th turns. The hotel is the first ever built over a F1 circuit.
- Although only 10 minutes from the airport, the Yas Marina Circuit was built on an island in the United Arab Emirates’ largest city Abu Dhabi, which also happens to the world’s richest city. Yas is one island of 200 that form the capital.
- The Circuit has a VIP tower that sits at the start/finish line. Called the Sun Tower, it is 60 metres high and affords its guests a luxurious and panoramic view of the entire race track and surrounding features.
- For hard core race fans, the Circuit also offers drag racing, off-road racing, and a kart center where you can put your own skills to the test. Or, if you prefer, you can attend their driving school and take your turn behind the wheel in a Formula Yas 30000 race car.