The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has carved out a special place for itself with its Middle Eastern flavour providing the backdrop to the F1 season finale every year. There have been ten Abu Dhabi GPs since it first appeared on the calendar in 2009.
Formula One has seen plenty of new circuits come and go over the past decade but few have made an impact as significant as Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina. Ultra-modern in every way, in some ways it sets a standard for all newcomers to aspire to.
Constructed around a new marina on a man-made island, the circuit features air-conditioned garages, a pitlane exit through a tunnel and a track-spanning hotel with a roof that changes colour.
The track itself starts with a couple of high-speed corners before giving way to a second sector featuring two long straights. The last third is a tight and twisty section that demands good traction and braking stability.
It has something of a Middle Eastern Monaco about it, with all the yachts floating in the harbour backing onto the paddock. It’s definitely a good holiday destination, especially around race time when Europe is preparing for winter, because the temperatures are very pleasant in Abu Dhabi at that time.
There was a time when there was no Abu Dhabi Formula 1, but now it’s hard to imagine the sport without it. It’s an evocative sight, watching the cars take to the track as the sun begins to set and the floodlights come on with the race ending in the night time.
Just over ten years ago, there was no Yas Island. The project started in 2006 and cost around 40 billion dollars. The aim was to create an entertainment area, with shopping and tourism in a welcoming environment. In fact there are seven hotels, theme parks, golf course, a water park, a beach, a concert arena and of course, a Formula 1 track!
Lewis Hamilton won the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which means Mercedes has won here five times in a row in the hybrid era here at the Yas Marina Circuit.
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